French Guiana were today eliminated from this year’s edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup competition when they lost by three- goals-to-nothing to Costa Rica in a match played under swealtering weather in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, USA.
Prior to the match, CONCACAF had meted a heavy punishment on French Guiana for fielding an ineligible player – Flourent Malouda – in their goal-less draw against Honduras in their second match in the Group. The afore-said match was overturned to three-goals-to-nothing win in favour of Honduras.
Costa Rica scored their first goal of the match in the fourth minute of the game through Ariel Rodriguez. A Randall Azofeifa’s corner kick was deflected into the opponent’s six yard box and Rodriguez raced swiftly towards the ball and shot it into the net.
After the goal, the Costa Ricans adopted a very cautious approach to the game : they withdrew to their half and started defending.
Rodriguez had another chance to double the lead in the fifteenth minute, but he volleyed over the crossbar a pass that was lofted to him inside the opponent’s penalty box .
The Guianans side had only one clear chance of scoring in the first half. Loduvic Baal’s powerful shot from outside the eighteen yard box drew a breathtaking save from Daniel Carvajal, who had been virtually inactive since the match started.
The Costa Ricans continued with their defensive approach to the game when the second half resumed, yet they continued to trouble the Guianans with their periodic counter-attacking play.
Costa Rica’s coach Óscar Ramírez introduced David Guzmán,Marco Ureña, Rodney Wallace into the game , and these players were instrumental to the two second half goals that sealed victory for the Trico.
Ludovic was red-carded in the sixtieth minute of the game when he retaliated against Guzman’s cynical tackle on him, though video replay later showed that the elbow he threw at Guzman made little or no contact.
After the red card, the Costa Ricans took control of the game, as they unrelentingly harried the Guianans who were at that point feeling the effect of their numerical inferiority.
Ureña was the orchestrator of the Trico’s offensive play and he would have added his name to the scorer’s sheet if he had shown more composure when he had clear scoring chances.
A faulty clearance from Cedric Fabian in his own half saw Urena collecting the ball and racing with it into Guiana’s penalty box, on sighting Wallace inside the penalty box : he sent him a weighted pass which the attacking mid-fielder shot unerringly into the open net.
Ramirez scored the final goal of the game. A pass from his team mate from the mid-field breached the Guianan’s back line and he cleverly beat the off-side trap and raced with the ball towards the opponent’s goalpost , having Donovan Leon at his mercy : he then shot the ball above the onrushing goal keeper for the third and final goal of the match.
Costa Rica, with today’s victory, have qualified for the quarter final stage of the competition ,having earned seven points from three matches.