Alvaro Saborio scored twice to lead Costa Rica to a 5-1 victory over Guadeloupe on Sunday and into a semi-final showdown against Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Mexico advanced with a 4-0 victory over Haiti as the quarter-final double-header in the regional championship drew a capacity crowd to the new state-of-the-art home of the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys.
In the first match, Costa Rica jumped to a 2-0 lead over Guadeloupe in the first 16 minutes, with goals from Celso Borges in the third minute and Saborio in the 16th minute.
Armando Alonso played a role in the first two goals, passing the ball to Borges, whose overhead kick bounced once and landed just inside keeper Marius Fausta’s net.
“It was a great pass by Alonso,” Borges said. “I didn’t think twice about it. I just let the play guide me.”
Saborio extended the lead when he headed in a pass from Alonso.
Andy Herron’s goal on an assist from Saborio in the 47th minute stretched Costa Rica’s lead to 3-0.
Guadeloupe trimmed the deficit thanks to Alexander Alphonse’s header in the 64th minute, but another goal by Saborio in the 71st minute and Pablo Herrera’s 89th-minute strike sealed the win for Costa Rica.
“We started the game not concentrating,” Guadeloupe coach Roger Salnot said. “We were out of sorts. Giving up two goals was a big blow. We couldn’t change the course of the game.”
Mexico had two goals from Miguel Sabah against Haiti, and he also helped out on a third.
After Haiti’s Jean Dominique Zephirin blocked Israel Castro’s penalty attempt in the 23rd minute, Sabah ran onto the loose ball and slotted it home.
He scored again in the 63rd minute, taking advantage of a corner kick from Giovani Dos Santos for his fourth goal of the tournament.
Dos Santos scored a spectacular goal in the 42nd minute, a 22m blast that rocketed between Zephirin and the upright.
Another Dos Santos corner was seized on by Pablo Barrera, whose right-footed shot in the 83rd minute completed the scoring.
Mexico were again playing without manager Javier Aguirre, who was serving the second game of his three-game suspension for his role in igniting a brawl during a 1-1 draw against Panama.
Mario Carrillo will again be in charge for Thursday’s semi-final, before Aguirre is eligible to return to the sidelines.
The spectacular US$1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium was hosting its first sports event on Sunday.
Before that the vaunted glass-walled facility had played host to concerts by country singer George Strait and the Jonas Brothers last month.
The second game was played before a full house of 82,252.