Costa Rica’s Marco Ureña (pictured) celebrates after scoring against visiting Mexico in a World Cup qualifier on September 5, 2017, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – An instant CONCACAF classic was punctuated by a memorable late strike from Marco Ureña that gave host Costa Rica (4W-3D-1L, 15 points) a 1-1 draw with Mexico (5-3-0, 18) on Tuesday in the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Fans at the Estadio Nacional were treated to a high-level, back-and-forth encounter that saw goalkeepers from both teams – Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas and Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico – make spectacular saves.
Ureña, however, proved to be the star of the show, following up on his two-goal heroics in last Friday’s 2-0 win at the United States with a hammered 83rd-minute volley from 21-yards out against the Mexicans.
“It’s really a great goal,” the San Jose Earthquakes forward said. “I struck it with soul, life and heart. The stadium also pushed it when I kicked the ball, so I’m very happy.”
It was Ureña’s fourth goal of the qualifying campaign, tying him with Christian Bolaños for the team lead and leaving Costa Rica one point away from booking a ticket to Russia.
“It’s another small step. We are closer to Russia,” the 27-year-old Ureña finished. “It can be done. We are up for competing at the highest level. We are going to work. We are well focused and we want to go to Russia.”