(REUTERS, AFP) - Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa saved from Costa Rica's Keysher Fuller in a sudden-death penalty shoot-out to put his side into the Gold Cup semi-finals after a 1-1 draw in Houston on Saturday (June 29).
Mexico, roared on by the vast majority of the 71,000-strong crowd at the NRG Stadium, opened the scoring a minute before half-time when Raul Jimenez found space among five defenders in the box to spin and fire home a low drive.
Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz levelled seven minutes into the second half when he slotted home a penalty and neither team were able to score in extra time.
After both sides netted four penalties from their first five kicks Carlos Salcedo was successful with the first in sudden death before Ochoa's save from Fuller put Mexico through 5-4.
"Mexico played football out there tonight," said coach Gerardo Martino. "We deserved to win because of our football.
"Guillermo Ochoa made the save of the game but everyone was sensational tonight."
In the earlier fixture also in Houston, Haiti, one of the biggest surprises of the tournament after winning all their games in the group stage - scored three second-half goals to stun former champions Canada 3-2 and advance to the last four for the first time.
Duckens Nazon got the comeback in started by scoring in the 50th minute and Herve Bazile brought the sides level from the penalty spot in the 70th, with both goals coming courtesy of some sloppy defensive play by Canadian defender Marcus Godinho.
And six minutes later, Wilde-Donald Guerrier sealed victory for Haiti with a spectacular individual effort, sneaking past the Canadian defence then bouncing the ball twice in the air before tapping it past goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Jonathan David and Lucas Cavallini scored for Canada, who were guilty of complacency once they had built up their lead. It was a gut-wrenching loss for the Canadians who won this tournament in 2000 but have not made it to the semis since 2007.
The other two quarter-finals will be decided on Sunday when Jamaica play Panama and defending champions the United States face Curacao.
Mexico will play Haiti in Glendale, Arizona on July 2 for a place in the final.