U20WC: Costa Rica tops Zambia, seals progression

Costa Rica's Jostin Daly (middle) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Zambia in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on May 27, 2017, in Cheonan, Korea Republic. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

SEOGWIPO, Korea Republic – Goalkeeper Erick Pineda was outstanding as Costa Rica (1W-1D-1L, 4 points) clinched a place in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup knockout rounds with a 1-0 win over first-place Zambia (2-0-1, 6) on Saturday at Cheonan Sports Complex.

The Costa Ricans finished third in Group C behind Portugal (1-1-1, 4) – a 2-1 winner over Iran – on the goals scored tiebreaker (2-4) after both finished with the same goal difference (0).  The teams with the four best records advance along with the six group winners and runners-up.

Jostin Daly scored the only goal in the 15th minute, putting away the rebound of his penalty kick that was initially saved by goalkeeper Mangani Banda.  Referee Matt Conger pointed to the spot after Jimmy Marin was fouled in the right side of the box.

Costa Rica was awarded another penalty in the second half, when Randall Leal was pushed down in the area by Ngosa Nsunzu.  Leal took the kick himself in the 66th minute, but it crashed off the left post.  Off the ricochet, Juan Arguedas raced for a shot that Banda saved in miraculous fashion.

Although it had already secured advancement, Zambia was relentless in the attack, attempting 21 shots.

In the 89th minute, Patson Daka thought he netted an equalizer, only for it to be overturned by the video assistant referee.

Pineda made six saves, including one early on as palmed a Nsunzu effort onto the crossbar.

Next up for Costa Rica: Round of 16 date and opponent to be determined