De Jesus nods Ecuador through

Ecuador cruised past Costa Rica to secure a 3-0 victory in Pereira and progress out of Group C to the Round of 16. A second-minute goal from Edson Montano and a double from Marlon De Jesus gave Ecuador a convincing edge, though their opponents have also advanced as a best third-place team despite the loss. 

Ecuador, entered the day with only a point in hand, knowing only a victory would secure them a place in the Round of 16. The South Americans came out with conviction in search of all three points and on two minutes took the lead.

Brayan De La Torre beat Costa Rican defender Joseph Mora on the right, and while his proceeding shot was blocked by keeper Mauricio Vargas, Edson Montano caught the deflection with his knee to score.

After Marcos Caicedo saw his chance go wide, Ecuador added to Costa Rica’s woes, when De La Torre served in a corner, in which an unmarked Marlon de Jesus nodded home with power. 

The Ticos struggled to produce anything on attack, with a weak effort from Bryan Vega their only chance on goal in the first quarter of an hour. At the other end, Fernando Gaibor found Caicedo on the left, but his crosswise shot went wide of the target.

Joseph Mora gave Costa Rica a jolt of life just before the half-hour mark, heading his chance left of John Jaramillo’s goal. Juan Golobio then had Jaramillo caught by surprise, with his volley taking an awkward bounce. The keeper managed to make the save, but immediately had Golobio testing his net once more with a powerful shot that rose over the crossbar.

After the break, Golobio was at it again, hitting a shot wide of the Ecuadorian goal and another on target only to see Jaramillo deny the chance. But, it was Ecuador who found yet another breakthrough on 69 minutes. Caicedo delivered a perfect pass into Marlon de Jesus, who then took his tally up to two on the evening with a curling shot past Vargas.

Costa Rica searched for an answer, but Jaramillo did well between the sticks to deny attempts from Yeltsin Tejeda and Deyver Vega before the referee whistled for the game’s end.