The Costa Rican football squad clinched a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia in a friendly duel at St. James Park, Newcastle, England. A rejuvenated Costa Rican team, brimming with energy and attitude, managed to excite Ticos once again.
After two months of inactivity and with an interim coach, “La Tricolor” returned to the pitch for a high-level clash. They faced Saudi Arabia, a team that had defeated world champions Argentina in the last World Cup.
With an offensive approach, taking the initiative on the field, with daring plays and lots of energy and heart, Costa Rica quickly took control of the match’s rhythm.
The first goal for the Costa Ricans came from a set-piece when, at the 12th minute, Joel Campbell delivered a cross for Francisco Calvo, who headed it in to make it 1-0. New faces on the national team started making their mark as the game progressed. By the 33rd minute, Manfred Ugalde made it 2-0, chipping it in from Jewison Bennette’s free-kick.
At the 40th minute, Saudi Arabia had their clearest chance, but Keylor Navas spectacularly saved the national goal on three consecutive attempts. Their only goal came at the 68th minute when Ali Albulayhi headed in, capitalizing on a lapse in the Costa Rican defense.
The third and final goal for Costa Rica came from the bench at the 89th minute when Randall Leal intercepted the ball and placed a cross-shot past the Saudi goalkeeper.
For the first time in a while, the team showed a proactive approach, looking to create offensive plays and eager to score. The national side delivered an exceptional performance, especially from key figures such as the goal scorers and goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
“We needed to break our non-winning streak and it’s important to focus on our future direction. We must continue to work not only on the growth of the national team but on all aspects,” stated Claudio Vivas.
Vivas also expressed his satisfaction with the performances of several players, including Randall Leal and Manfred Ugalde.
“I’m thrilled with their comebacks; we’ve been looking forward to them. I told Randall Leal he needed to step up and regain possession. He initially lost the ball but then scored a stunning goal, showcasing his quality. Manfred Ugalde exhibits international class. We appreciate when our players can mirror their club performances on the national stage, which we value greatly,” he added.
La Sele will now face the United Arab Emirates next Tuesday, September 12th, at 9 am in Croatia.