Panama tops Costa Rica in friendly
Action from the international friendly between host Panama and Costa Rica (white jersey) on March 31, 2015, in Panama City. (Photo courtesy of Federación Panameña de Fútbol)

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Costa Rica’s 13-game unbeaten streak came to an end as host Panama posted a 2-1 victory in an international friendly on Tuesday night at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

Blas Perez and Luis Tejada gave the host a 2-0 lead within the opening 25 minutes, before Alvaro Saborio struck for the visitor midway through the second half.

It was the Panamanians 10th straight game against CONCACAF opposition.  Over that stretch, they have amassed a 6-2-2 record with the only losses coming in away encounters against the United States (2-0) and Mexico (1-0).

Panama went ahead 1-0 lead in the 18th minute through a fairly straightforward play.  Armando Cooper delivered a cross into the box from close proximity to the right-goal line for Alberto Quintero, who headed the ball to Perez.  The FC Dallas forward took a slight touch with his right foot and then used his left to deposit the ball into the back of the net from 10-yards out. 

The lead was doubled eight minutes later following a quick-fire sequence that saw Panama reel off three shots.  An initial effort from outside the box by Anibal Godoy crashed off the crossbar.  After Cooper’s attempted follow-up was saved by goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado, the rebound fell for Tejada to slot home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Costa Rica edged back into the game in the 67th minute, when Saborio converted a penalty kick after Harold Cummings fouled Marco Ureña in the box. 

The setback was the Ticos’ first since falling 2-1 to Japan in a friendly on June 2, 2014, just prior to their historic run to the World Cup quarterfinals.