San Jose (AFP) – Historic Brian Ruiz and Celso Borges scored to give Costa Rica their first win in the World Cup qualifiers heading to Qatar 2022, with a 2-1 victory over El Salvador on Sunday.
Ruiz and Borges – that’s from a penalty kick – scored early in the second half to change the score, after the visitors took the lead in the 12th minute with a Jairo Henriquez goal.
Costa Rica now has six points after five matches in the CONCACAF octagonal final, and is close to the qualifying spots that have fallen far behind after losing and three draws on previous dates.
The match at the National Stadium in San Jose was not a bed of roses for the team led by Colombian Luis Fernando Suarez, as he had to spar against the tide before the first quarter of the hour ended.
In a pass to the edge of the area, Salvadoran Joaquín Rivas managed to head the ball back, and from where Enriquez arrived unmarked and with a creeping but well-placed shot, he managed to beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The visitors’ goal immediately elicited the reaction of the Costa Rican national team, who, with great force but little accuracy, took the lead over the Salvadorans in search of an equaliser, putting goalkeeper Marco Gonzalez to the test on several occasions.
Costa Rican pressure continued after the start of the second half. He earned a bonus at 52 when Borges was thrown in the middle towards the left side of the goal header by Captain Ruiz. It was Ruiz’s 28th entry with the national team.
Achieving the goal again doubled the moral spur on the field and in the stands, so the siege intensified and resulted in six minutes later splitting striker Jose Guillermo Ortiz, who was knocked down by goalkeeper Gonzalez in the area and causing the prison to burn in favor of the locals.
Borges was in charge of the set and beat the Salvadoran goalkeeper with a powerful shot in the right side for 2-1 which was the final.
Leading on the scoreboard for the first time in the entire match, Costa Rica organized their attempts to widen the lead to manage the match.
In the 81st minute, a strong intervention from Salvadoran midfielder Narciso Orellana on Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell resulted in a direct red card from Honduran referee Said Martinez.
With one man too many, Costa Rica gained new momentum in attack with Campbell showing up front. El Salvador tried from distance and a fine shot from Alex Roldan allowed goalkeeper Keylor Navas to shine again with a great save in the opponents.
Stalled by five points, the Salvadorans stumbled once again on Tico ground in the World Cup qualifiers. La Selecta visited Costa Rica for the eighth time since 1976 and is still unable to win with four draws and four defeats.
Costa Rica’s next match will be on Wednesday as a visitor against the United States while El Salvador hosts Mexico.
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