COSTA RICA COACH Jorge Luis Pinto labelled his team’s 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland as ‘one of the best matches’ in his tenure, comparing it favourably with their 2011 draw with Spain.
Despite Costa Rica having had to come from behind to draw with Ireland in Philadelphia on Friday, Pinto was thrilled with his side’s performance.
The Central Americans had defender Giancarlo Gonzalez sent off in the 41st minute but despite playing the second half with 10 players, Costa Rica looked the better team and eventually equalised just after the hour mark thanks to a penalty from Celso Borges.
While Ireland could have snatched victory with a penalty of their own three minutes later, Patrick Pemberton denied Robbie Keane from the spot, and Costa Rica held on for a draw.
“It did not seem that we had 10 (players), more that they did,” Pinto told Radio Colombia.
Pinto added: “I loved the game, in temperament, dynamic, tactical and technical.”
The Colombian coach, who became Costa Rica’s coach three years ago, argued his team produced as good a performance as their 2-2 draw with Spain in 2011.
“It was perhaps one of the best matches of the national team, with whom we played against Mexico, the US and Spain,” Pinto said.
Costa Rica had entered their friendly at PPL Park on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Japan, while they had lost four of their past five games.
But Pinto claimed his team are in good shape ahead of the FIFA World Cup, where they will face Uruguay, Italy and England in Group D.
“The team has very good physical structure… my only concern is keeping many of the things we did in the first half against Japan and the second against Ireland,” he said.