Copa America 2011, Colombia Vs. Costa Rica: Colombia Gets Past 10-Man Ticos, 1-0

They may have three points and sit atop Group A, but it's hard to imagine that Colombia are happy with their team right now. Facing a young and inexperienced Costa Rica team in their Copa America opened, Colombia was supposed to cruise. Instead they opened flat, were gifted a red card that should have jump started them and despite getting a goal, never looked particularly dangerous. A 1-0 win and three points, sure, but hardly the type of performance that has Colombians excited about their prospects for the rest of the tournament.

The opened 28 minutes of the match in Jujuy were a complete bore. With Bolivia shocking Argentina in a 1-1 draw and a spot atop Group A on the line it was expected that both teams would come out with fire, but Colombia looked as if they were being bothered by having to show up and play. Costa Rica, playing with an under-22 squad, did their best to stay organized and defend, but they never really had a chance to threaten Colombia. They just lacked the quality and then in 28th minute one of their overage players who should have brought calm to the team looked like the child.

Randall Brenes went in late on a challenge, but it wasn't just late. Brenes went in with his studs knee-high. The Colombian player who suffered the foul was unhurt, but the referee was completely in the right to show Brenes a red card for the reckless challenge. What was already a tough challenge for the youthful Ticos got that much tougher.

Colombia brought on Hugo Rodallega not long after, going to a four forward formation and it paid off with a 35 minute goal. Fredy Guarin played a beautiful 30-yard pass right through the heart of the Costa Rica defense. It found a streaking Adrian Ramos, who took a touch to round the keeper before finishing to put Colombia on top.

The second half should have brought a Colombian onslaught, but it was never there. They had a couple chances and dominated possession, but they struggled to challenge the Costa Rica goal. Once they hit the post and they got free for a couple shots from distance, but it wasn't the type of pressure you would expect from a team that should be superior at 11v11, let alone up a man.

Nonetheless, Colombia was able to see out the rest of the match and grab three points to move atop Group A. Costa Rica is bottom of the group on zero points, while Argentina and Bolivia are in the middle with a point apiece. Colombia will play their second match of the tournament on June 6 in Santa Fe against the hosts, Argentina, while the Ticos will next play on July 7 against Bolivia in Jujuy.

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