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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Saprissa are kings of Costa Rica, claim 35th crown

Deportivo Saprissa became the Clausura 2020 champion of Costa Rica on Monday when they beat their arch rival, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, 1-0, in the second leg of the second-round final.

Argentine midfielder Mariano Torres (68th minute) scored the lone goal Monday.

Saprissa won on aggregate, 3-0, after the morados prevailed in the first leg, 2-0. Its captain, Christian Bolaños, was the top goal-scorer of the Clausura 2020 with 18 goals.

Monday’s result was only briefly in question. Saprissa played almost the entire second half with 10 men after for the expulsion of Ariel Rodríguez (47th minute), but disciplined defending helped preserve the lead.

In this way, the Saprissistas rose to their 35th title in their history, further establishing themselves as the winningest club in Costa Rican soccer. Alajuelense remains at 29 titles.

It’s the first Saprissa championship since Clausura 2018 and is also the first as a manager for Wálter ‘Paté’ Centeno, an idol in his time as a player who now joins a list of 11 figures from the club who were champions as players and coaches.

As has been the case since match day 16, the game took place behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the start of the final, the captains of the two teams — Bolaños, and Junior Díaz of La Liga — called on fans to stay home and avoid mass celebrations.

Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry (MSP) on Monday said “everything went normally” during the match and that fans had indeed celebrated at home.

‘Tico’ football was the first to resume in Latin America during the pandemic.

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