Action from the first leg of the Costa Rican Verano final between Alajuelense and visiting Saprissa on May 5, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Alajuelense)
ALAJUELA, Costa Rica – Defending champion Alajuelense and visiting Saprissa played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of Costa Rican Verano final on Monday at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto. The sides meet again on Saturday with both aiming for a record 30th title.
The host enjoyed a majority of possession in the first half, varying the game’s rhythm with long balls to attacking players looking to get behind the Saprissa defense.
After the break, the encounter became more evenly played and, as a result, scoring opportunities were created on both ends of the field.
First, Alajuelense had a goal called back after it was judged that Armando Alonso had fouled Kendall Waston in the box.
Later in the half, Saprissa’s David Guzman (78’) and Golobio Bustos (79’) saw their efforts miss, but not by much.
“It’s our turn to go and look for it there,” said Alajuelense head coach Oscar Ramirez, expressing confidence ahead of the return leg. “I feel the team has a good vibe.”
Saprissa, which has not lifted the trophy since the 2010 Verano, came into the playoffs as the top seed. After going unbeaten in 20 straight games, the Monstruo Morado has posted only one win in its last four outings.
Even so, head coach Ronald González remains upbeat while keeping the series in proper perspective.
“Everything is equal,” said Gonzalez. “There is nothing decided. They are two very equal teams. Alajuelense has won titles as the home team and the away team.”