The game started off fairly evenly, with neither team able to dominate. There were scattered chances at both ends, but few clear-cut opportunities, with the rhythm of the game frequently interrupted by fouls: a total of 12 yellow cards were issued during the game, 10 to players and one to each coach.
Costa Rica’s best chance of the first half came in the 31st minute from a set piece, but Celso Borges sent his curling free kick just wide.
The pace picked up in the final minutes of the half and an end-to-end-to-end sequence ended with Mexico taking the lead in the 41st minute. Rodolfo Pizarro sent a low cross into the box for Raúl Jiménez, who turned and sent his shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 for El Tri.
Soon after the second half began, Luis Rodríguez was ruled to have taken down Joel Campbell in the box (although replays indicated the foul may have been just outside – remember, there’s no VAR in the Gold Cup since CONCACAF thought they couldn’t train enough officials on it in time for the tournament) and Costa Rica had a penalty.
Bryan Ruiz converted the spot kick to tie the game 1-1 in the 50th.
As time went on, Mexico began to take control of possession and kept the Ticos pinned back in their defensive third, but they couldn’t find a second goal. Carlos Rodríguez came closest to ending it in regulation when he hit the crossbar in the 87th minute after Jonathan dos Santos cut the ball back from the end line.
In extra time, Rodríguez had another pair of opportunities, while Jonathan McDonald forced a full-stretch save out of Guillermo Ochoa for Costa Rica. The 1-1 scoreline didn’t budge, however, and the game proceeded to a penalty shootout.
Leonel Moreira saved Mexico’s first kick, from Raúl Jiménez, but Randall Leal sent Costa Rica’s third wide; tied 4-4 after five rounds, it proceeded to sudden death, where Guillermo Ochoa saved Keysher Fuller’s attempt to give Mexico the 5-4 shootout win.
The other penalties were converted by Luis Montes, Roberto Alvarado, Jesús Gallardo, Héctor Moreno, and Carlos Salcedo for Mexico, and by Celso Borges, Elias Aguilar, Óscar Duarte, and Francisco Calvo for Costa Rica.
With the 1-1 draw (5-4 shootout win), Mexico advances to the semifinals to play Haiti while Costa Rica is eliminated.