Costa Rica edge closer in Concacaf qualifiers

Bryan Ruiz

Costa Rica took another step towards the 2018 World Cup with a win over Trinidad and Tobago, while Panama and Honduras shared the spoils.

Costa Rica kept hold of second place in the group standings thanks to a 2-1 victory in San Jose, which also dumped the visitors down to the bottom of the standings.

CR v Trinidad & Tobago #costarica #WorldCupQualifiers #CONCACAF

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The Costa Ricans had the lead as early as the first minute when Francisco Calvo buried a bullet header from Joel Campbell’s corner.

Kevin Molino pulled Trinidad and Tobago back level 35 minutes with a low drive past Keylor Navas in goal, but Bryan Ruiz then picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the box to put Costa Rica back in front just before halftime.

Over in Panama, the hosts were able to salvage a point with a late equaliser in their 2-2 draw with Honduras at Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

Honduras took the lead in the sixth minute when a free kick from deep and a glancing header caused confusion in the box, and Romell Quioto was able to squeeze the loose ball in at the near post.

Blas Perez had Panama level in the 41st minute with a header from Michael Murillo’s cross, but a swift counterattack by Panama saw Alberto Ellis and Ronny Martinez link up excellently and the former put Honduras back in the lead.

Panama looked to be heading for a home defeat as the 90-minute mark arrived, but Roman Torres was able to latch onto a poked pass forward from Anibal Godoy to tuck the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Donis Escobar and salvage a draw.

The stalemate will suit Panama more, as they remain in fourth place, which comes with an intercontinental play-off, while Honduras are fifth in the six-nation race to Russia 2018.