Bryan Ruiz (far left) and Costa Rica line-up ahead of their World Cup qualifier against visiting Trinidad & Tobago on June 13, 2017, in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: CA-Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Costa Rica (3W-2D-1L, 11 points) took a big step towards Russia with a 2-1 win over visiting Trinidad & Tobago (1-0-5, 3) on Tuesday night in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Veteran attacker Bryan Ruiz – the 2016 CONCACAF Player of the Year – netted the game-winning goal, breaking a 1-1 tie just one minute before halftime.
“We suffered to earn the win, but they really are three very important points,” said the 31-year-old, who now has three goals in 2018 WCQ play. “The first half was very difficult because you have to acknowledge that Trinidad & Tobago played a great match.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Costa Rica head coach Oscar Ramirez in his post-match press conference.
“In the end, we met our objective to continue looking for qualification for Russia,” the former Alajuelense manager remarked. “It was not an easy match. There was a big physical toll. It was a tough match for everyone.
“We started well, but there was a tremendous back and forth, and it was impossible to maintain that pace. The opponent getting the tying goal made things difficult, but we managed to go back on top.”
With the victory, Costa Rica took sole possession of second place on 11 points, three ahead of the United States and three behind table-topping Mexico.