• Monday May 01, 2017

    Costa Rica edges Panama in CU17 thriller

    Karin Arce (white jersey) celebrates after scoring against host Panama in the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship on May 1, 2017, in the El Chorrillo section Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Straffon Images)

    PANAMA CITY, Panama – Costa Rica took a two-goal lead and held on to earn a 2-1 win over host Panama in the classification-stage opener for each in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship on Monday at the Estadio Maracana.

    The triumph gives the Costa Ricans an early advantage in Group E, placing them provisionally atop the table.  They will claim a berth in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup if Panama loses or draws against Mexico on Wednesday.

    Jose Alfaro put Costa Rica ahead 1-0 in the 31st minute, when his right-footed free kick from just inside the semicircle took a deflection off the wall, beating wrong-footed goalkeeper Jorginho Frias.  It was the Carmelita forward’s team-best third goal of the competition.

    In the 41st minute, the Ticos doubled their lead as Christian Muñoz’s free kick from the left wing was nodded into the right side of the net by Karin Arce on the edge of the six-yard box.

    Three minutes later, with a vociferous home crowd behind it, Panama halved the deficit.  Eduardo Guerrero raced onto a through ball played down the middle and held off defender Alexander Roman, before finding the back of the net from 17 yards with his right foot.

    Costa Rica goalkeeper Ricardo Montenegro turned in an outstanding performance, denying Guerrero in the eighth and 40th minutes.  With seven minutes left in normal time, he reacted quickly to push Angel Orelien’s free kick over the crossbar.

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