Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was the hero in penalty kicks on Thursday in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals, saving the decisive penalty as El Tri edge Costa Rica, 5-4 from the spot. After 90 minutes where neither team looked particularly sharp, the match had to be settled from 12 yards out.
Despite Ariel Antuna of Mexico missing the opening spot-kick, Mexico managed to advance by efficiently finishing their following five shots before Ochoa saved the day. He guessed perfectly on Costa Rica’s sixth attempt, pushing a powerful shot wide as the fans at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver went crazy, knowing that on Sunday we’ll get Mexico vs. United States for the title.
Jesus Gallardo scored what proved to be the winning kick for El Tri, but it was with a great bit of luck as his poorly taken shot rolled under goalkeeper Leonel Moreira before Ochoa’s big save.
While the match didn’t feature a lot of action, it did feature a bit of controversy as it was delayed for three minutes in the second half due to derogatory chants by the fans.
Sunday’s final will take place at 9 p.m. ET, and you can catch it on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+. The Americans beat Honduras in the first semifinal, setting up a rematch of the 2019 Gold Cup final, which Mexico won, 1-0.