Mexico left it late but ultimately prevailed 1-0 in their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal over Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday in Atlanta, setting up a semi-final berth with Panama who made light work of Cuba in a 6-1 win.
The Mexicans were frustrated for 84 minutes by the plucky Caribbeans, but Raul Jimenez slotted a goal to break the deadlock from a Miguel Layun Prado cross.
The match-winner was far from clinical, coming from a streaky kick that snuck into the bottom left corner of the net.
"They were a tough rival," Mexico goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco told reporters via a translator.
"We played at their style with their rhythm. They wanted to be powerful but we were able to control it and win it at the end."
Orozco claimed the side would be ready for Panama, who won 2-1 in the group stage, despite not being at their best.
"We have a chip on our shoulder and we are going to take revenge against the Panama side," he said.
"We have a very solid goal and we are going to fulfil it all the way to the end."
Earlier, Panama were too good for Cuba despite trailing early.
Gabriel Torres scored twice in the first half and Blas Perez matched him with a brace of his own in the second.
Torres's first goal came from the penalty spot after a Renay Malblanche handball with the second via a neat put-away from a headed assist.
Cuba's hopes of a comeback nosedived in the 58th minute when leading scorer Ariel Martinez was given a straight red card for a kick into Perez.
Carlos Rodriguez and Jairo Jimenez joined Perez with second half goals.
(Reporting by Ben Everill; Editing by Ian Ransom)
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