Costa Rica survived a late scare, beating Solomon Islands 4-2, in a game that featured five spot-kicks in total during the clash between the CONCACAF and OFC champions at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.
The game struggled to flow initially as neither side could get their passing in tune. But Solomon Islands goalkeeper Phillip Mango almost gifted Costa Rica the lead, spilling the ball on to his post, before collecting with a look of relief across his face.
An ill-disciplined streak was almost the undoing of the Oceanic side, handing Costa Rica two penalties, both of which were wasted. But each man who missed soon atoned as the deadlock was broken. First, Alejandro Paniagua slotted home after missing the first, then Edwin Cubillo – whose spot-kick effort was saved – found Carlos Chaves to drill in from the left.
A more open second half saw opportunities flow freer, but when captain Paniagua got another opportunity from the spot, this time from six metres, he made no mistake. Another penalty at the other end saw his fellow skipper Elliot Ragomo briefly cut the deficit, only for Mango to gift Costa Rica a fourth.
A neat combination between Alvin Hou and Jeffrey Bule saw Solomon Islands pull one back but, with just a minute left, Jack Wetney fired a fifth penalty wide.
Costa Rica will look to make it six from six when they tackle Kazakhstan on Tuesday, with Solomon Islands taking on Argentina.