Colombia laboured to a narrow 1-0 win over the ten men of Costa Rica in their opening Copa America match. The youthful Costa Ricans played a man down for over an hour after the 28th-minute dismissal of Randall Brenes, but a goal from Adrian Ramos seconds before half-time was all that separated the sides.
Colombia at least showed flashes of the talent that has them well fancied in this competition, at times stringing together some wonderful moves, only to fail to deliver a shot that could truly test Leonel Moreira in the Costa Rica goal.
They struggled in the early stages, with the best chance coming from a surging run down the left from Ramos only for the Hertha Berlin man to send a tame shot goalwards. The game changed when Brenes crudely slid through the back of Luis Perea to earn a straight red - Costa Rica's first at a Copa America.
The next chance fell to Costa Rica, with Francisco Calvo close to heading in Joel Campbell's corner, but opportunities for the team in red were a rarity thereafter. Instead, Colombia attacked at will as Hugo Rodallega was brought on for Abel Aguilar to make the most of the extra space.
Ramos makes the difference
A long chip into the Costa Rica box caused a mix-up which Falcao almost capitalised on, before Ramos' header at the far post was gathered by the goalkeeper. The breakthrough came in the 45th minute when a long ball from Fredy Guarin found a superb run from Ramos who rounded the goalkeeper to finish.
The second half was a more subdued affair as Costa Rica sought to contain the game and snatch something on the break. Dayro Moreno flashed a low shot across goal for Colombia before Falcao was unlucky to see a header come back off the crossbar.
Just before the hour mark, David Guzman curled a low free-kick into the side-netting for Costa Rica, while at the other end, Guarin's disappointing free-kick was dragged wide. Costa Rica began to show dangerous signs thanks to the running of Diego Madrigal, and Colombia took the hint as they shut up shop in the closing stages. The win moved Colombia to the top of the Group A standings after Argentina's opening draw with Bolivia.