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Mexico Snatches Win Over Costa Rica

  • AP , Friday, July 24, 2009 3:02 PM
After missing a number of chances to put the game way, Mexico capitalized on its final one during penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie with Costa Rica. Guillermo Ochoa came up with the big save on Costa Rica's Froylan Ledezma, the substitute who scored the tying goal late in regulation stoppage time. Mexico's Carlos Vela then buried the fifth and decisive penalty, which gave Mexico the 5-3 edge, before piling on top of Ochoa in celebration.

Mexico squandered a number of second-half opportunities, including a penalty kick in the 56th minute. El Tri finally broke through in the 88th minute when substitute Guillermo Franco scored from the edge of the 6-yard box. Ledezma silenced the largely pro-Mexican crowd seconds from the final whistle when he struck a thundering header past Ochoa from 10 yards out. "These were two teams playing their best to reach the final, and we each had many chances to score more goals," Mexico's coach Javier Aguirre, who watched the game from the stands due to suspension, said. "The game could have ended without going to penalties, and we will need to take advantage (of those chances) in the final."

"This win tonight in this tournament is going to energize us," Aguirre said . Aguirre will return to the sidelines for the final against Mexico's archrival, the United States. This will be El Tri's sixth trip to the Gold Cup final, its only final loss coming two years ago at the hands of the Americans. The final is Sunday at the Meadowlands in New Jersey (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Univision, live, 3 pm ET).

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