FRISCO, Texas – Costa Rica (2W-1D-0L, 7 points) sealed a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals for a 10th consecutive time thanks to a 3-0 win over French Guiana (0-0-3, 0) on Friday at Toyota Stadium.
The result provisionally places the Ticos atop the Group A table with now second-place Canada (1-1-0, 4) and third-place Honduras (1-0-1, 3) slated to meet later in the evening. French Guiana was eliminated from the competition.
Three different players got on the scoresheet for Costa Rica, starting with Ariel Rodriguez in the fourth minute.
Randall Azofeifa lifted a right-sided corner into the penalty area as teammate David Ramirez moved to the ball, which appeared to take a strange deflection off the right foot of French Guiana defender Cedric Fabien and spin towards the net. An unmarked Rodriguez was there to slot home with his right foot from three-yards out.
Goalkeeper Dany Carvajal maintained Costa Rica’s lead in the 43rd minute, stretching to his left diagonally and thwarting Ludovic Baal’s 22-yard, left-footed effort.
Baal was then issued straight red card in the 61st minute and Costa Rica capitalized on the advantage in manpower.
In the 79th minute, the speedy Marco Urena reacted quickly to a defensive miscue at the midfield line, raced all the way into the right side of the box and unselfishly squared a ball into the middle for Rodney Wallace to finish with his right foot from 11-yards out.
With French Guiana tiring, Costa Rica punctuated the scoreline in the 83rd minute. Bryan Ruiz acknowledged a sharp run by Ramirez towards the top of the 18-yard box with a splendidly rolled pass. Despite imposing goalkeeper Donovan Leon racing towards him, the Saprissa forward kept his composure and sweetly struck a left-footed effort into the back of the net.
The French Guianese played without Florent Malouda, who was suspended as a result of playing in Tuesday’s match against Honduras despite previously being ruled ineligible.
If Canada fails to beat Honduras, Costa Rica, which didn’t win in four games at the 2015 Gold Cup, will capture the Group A title.