Alajuelense trains at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank in preparation for the first leg of the Costa Rican Invierno final against Herediano on December 16, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Alajuelense)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – Alajuelense is in full preparation mode for the first leg of the Costa Rican final, which it will host Monday at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto Scotiabank.
For a fourth consecutive Invierno tournament, the Manudos will face Herediano, a side that has captured the last two Verano titles.
Oscar Ramirez, the Alajuelense head coach, is confident that his side can lift the trophy for a 29th time.
“We come in off a very competitive series against Saprissa, but it is a moment to recharge forces and focus ourselves on Herediano,” said the 49-year-old, who won four championships with the club as a player. “They (Herediano) arrive as favorites, but we have the make-up to go face-to-face for the title.”
Alajuelense advanced to the final due to owning a better position in the regular-season standings after its two-legged semifinal series against rival Saprissa ended 1-1 on aggregate.
Ramirez realizes that the final represents a fresh beginning, especially since Herediano and Alajuelense split their two regular season meetings, both winning at home via shutouts.
“This is a new final and we will face it with total seriousness and commitment,” he expressed. “The team is motivated and it is the moment to make the final push and reach our goal.”
Herediano topped the table by a slim two points over Alajuelense, scoring 49 goals in 22 games, 11 more than any other team. It will be the Florenses fifth straight appearance in the final.