Copa America 2016: Colombia 2-3 Costa Rica - 5 Talking Points
Colombia ceded their top spot in group A as a 3-2 defeat to Costa Rica in their final group game allowed hosts USA to seal pole position, leaving the prospect of a mouth-watering clash with rivals Brazil in the quarter-finals.
With several first-team regulars rested by Jose Pekerman having already sealed a progression, Los Cafeteros fell behind as early as the second minute when Johan Venegas opened the account for Costa Rica. Frank Fabra restored parity for the whites just 4 minutes later, and found the net again just past the half-hour mark, albeit, at the wrong end as his own-goal put Los Ticos back in the lead.
The tie was all but over when Celso Borges made it 3-1, but Marlos Moreno gave Colombia some hope with a late strike. Despite their best efforts, La Tricolor couldn’t find the all-important equaliser and were forced to settle for a second place finish with the shock loss.
Following are some of the key talking points shaped from the gripping clash in Texas.
#1 Colombia pay the price for resting on their laurels
With 2 victories from the opening 2 group games, Colombia were already ensured a place in the last 8. However, the race for a top-spot finish was still very much alive. With hosts USA beating Paraguay by 1-0 earlier in the day, only a draw would’ve been enough for Jose Pekerman’s side to seal the pole position, but the Argentinian fielded a weakened line-up that eventually proved too costly.
With David Ospina, Jeison Murillo, James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Bacca also starting from the bench, Colombia were given early jitters when Costa Rica took the lead inside 2 minutes. And although Frank Fabra made it 1-1 within moments, they were second best thereafter.
Colombia were clearing lacking the guile and firepower in the attack that the likes of James and Bacca had brought in the previous 2 games, whereas Ospina’s replacement, a 37-year old Robinson Zapata, had a night to forget.
Pekerman tried to make amends for his mistakes by bringing on Cuadrado and James slightly after the hour mark, but the damage was already done.