Celso Borges (pictured) equalized with a penalty kick to give Costa Rica a 1-1 draw with Ireland in an international friendly on June 6, 2014, in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Courtesy Diario La Nacion)
CHESTER, Pennsylvania – Celso Borges converted a second-half penalty kick to give 10-man Costa Rica a 1-1 draw with Ireland in an international friendly on Friday at PPL Park.
The Costa Ricans rebounded from a 3-1 setback to Japan on Monday with a robust performance -- especially in the second half -- despite Giancarlo Gonzalez’s 41st minute ejection.
Ireland opened the scoring in the 18th minute, when Kevin Doyle’s header from 17-yards off a Marc Wilson left-sided cross sailed beyond the reach of goalkeeper Keylor Navas and inside the right post.
Costa Rica’s best first-half chance came in the 39th minute. After Ireland goalkeeper David Forde did not cleanly punch away a Heiner Mora cross, Borges followed with an overhead effort that went over the crossbar.
Four minutes before half-time, Doyle was bloodied by apparent elbow to the head by Gonzalez, compelling referee Raul Castro to issue the Columbus Crew defender an initial caution that then turned to red.
Costa Rica emerged from the break in an attacking mood with the trio of Joel Campbell, Marco Ureña and Bryan Ruiz conspiring to trouble the Irish defense.
The Ticos’ cohesive play ultimately led to a 63rd minute equalizer. Campbell played a clever reverse pass through the middle for the darting Ureña to receive in the box. Forde charged to his left in an attempt to gather the ball, but – in the process – took down the Kuban Krasnodar forward. Borges buried the subsequent spot kick high and up the middle, giving the left-diving Forde no chance.
Three minutes later, Ireland was presented with an opportunity to regain the lead after it was awarded a penalty for Mora’s foul on Stephen Quinn. Substitute goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton, though, made the save on Robbie Keane’s penalty attempt. It was only the second penalty miss for Ireland’s all-time leading scorer in his 16-year international career.
Both teams maintained their intensity in search of a game-winner. Forde did well to parry a Campbell effort, while Pemberton made key saves to thwart Shane Long and Simon Cox in the later stages of the contest.
With its pre-World Cup friendly schedule complete, Costa Rica next for Costa Rica will be its World Cup opener on June 14 against Uruguay in Fortaleza, Brazil.