Ireland, Costa Rica play to a 1-1 draw in friendly

Ireland's Stephen Kelly battles Costa Rica's Marco Urena (right) for possession during the friendly at PPL Park. Costa Rica will play in the World Cup next week.
Ireland's Stephen Kelly battles Costa Rica's Marco Urena (right) for possession during the friendly at PPL Park. Costa Rica will play in the World Cup next week. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: June 08, 2014

Robbie Keane waited at the penalty spot, the Irish star hearing the full throttle of the Costa Rican fans that packed PPL Park on Friday night.

His country's all-time leading scorer, Keane had returned after a four-game absence for a moment such as this, a penalty in the latter stages of a tied game. Keane stutter-stepped to the ball, and goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton dove to his right and knocked his try away harmlessly.

Ireland and Costa Rica settled for a 1-1 draw in a spirited friendly that saw a red card, two penalties, and the return of the Irish main attraction to international play.

Neither side could be completely satisfied with the result.

Costa Rica has just one win this season, and was looking for momentum in its final tune-up for the World Cup.

Ireland, which failed to qualify for the World Cup, was hoping Keane's return would boost a sagging attack. The Irish mustered two goals in four games without Keane, who was away playing for his club team, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

This game turned during a two-minute stretch in the second half.

Ireland was leading by 1-0 when its goalie, David Forde, tripped Marco Urena in the penalty area. Celso Borges converted the penalty to level the score at 1-1. A minute later, Ireland's Stephen Quinn was taken down in the box to set up Keane's ill-fated attempt.

The first half belonged to Ireland's Kevin Doyle, or more specifically, his head.

Doyle's long header from the top of the box to give Ireland a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Late in the half, Costa Rica's Giancarlo Gonzalez earned a red card by delivering an elbow to Doyle's head. Doyle walked off the pitch holding a hand to his face as blood streamed down.

But down a man following the Gonzalez ejection, Costa Rica played its best soccer of the night and carried play in the second half. Aside from Keane's penalty, the Irish provided little threat.

"They played better with 10 than we did with 11," Irish manager Martin O'Neill said.


tmcmanus@phillynews.com

@ByTimMcManus

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|