Saprissa celebrates after winning the Costa Rican Verano championship on May 10, 2014. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
TIBAS, Costa Rica – Saprissa posted a 1-0 win over 10-man Alajuelense in the second leg of the Costa Rican Verano final on Saturday to capture the two-legged series by the same score.
Hansell Arauz struck in the first half at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma, lifting the host to a record-breaking 30th league title and a place in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
Under heavy rain, the match kicked off with an intensity befitting of a final between a pair of rivals that shared the mark for most domestic crowns.
That all changed in the 13th minute when Alajuelense was reduced a player following the ejection of forward Jonathan McDonald for a foul on David Guzman. Consequently, the Manudos assumed a more defensive posture, waiting to counterattack.
The host broke through in the 41st minute as Arauz, a 24-year-old attacking midfielder, beat goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton with a header that gave the Monstruo Morado a lead it would never relinquish.
“This was not easy,” said Saprissa head coach Ronald Gonzalez, who guided the Monstruo Morado to its first league championship since the 2010 Verano. “We had a long time in not celebrating and now to see the dressing room like this.”
By virtue of winning of the 2013 Invierno, Alajuelense will join Saprissa as Costa Rica’s Champions League representatives.
NOTES: Saprissa became the first team in CONCACAF to win 30 domestic league titles.