Late own goal leads Costa Rica past Panama, into Gold Cup semis

Late own goal leads Costa Rica past Panama, into Gold Cup semis

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Late own goal leads Costa Rica past Panama, into Gold Cup semis

Photo by Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

It took 78 minutes for much of anything to happen in Wednesday’s clash between Costa Rica and Panama. Eventually, the game’s lone goal came, and it happened in the most unfortunate of ways.

Panama’s Anibal Godoy headed home a 78th minute own goal, dooming Panama in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica. The win sends Los Ticos to the Gold Cup quarterfinals, where they will take on the winner of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s clash with El Salvador

It was a game headlined by set pieces and, eventually, one worked for Costa Rica, albeit in self-inflicted circumstances. David Guzman whipped a cross in from the left side right towards the head of Godoy. The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder’s header soared well past goalkeeper Jose Calderon, who was helpless as the ball flew in to end Panama’s Gold Cup run.

Throughout the 77 minutes prior, the game was tepid, to say the least. The teams combined for a whopping three shots in the first half with just one on goal. Largely, the game relied on set pieces with very few providing much of a challenge for either defense.

Of the two teams, Panama was likely the more aggressive, utilizing their pace down the wings to frustrate the Costa Rica defense. Los Ticos, meanwhile, struggled to put much of anything together throughout the first half before breaking through late in the second through the own goal.

Calderon was called in to make several more saves in the 87th minute, diving to stop one shot before easily parrying away the rebound. Panama pressed late with the best chance coming as forward Gabriel Torres collided with goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton, who punched away the dangerous cross.

With the win, Costa Rica looks ahead to a match against the USMNT or El Salvador on Saturday in Phoenix.

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