Group C: Costa Rica 3 Guadeloupe 1
July 12 – Costa Rica went into the Gold Cup off the back having lost nine games. Up until the half time whistle you could have been wondering what the issue was. But suddenly all that changed with a goal in the half’s added time that turned what looked like a dead rubber into a spicy contest.
Guadeloupe were making their Gold Cup debut having overcome Guatemala 11-10 in a 12 round penalty shoot out in the final round of Gold Cup group qualifiers. What Guadeloupe lack in finesse they make up for in physicality and commitment.
But it was Costa Rica with their crisp passing game of old that made the running for most of the first half. On five minutes they had the lead. A defensive mix up on the edge of the area saw Guadeloupe goalkeeper Yohann Thuram fumble the ball at the feet of Coasta Rica’s Joel Campbell who side footed the ball into the net.
Campbell could have had a second two minutes later. Spotting Thuram off his line his lob went over the bar.
Costa Rica had Guadeloupe pinned in their own half. With veteran Bryan Ruiz pivotal, passing was slick, fast and direct when openings appeared.
On 20 minutes Costa Rica were two up. The ball was slid across the goal in front of Thuram for Areil Lassiter to tap in.
Costa Rica took their foot off the gas and on the whistle of half time Guadeloupe drilled a cross box from the right corner across the goal. With the defence napping Rafael Mirval swept in front of the defender to meet the ball first and poke it in. Costa Rica looked stunned, Guadeloupe left the field with a new sense of purpose.
The second half began with a new found edge. Thuram tipped a shot brilliantly over the bar, Guadeloupe attacked with a new found confidence in possession and pace.
But then disaster struck. On 52 minutes Guadeloupe won a free kick on the right hand edge of the box. Goudaloupe packed the area, the free kick skimmed the bar and in the aftermath Costa Rica defenders were left littered across the battleground. In stepped VAR and Steve Solvet was adjudged the assailant and sent off.
10-man Guadeloupe battled on – impressively – but on 70 minutes an attack down the left week saw Luis Diaz deliver a cross that was met at pace by Celso Borges.
It was a two goal cushion that Gualdeloupe were never going to overturn. Guadeloupe had a penalty decision overturned by VAR on 82 minutes that would have made for a tense finish. Instead it was a physical one. Guadeloupe face Jamaica next while Costa Rica meet Suriname.
Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1708370984labto1708370984ofdlr1708370984owedi1708370984sni@o1708370984fni1708370984