SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY – Costa Rica’s 2-0 victory Thursday over Bolivia, which left the Ticos looking at a potential quarterfinals place, was tinged with sadness as they dedicated the triumph to defender Dennis Marshall, killed in a highway crash last month.
Marshall, who played for Danish side Aalborg, had only just returned to Costa Rica following the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in the United States when he was killed in the head-on crash with a truck.
“He showed courage and dedication on the field and so we are dedicating this win to him. He will be happy with this victory,” said Joel Campbell, who scored one of the Ticos’ goals Thursday.
The Costa Ricans had lost their opening game to Colombia but now can go into their final match at Cordoba against wobbling hosts Argentina, who trail them by a point after two draws, with confidence under their Argentine coach Ricardo La Volpe.
Campbell, only 18, said he was delighted with the team’s overall performance, which he capped with a rasping drive after also being involved in the move which led to Martinez’s opener on the rebound.
“We could have had three, four, even five goals,” he said.
The fleet-footed tournament guests from Central America posed problems for their Andean rivals throughout, and the Bolivians resorted to some meaty challenges which earned them a string of yellow cards before they finished with nine men after red cards were flashed at Ronald Rivero at Walter Flores in quick succession.
Bolivian defender Rivero went for a handball which led to the penalty and Flores followed with a straight red for an over the top challenge.
The Costa Ricans will now hope to snatch a point off the struggling Argentinians in their final game as they bid to get a result that would likely secure a quarterfinal berth.
With luck their three points could yet be enough to land them a place as one of the two best third-placed teams at the event.
La Volpe said Argentinian fans would rejoice at his side’s victory.
“Our win favors Argentina,” La Volpe said.
Bolivia is now likely to finish last in the group if they do not beat Colombia. A Bolivian triumph would have put Colombia and Bolivia at four points each and made life harder for the Argentinians.
“Mathematically this is a good result for Argentina – it wouldn’t have been the same with a Bolivian win.
“With (Wednesday’s) result (between Colombia and Argentina) we knew we’d be in for a tough one against Argentina,” La Volpe said. “They will surely have to beat us,”
Josue Martínez netted Costa Rica’s opener on the hour and youngster Campbell scored a neat second with a fine drive
Bolivian keeper Carlos Arias saved a 71st-minute penalty kick from Allen Guevara to keep the score down but the kick due to a handball from Rivero earned a red card, and Flores went five minutes later to leave the Andeans with just nine men for the final 15 minutes.