(Reuters) – A rampant first-half performance from Costa Rica set them up for a 4-0 win over Nicaragua in their Gold Cup opener at the National stadium in San Jose on Sunday.
Playing their first game of the tournament at home in this year’s expanded Gold Cup, Costa Rica were dominant throughout against their Central American neighbours.
Bryan Oviedo put the home side ahead in six minutes when the Nicaraguan goalkeeper failed to block his angled drive and Celso Borges made it two 13 minutes later.
Costa Rica got a third seconds before half time after a mix up in the Nicaraguan defence allowed Elias Aguilar’s 35-meter free kick to sail over everyone and into the net.
The second half was a quieter affair, with Allan Cruz rounding off the scoring 13 minutes from time when he curled a sweet left-foot shot into the top corner of the net from 18 meters out.
While 27 of the 31 Gold Cup matches are taking place in the United States, this match and Haiti’s 2-1 win over Bermuda in the other Group B encounter, were held in Costa Rica as part of the confederation’s expansion plans.
Another two games take place in Jamaica on Monday.
The next round of Group B games will be held in Frisco, Texas on Thursday when Costa Rica play Bermuda and Haiti take on Nicaragua.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)