Wanchope double vaults Ticos into Gold Cup final
Paulo Wanchope - AP
By Luis Bueno
PASADENA, Calif. 30 January 2002 (TEAMtalk) – Paulo Cesar Wanchope bagged a double as Costa Rica defeated the Republic of Korea, 3-1, in a Gold Cup semifinal at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.
Costa Rica will make their first appearance on Sunday in a Gold Cup championship match. The Ticos will be only the second Central American side to play for CONCACAF’s championship. Honduras played in the inaugural Gold Cup championship in 1991.
Costa Rica coach Alexandre Guimaraes said he was happy to have played against Korea.
“We are very happy because we wanted to have a match of this caliber today to show what we have been preaching all along: that our side needed to continue to improve on our style of play and show our quality of play,” he said.
Costa Rica had nearly their full national team at their disposal. Manchester City striker Paulo Cesar Wanchope and Saprissa keeper Erick Lonnis led the Ticos, while star playmaker Wilmer Lopez played the last 25 minutes.
Costa Rica’s high talent level stood out, as Wanchope and Ronald Gomez each scored stellar goals.
Costa Rica opened the scoring in the 44th minute. Ticos right back Harold Wallace fed Hernan Medford in the right corner of the penalty area. Medford flicked the ball to the center of the area, right onto Gomez’s path. The Greece-based striker one-timed the ball into the back of the net.
In the 77th minute, it was Wanchope’s turn to shine. El Chope, who had been quiet for most of the match, bagged the eventual game-winner. Mauricio Solis fired a cross from the left side to Wanchope. Wanchope ran onto the cross and fired a one-timer from the right side of the net. Korea keeper Kim Byung-Ji could only get his fingertips on the shot.
Two minutes later, Korea’s Choi Jin-Cheul tapped in a loose ball inside the six-yard box past a sprawling Lonnis halve the deficit.
The Asians did not have much time to celebrate. One minute later, Wanchope caught the Korean defense napping and ran onto a long ball. He fired a 20-yard bomb past Kim for his 34th international goal.
Korea showed some offensive flair and had the ball deep inside Costa Rica’s third on several occasions. However, Costa Rica’s defense stood firm as the Korean’s long-range shots did not reach the Costa Rican net.
Korea put together an inspired effort in the second half. Early on, their wide midfielders – Lee Eul-Yong and Choi Sung-Yong – fired a steady diet of crosses to the attacking players. Cha Doo-Ri nearly scored in the 52nd minute but a cross deflected off a Costa Rican defender sailed just high of Doo-Ri’s head. Doo-Ri had Tico keeper Erick Lonnis beat.
Lee Dong-Gook, who came on early in the second half, was a dangerous presence in front of the net. Dong-Gook, though, had apparently not recovered from Sunday’s quarterfinal match against Mexico. Dong-Gook could not put away several clear scoring chances from inside the area against Mexico.
In the 70th minute, Dong-Gook had an open header from 10 yards out but he sent the ball well wide of the net. Four minutes later, Dong-Gook fired a shot right on target, but Ticos keeper Lonnis snared it.
Costa Rica’s Hernan Medford squandered his side’s best scoring chance of the first half. In the 37th minute, Korea’s Choi Sung-Yong was whistled for a hand ball inside the area after deflecting a cross from Paulo Cesar Wanchope. Medford stepped up and sailed the penalty kick well high of the crossbar.
Costa Rica: Erick Lonnis; Carlos Castro, Gilberto Martinez, Luis Marin, Reynaldo Parks, Harold Wallace (Max Sanchez, 84); Walter Centeno (Wilmer Lopez, 67), Mauricio Solis, Ronald Gomez; Hernan Medford (Steven Bryce, 61), Paulo Cesar Wanchope.
Republic of Korea: Kim Byung-Ji; Kim Sang-Sik (Hyun Young-Min, 90), Choi Jen-Cheul, Song Chong-Gug, Kim Tae-Young; Choi Sung-Yong, Choi Tae-Uk (Lee Dong-Gook, 55), Lee Young-Pyo, Lee Eul-Young; Cha Doo-Ri, Kim Do-Hoon (Ahn Hyo-Yeon, 68).