International friendlies: Costa Rica begin World Cup preparations with victory over Scotland

A Scotland side showing four debutants was undone by Marco Urena's 14th-minute goal in a repeat result of Costa Rica's victory over the Scots at Italia 90.

AFP March 24, 2018 12:48:46 IST
International friendlies: Costa Rica begin World Cup preparations with victory over Scotland

Glasgow: Alex McLeish saw his second spell as Scotland manager start with a defeat as Costa Rica won 1-0 in a friendly international at Glasgow's Hampden Park on Friday.

A Scotland side showing four debutants was undone by Marco Urena's 14th-minute goal in a repeat result of Costa Rica's victory over the Scots at Italia 90 — the Central Americans' first match at a World Cup finals.

International friendlies Costa Rica begin World Cup preparations with victory over Scotland

Scotland and Costa Rica players in action during their match at Hampden Park in Glasgow. AP

Both Costa Rica manager Oscar Ramirez and former Aberdeen defender McLeish played in that match, with Scotland's defeat something of a surprise.

Times have changed, however, and with Costa Rica set to make their fifth World Cup finals appearance at Russia 2018, while Scotland's 20-year wait to take part in a major tournament goes on, Friday's result was no shock.

"I would expect common sense to prevail," said McLeish, who won seven of 10 games in charge during his previous spell in 2007, including a famous 1-0 win away to France, as Scotland narrowly missed out to Italy for Euro 2008 qualification.

"I was a bit disappointed with the first half but much more pleased with the second.

"There was a lot of changes, five new caps, not a rhythm, five days of training, some of the guys didn't train a couple of the days because of Sunday games."

Ramirez's side featured Real Madrid goalkeeper Kaylor Navas, with Celtic defender Cristian Gamboa, a bit-part player at Parkhead, at wing-back.

Meanwhile, Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay — watched by club manager Jose Mourinho — Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna, Swansea forward Oli McBurnie and Fulham's Kevin McDonald were among the newcomers in the Scotland side.

It did not take long for Costa Rica to break the deadlock with a well-worked goal.

Sunderland's Bryan Oviedo broke free down the left and cut the ball back for Urena to side-foot confidently past Allan McGregor.

McLeish's men had a great opportunity to equalise minutes later but wing-back Callum Paterson headed a Matt Ritchie corner past the far post.

McBurnie fashioned a couple of chances, his 27th-minute shot parried by Navas before a second-half effort was blocked by the legs of defender Oscar Duarte.

Costa Rica, though, were unfortunate not to double their lead after the break when captain Bryan Ruiz surged past Andrew Robertson only for his left-foot shot to clip the crossbar.

Scotland kept pressing, with Navas palming away Ritchie's well-struck drive in the 65th minute for a corner, which McBurnie headed over.

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