Costa Rica (2W-0D-1L, 6 points) overcame a one-goal deficit to rally for a 2-1 Group C victory over Bermuda and secure a spot in the classification stage of the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship at the Estadio Nacional on Saturday.
Randall Leal snapped a 1-1 tie in the 50th minute as the Ticos completed group play with six points, finishing second in the group behind El Salvador (2-0-1, 6) on goal difference (+1 to +2). Bermuda (0-1-2, 1) finished fourth and was eliminated from the competition.
Leal started and finished the goal-scoring sequence. He fed Jimmy Marin at the top of the box and the forward tapped the ball back to Leal, who fired a shot past goalkeeper Detre Bell for his second goal of the tournament.
The Bermudians scored the first goal against the run of play as the Central American side enjoyed more of the possession in the opening half.
They took advantage of an error by Costa Rica keeper Mario Sequeira in the 26th minute. Sequeira booted a goal kick straight to Oneko Lowe on the left side. Lowe worked his way into the penalty area, beating defenders Yostin Salinas and Pablo Arboine, before depositing the ball past Sequeira for his second goal of the competition.
The Costa Ricans, who entered the match with only one goal in their previous two encounters, equalized just before halftime on an own-goal. Leal floated a corner kick into the area as defender Tevahn Tyrell, trying to clear the ball, slotted it on two bounces into the lower left corner of his own net in the 43rd minute.
Bell was outstanding in the first half, making three important saves that kept the host off the scoreboard. His most memorable stops came on in the 31st minute, denying Andy Reyes and then Leal from point-blank range.
T&T PULL OFF WIN OVER EL SALVADOR
Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 20 Men pulled off a required victory over El Salvador to keep themselves in the running for a quarter final spot but would have to take to the stands to cheer on Bermuda in the evening’s second encounter with Costa Rica in San Jose on Saturday.
Goals by captain Jabari Mitchell in the 47th minute and a winner by Kathon St Hillaire in the 72nd, spurred T&T to a 2-1 victory and moved them to four points. But a win for Costa Rica would seal the second qualifying spot in the group with El Salvador already through with six points from their opening two wins against the hosts and Bermuda.
“This was by far our most positive game and result in the tournament so far and I am very pleased for the entire squad. They worked very hard for it and they went into this match with the right mindset and it showed out there on the pitch. They gave everything and got the just reward with the victory,” Head coach Brian Williams told TTFA Media.
“Now it’s for us to see if Bermuda can put on a strong performance and cause the upset against Costa Rica in the second match,” he added.
T&T drew their opening game with Bermuda 1-1 before losing 1-0 to Costa Rica in a close encounter on Thursday.