Costa Rica tops Nicaragua in CCA opener

Marco Ureña (red jersey) heads for the goal in Costa Rica's Central American Cup win over Nicaragua on September 3, 2014, in Washington, D.C., at RFK Stadium. (Photo: Mexsport)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Costa Rica took an early perch atop Group B on Wednesday, posting a 3-0 win over Nicaragua in the opening match of the Central American Cup (CCA) at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.

Celso Borges, Marco Ureña and Johan Venegas all found the back of the net as the Ticos embarked on the first steps of their title defense.

The Costa Ricans fielded a strong line-up, starting eight players from the squad advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  Utilizing that experience, they were able enjoy an advantage in possession.

Nicaragua, though, forced the seven-time champion to wait until the 39th minute to get on the scoreboard.  A handball by Medardo Martinez in the box compelled referee Hector Rodriguez to point to the spot, where Celso Borges converted the subsequent penalty kick.  It was Borges’ third career CCA goal and he has now scored in three straight editions of the competition.

After the break, Costa Rica kept its foot on the gas and doubled the lead in the 49th minute.  Arsenal’s Joel Campbell laid a ball off inside the 18-yard box to Ureña, who made no mistake with his left-footed strike that found the top corner.

Second-half substitute Johan Venegas made it 3-0 in the 85th minute, heading in Christopher Meneses’ partially deflected left-sided cross.

The victory extended Costa Rica’s record to 6-0-0 in Copa Centroamericana play against Nicaragua. 

Group B play resumes on September 7 with a meeting between Costa Rica and 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup runner-up Panama at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

To view the Highlights of this game, click here.