A lone goal from Bryan Ruiz gave Costa Rica a hard-fought victory over Jamaica on Tuesday, winning Group C of the Gold Cup to meet Canada in the quarterfinals.
Veteran captain Ruiz appeared in the 53rd minute with a good header to give Costa Rica the third victory in as many games in this Gold Cup, while Jamaica, which had the best chances, had no aim and conceded a defeat that sends him to play the United States in the quarterfinals.
The game, which was suspended at minute 2 due to an electrical storm and resumed two hours later, showed a Costa Rican team with more handling and possession of the ball in the first half but with little depth and without generating scoring chances. .
Joel Campbell and Alonso Martínez tried to speed up the Costa Rican attack but looked very lonely, while veteran Bryan Ruiz could not find clarity or precision in midfield to lead his team. Jamaica felt comfortable with the orderly block to defend and going fast on the attack with Andre Gray as the spearhead and the best figure of their team in the first half.
Gray had two clear chances in the area, but in one he finished weakly and in the other the goalkeeper Leonel Moreira avoided the goal with his foot. Just beginning the second half, Gray warned again by crashing a powerful shot off the post and two minutes later, at 53, veteran captain Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring for Costa Rica with a good header after a cross from the left by Ariel Lassiter.
The goal was conceived from the high pressure and intensity with which Costa Rica started the second half, very different from the slow and horizontal game that it exhibited in the first half. Jamaica reacted and forced goalkeeper Moreira to intervene with two saves against shots from Williams Flemmings.
At minute 70, goalkeeper Leonel Moreira was sent off because he cut off a clear opportunity for Jamaica to score outside the area with his hand. Thereafter, Jamaica intensified the pressure in search of the equalizer with a Cory Burke who created danger from the right wing and forced the emerging goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado to stretch twice to avoid the goal.
Costa Rica gave up the attack in the last quarter of an hour and closed spaces to sustain the victory. With this result, Costa Rica won Group C with a perfect record of three victories and will face Canada in the quarterfinals next Sunday, while Jamaica took second place and will face the United States.