Costa Rica Soccer – A dominating performance allowed Spain to cruise past Costa Rica 5-0 in an international friendly on Saturday night at the Estadio La Rosaleda in Malaga.Jordi Alba and Alvaro Morata gave La Roja a 2-0 lead at half-time, which was then quickly doubled early in the second stanza thanks to a brace from David Silva. Andres Iniesta added a late strike to cap off an enjoyable evening for the home fans.
While he didn’t get on the scoresheet, it was another hugely impressive national team outing for Isco, who danced and floated around the Costa Rican defence at will, creating chances and playing inch-perfect passes that defy explanation.The only down note for the home fans while watching their former beloved player was seeing him ask to be substituted off after a crunching tackle from Costa Rica’s Kendall Waston in the second-half.
Head coach Julen Lopetegui handed Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa his debut, while impressive young right-back Adrian Odriozola joined stalwarts Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Alba. Meanwhile, there were few surprises in midfield with Sergio Busquets, Iniesta and Thiago, while in attack Morata was chosen to lead the forward line and helped by Isco and Silva.
It did not take Spain long to strike, as Alba gave the hosts a 1-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes. David Silva sent in a cross from the right intended either for Morata or Isco, but Morata was on the turf and Isco hesitated, so the ball rolled to Alba instead who fired in for the goal.With the goal advantage Spain played very comfortably, generating a number of chances down the left flank. Thanks to a slick combination between Iniesta and Silva on that side resulted, Spain found their second, as Silva’s cross was fumbled by Costa Rica goalkeeper Danny Carvajal and Morata swooped in to make it 2-0.
Costa Rica finally found their offensive footing midway through the half and Johan Venegas came achingly close when he hammered a ball across goal that Marco Urena failed to connect with at the far post.Still, the match belonged to Spain and it could have easily been three before the break had Carvajal not made a flying save of Isco’s free kick and then denied Morata from point-blank range.
Lopetegui made four changes at the break, bringing on centre-backs Marc Bartra and Nacho for Ramos and Pique, Saul for Busquets and Iago Aspas for Morata.Spain remained in control, but Costa Rica seemed intent on making this easier for La Roja, and two mistakes from the Ticos’ defence resulted in goals for Silva early in the second-half. The first came when three Costa Rican defenders managed to flub a clearance and the ball fell perfectly for Silva to score from the right to extend the lead to 3-0. Five minutes later Cristian Gamboa lost possession and Silva was happy to take advantage, rocketing in a shot past Carvajal for a 4-0 scoreline.Iniesta then capped off the festive night in Andalucia with a brilliant goal just shy of the final quarter-hour mark, by collecting a pass from Bartra, charging into the Costa Rican half and then sending a bullet past Carvajal to make it a 5-0 final.