Costa Rica spoiled Giovani dos Santos’ 100th international appearance, holding Mexico to a 1-1 draw in World Cup qualifying.
Dos Santos played a big role in the opening goal in San Jose, his effort eventually turned into his own net by the unlucky Cristian Gamboa before half-time.
But the hosts had numerous chances and they levelled through the in-form Marco Urena, who struck with a volley in the 82nd minute.
Both goalkeepers – Keylor Navas and Guillermo Ochoa – were tested regularly during the encounter on Tuesday.
Mexico had already secured their spot at the World Cup, while Costa Rica moved a step closer with the point, now unable to finish any lower than the CONCACAF play-off spot.
Unsurprisingly, Oscar Ramirez opted to stick with the same starting line-up that stunned the United States 2-0 in their previous outing.
Juan Carlos Osorio returned to the Mexico bench after serving his six-game ban, and he made plenty of changes to the team that edged Panama 1-0 to secure their spot in Russia.
Giovani dos Santos started in his 100th international appearance, and his brother Jonathan was also in the 11, while Javier Hernandez dropped to the bench.
Un centenar de partidos defendiendo nuestros colores.
— Selección Nacional (@miseleccionmx) September 6, 2017
Bryan Ruiz almost gave Costa Rica a dream start, but Ochoa produced a fine save to deny the attacker in the opening minute.
Both teams looked energetic in the opening stages, with Navas palming away a close-range Diego Reyes effort after a corner on the half-hour mark.
In what was an open encounter, the hosts had the next big chance in the 41st minute, but Ruiz blazed over from the edge of the area.
However, Mexico went up the other end and opened the scoring.
Raul Jimenez burst clear down the right before crossing for Giovani dos Santos, who chested an audacious effort towards goal.
Navas made the save but the ball deflected off the unlucky Gamboa and into the back of the net despite the Real Madrid goalkeeper’s desperation.
Mexico should have doubled their lead on the counter-attack in the 65th minute, but substitute Jesus Corona’s effort was too narrow and Navas saved.
Urena, who scored a brace in the win over USA, tested Ochoa in the 76th minute, the shot-stopper tipping his powerful strike over the bar.
But there was no stopping Urena’s strike in the 82nd minute.
The San Jose Earthquakes forward scored with a tremendous volley from 20 yards and Costa Rica almost secured all three points, Johan Venegas hitting the post in additional time.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!