Oscar Ramirez (pictured) has been Costa Rica's head coach since August 2015. (Photo: Straffon Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Two key points were proved in Costa Rica’s scoreless draw with visiting Panama on Thursday night in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The first is that every match in the competition is difficult. It was the first time that the Ticos’ didn’t win in five 2018 WCQs at home.
The second is that if you want to win, it’s crucial that all 11 players remain on the field for the entire match.
Costa Rica played the final 38 minutes with 10 men following the sending off of Giancarlo Gonzalez, but still managed to emerge with a point.
“It was a difficult match,” said Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez. “Their two forwards were in the middle of the field and in the back. We tried to play on the wings. When we could do it in the middle, we tried.
“The sending off was big for having to change to a back line of four and one is left with the feeling that the sending off limited us.”
The ejection came at a point in the match when Ramirez was making offensive adjustments. Those plans had to be adjusted.
“It is clear that we cannot leave ourselves with 10 players,” the 52-year-old finished. “The sending off limited us right at the moment we were making several offensive changes. It limits you a lot and in this case it is difficult and especially that their management of the ball was clear. In a qualifier or a final, you cannot be left with 10.”
Second-place Costa Rica will next host last-place Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday.