Mexico have set up a quarter-final meeting with host nation Colombia after edging past Cameroon on penalties.
The Mexicans won the shoot-out in emphatic fashion with three unanswered spot kicks, after slowly taking a stranglehold on the match as a hard-fought contest went into extra time.
Mexico’s Erick Torres, Ulises Davila and Marvin Pinon converted their penalties, while it was disaster for Cameroon’s Franck Ohandza, Idriss Nguessi and Christ Mbondi who all failed to score.
The north Americans enjoyed the best moment of the first half when Pulido passed two defenders on the left, but his shot hit the angle of the post and the crossbar. The same man was at it again a few minutes later and this time his strike flew a few centimetres the wrong side of the post.
Cameroon enjoyed a good sight of goal on the half hour with Eric Nyatchou hitting powerfully on target from 25 metres but Jose Rodriguez managed to deflect the ball for a corner. Emmanuel Mbongo then produced another near miss with a header just over Mexico’s crossbar, as two well-matches teams continued to battle for supremacy.
The midfield arm-wrestle continued for large chunks of the second half before the match really sprung into life.
Mexico seemed set to open the scoring on 74 minutes as captain Jorge Enriquez blasted from eight metres, only to see his effort deflected for a corner.
It was Cameroon, however, that broke the deadlock after a wonderful pass from Mbondi over the defence released Ohandza, who fired home perfectly into the upper right corner of Rodriguez’ goal.
However, Mexico showed their fighting spirit by equalising within two minutes. A long ball from the left by substitute Pinon to the far post eluded everyone, except Carlos Orrantia, who timed his run to perfection before stabbing the ball between the Jean Efala's legs.
Mexico had the better of extra time and seemed set to go ahead midway through the second period, but Torres’ lobbed ball cleared both the goalkeeper and crossbar.
Five minutes from time Mexico enjoyed perhaps the best chance of the match when defender Nestor Araujo received the ball at the far post but Efala managed to fist the shot clear.