VANCOUVER — Costa Rica defeated Cuba 2-0 in a dominant performance Thursday to open play in the CONCACAF women’s Olympic soccer qualifying tournament at BC Place.
Costa Rica controlled the early play and scored in the 12th minute when loosely marked midfielder Saudy Rosales took a pass from Carolina Venegas and beat Cuban goalkeeper Lucylena Martinez with a low shot from six yards.
The scoring play was set up by a long through pass from defender Marianne Ugalde.
Cuba missed a great chance to tie the game eight minutes later when forward Yesenia Gallardo had an open goal with Costa Rican goalkeeper Julieth Arias out of position but Ugalde blocked her close-in shot.
Costa Rican winger Wendy Acosta made it 2-0 early in the second half after she was sent through on a Mariela Campos pass and buried a high left-footed shot from 10 yards.
Gallardo, Cuba’s only real scoring threat, missed another chance in the 59thminute when she won a loose ball in the Costa Rican box and fired a low shot that was blocked by an Arias leg save.
Costa Rica dominated the match from that point on, as the contest played out according to form. Costa Rica is ranked 41st in the world by FIFA – 55 spots ahead of Cuba.
The margin of victory could have been higher, as Costa Rican forward Raquel Rodriguez struck the Cuban crossbar from 23 yards out and later sent a header just over the bar from six yards.
BY BRUCE CONSTANTINEAU, VANCOUVER SUN