Costa Rica completes a thrilling second half comeback against the experienced Uruguay team.
Byline: Kevin Buckles Jr, Sports Editor
Costa Rica’s two, second half goals over a three-minute span doomed Uruguay Saturday afternoon at Estadio Castelao, en route to a 3-1 win in what was a massive upset.
Uruguay, who played the entire match without injured Liverpool star forward Luis Suárez, did not look bad early in the match, earning a penalty kick in the 23 minute off of a foul committed by Costa Rica defender Junior Diaz in the penalty box.
Paris Saint-Germain FC and Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani calmly approached the ball for the PK and drilled it past Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas, into the bottom right corner of the net, giving his team a 1-0 lead.
Uruguay was able to maintain control of their lead for the remaining duration of the first half, but the second half was a completely different story.
In the 54 minute, Costa Rica defender Cristian Gamboa was streaking down the right side of the field when he sent a line drive cross into the middle of the penalty box in the direction of teammate Celso Borges.
Borges jumped for the cross to head the ball into the net but whiffed badly, but fortunately for Costa Rica, the ball ended up at the feet of forward Joel Campbell who then sent a left-footed strike into the back of the net.
All momentum had quickly shifted to Costa Rica at that point as just three minutes later, defender Oscar Duarte smoothly sent a header off of a free kick from the left side of the penalty box, across the goal, and into the right corner of the net.
The goal gave Costa Rica a 2-1 lead, stunning Uruguay, showing the type of patience and composure that the team needed to complete the comeback.
“We are happy and I want to congratulate the team for the attitude they showed,” said Costa Rica Head Coach Jorge Luis Pinto after the game. “The players kept their heads after Uruguay scored. They were composed, stuck to their game and played with a lot of heart.”
Uruguay was never able to combat Costa Rica’s energy in the second half, surrendering a third goal in the 84 minute to all but seal victory for the Ticos.
“I don’t know what Costa Rica’s limit is, but today they played well,” said Uruguay Head Coach Oscar Washington Tabarez in his post-match comments. “They were tactically better than us, which reflects well on their coach and players. When they took the lead, they gave us space and let us play where we couldn’t do them any harm.”
Although Uruguay’s big loss came as a shock to the world, Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell felt what his team accomplished was no astonishment to him and his team.
“It wasn’t a surprise for us. We came here to win,” said Campbell after the match. “We wanted the points and we went for them. We’ve still got two big games to come against two big sides and we hope to put in big performances against them.”
Costa Rica will face Italy on Friday at Arena Pernambuco looking to continue their hot start, while Uruguay will try to bounce back against England on Thursday at Arena Corinthians.
To watch the highlights of this game click on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1881469, video provided by ESPN FC.