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HomeNewsCopa America 2024: Colombia 3-0 Costa Rica Match Report

Copa America 2024: Colombia 3-0 Costa Rica Match Report

After the euphoria of Monday’s draw against Brazil, La Sele were brought back down to earth with a bump when they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of an in-form Colombia on Friday afternoon, thanks to goals from Luis Díaz, Davinson Sánchez and Jhon Córdoba.

In team news, Costa Rica made one change from Monday’s goalless draw against Brazil. Young winger Warren Madrigal replaced Jefferson Brenes as coach Gustavo Alfaro opted for a more attacking-minded 3-4-3 formation.

For Colombia, fellow Argentine coach Néstor Lorenzo made two changes from their 2-1 victory over Paraguay. Center-back Carlos Cuesta deputized for the injured Jhon Lucumí, and powerful striker Jhon Córdoba came in for Rafael Santos Borré to give his side a more prominent focal point up top.

First Half

In front of a predominantly Colombian crowd at the State Farm Stadium in Arizona, Costa Rica got off to a solid, if not slightly cautious opening quarter, restricting Los Cafeteros to half-chances.

Colombia’s talisman, James Rodríguez, had the contest’s first clear-cut opening when his precise curling effort from the edge of the box looked destined to nestle into the bottom corner of the goal, before goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira agilely dove to his right, getting his fingertips to the ball and diverting it around the post.

Minutes later, Madrigal had Los Tico’s first attempt at goal, shooting wide from the ten yards out after a teasing Orlando Galo corner caused havoc in the opposition box.

Just before the half-hour mark, Colombia was awarded a penalty kick when Sequeira exposed his lack of experience by recklessly charging out from his goal and colliding with Jhon Córdoba in the box. It was a foolish mistake, considering Francisco Calvo had control of the ball, and there was no immediate danger. Luis Díaz converted the resulting spot-kick with an emphatic side-footed finish into the top right corner, sending Sequeira the wrong way.

Minutes before half-time, Los Cafeteros should have doubled the lead when a sublime cross from the increasingly influential Díaz was a matter of centimeters away from being converted by defender Davinson Sanchez with the goal at his mercy. A let-off for Los Ticos.

Second Half

At the break, Alfaro reacted to the insipid first-half performance by bringing on experienced forward Joel Campbell and left-back Joseph Mora in place Manfred Ugalde and Ariel Lassiter. The changes seemed to have the desired effect, as Campbell’s presence gave La Sele some vital physicality and creativity on the ball as they looked to draw level.

So, it was a mighty blow when, on the hour-mark, defender Davinson Sanchez doubled the lead when he met John Arias’s dangerous corner with a bullet header, which nestled in the vacant right-hand corner of the net. In a touching gesture, Sanchez ran over to the corner and, surrounded by his teammates, held up a Colombia shirt with ‘No 3 Lucumi’ on the back. Jhon Lucumi had started alongside Sanchez against Paraguay on Monday but pulled up early on with a thigh injury. It was a moment that said everything about the unity in this immensely impressive team.

Córdoba rounded off the scoring three minutes later after a beautiful first-time pass from Rodriguez released him in the inside right channel, and the striker thrashed a terrific shot into the far corner past the helpless Sequeira.

After that, the game drifted to full-time, with Costa Rica well and truly beaten. La Sele actually had more possession today than Monday’s match against Brazil (36% compared to 26%) but were incredibly wasteful with it, producing no shots on target for a second consecutive match. In the closing moments, substitute Jefferson Brenes had an excellent opportunity to test the opposition keeper when he had the ball free on the edge of the box but shot well over, a perfect illustration of Los Tico’s wasteful in-possession and in-front-of goal.

Player Ratings

23) Patrick Sequeira – 4/10

3) Jeyland Mitchell – 7/10

4) Juan Pablo Vargas – 7/10

15) Francisco Calvo (C) – 6/10

22) Haxzel Quirós – 7/10 (MOTM)

14) Orlando Galo – 5.5/10

10) Brandon Aguilera – 5.5/10

11) Ariel Lassiter – 5/10

21) Álvaro Zamora – 5.5/10

17) Warren Madrigal- 5.5/10

9) Manfred Ugalde – 4.5/10

Substitutes

12) Joel Campbell (for Manfred Ugalde 45th minute) – 7/10

8) Joseph Mora (for Ariel Lassiter 45th minute) – 5/10

20) Josimar Alcócer (for Álvaro Zamora 66th minute) – 5.5/10

13) Jefferson Brenes (for Brandon Aguilera 66th minute) – 5/10

24) Andy Rojas (for Warren Madrigal 83rd minute) – N/A

Coach

Gustavo Alfaro- 4.5/10

He made a big call by changing the 3-4-1-2 formation that was so effective against Brazil, and it proved to be an incorrect decision. Without the extra midfield, the side was well overrun in the middle of the park and easy for Colombia to break down. In addition, La Sele looked extremely ineffective going forward, with a real lack of attacking cohesion or positive passing patterns.

The victory for Colombia means they advance to the quarter-finals, and will be the side everyone will want to avoid. In Group D’s other fixture, Brazil defeated Paraguay 4-1. This means that heading into the final round of group matches, Costa Rica needs to beat Paraguay, and Brazil has to lose to Colombia with a six-goal swing in Los Ticos’ favor to progress to the next round. It’s an unlikely possibility, but before the tournament began, if you told any Tico fan that going into the third matchday, there was a slight chance of progressing to the knockout, they would have taken it.

Costa Rica will play Paraguay on July 2nd at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. Kick-off is at 8:00 p.m. CDT (UTC−5).

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