China and Costa Rica.... the teacher and the
pupil.... Bora Milutinovic and former understudy Alexandre Guimares.... both with a
Manchester City player in their team.... Sun Jihai for China and Paulo Wanchope for Costa
In the early stages China hardly came out of
their own half and when they did Costa Rica succeeded in pushing them back or bringing
Considering there were supposed to 40,000
Chinese fans making the journey, they weren't making a lot of noise..... apart from what
seemed like someone banging on a saucepan.
600 Million people were said to be watching
this game on television in China.... for once the roads were probably quieter than this
Seven minutes before the end of the half,
Paulo Wanchope created space in the Chinese area and cut the ball back, more in the hope
that someone was running on rather than seeing any movement.
China on counter-attacks didn't really have
the pace to get past the last defender, or the power to shoot from outside the area and
beat Erick Lonnis; between the posts for Costa Rica.
That was really the story of this first
half.... two underdogs without any bite.
Half-time: China 0 -- Costa
At the start of the second-half China tried to
push up a little more and even forced Erick Lonnis to palm away a dangerous cross.
China's number 10, Hao Haidong, had trouble
beating Mauricio Wright on the left, his little legs not fast enough to gain the final
yard. Ma Mingyu tried to run through the middle and release the ball to his left but once
again the attack broke down.
Hao Haidong switched to the right flank yet
was shadowed and dispossessed by Mauricio Wright again.
Just before the hour, Costa Rica brought on
Hernan Medford for Rolando Fonseca in attempt to spice up the attacking options and it
soon paid off.
-- GOAL -- 0-1
Stalemate broken around the hour mark as Rónald Gómez pounced
on a loose ball in the area, after approach work from Paulo Wanchope, to fire home his
18th international goal.
-- GOAL -- 0-2
Four minutes later, Mauricio Wright headed in after Gomez
received a short corner and turned it around his marker and towards the goal.
China tried to get back in the game but
couldn't take advantage of confusion in the Costa Rica area twenty minutes from the end.
Ten minutes later, Paulo Wanchope was
withdrawn with Wilmer López taking his place.
And right before thwe whistle, Rónald Gómez
should have made as he ran rings around Jiang Jin, only to have see his final shot cleared
off the line.
At the end, Costa Rica proved a little richer
than China and the Chinese fans don't have so far to go home.
China 0 -- Costa Rica 2