HOUSTON: Dustin Corea scored off a free kick in injury time to lift El Salvador to a 1-1 draw with winless Costa Rica in the Gold Cup tournament on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Corea snuck between two defenders and got the toe of his left foot on a cross by Arturo Alvarez to score the late equalizer in front of a raucous crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The tie leaves struggling Costa Rica with a share of second place with El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B standings with two points. Jamaica is first with four points while Canada is last with one point.
With Costa Rica seemingly en route to their first win of the tournament, El Salvador got a lucky break when American referee Jair Marrufo awarded a controversial free kick to El Salvador.
Costa Rica midfielder Bryan Ruiz was standing next to Alexander Larin who drew the foul with a quick spin and melodramatic dive that caught Marrufo’s attention. Television replays showed that Ruiz did not make contact with Larin but it was too late.
Alvarez’s kick off the set piece sailed into the center of the box and Corea timed his run perfectly to slot it home.
It was another bitter disappointment for highly-ranked Costa Rica, who have failed to build off their quarterfinal run at last year’s FIFA World Cup.
Ruiz scored in the 61st minute by hammering a left footed shot near post past goalkeeper Derby Carrillo to make it 1-0 for Costa Rica.
As they celebrated the goal, Ruiz and his teammates were then pelted with cups of water thrown by the unruly Houston crowd.
One soccer fan managed to make his way past security in the 85th minute and onto the field where he took a picture with Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado Brown who didn’t object.
In the early game Saturday, Rodolph Austin headed the winner home two minutes into stoppage time, lifting Jamaica to a 1-0 triumph over winless Canada.
The winning goal came off some sloppy defense by Canada. Adrian Mariappa started the sequence from the right side by sending a cross into the center of the box where Austin was waiting unchecked as he easily headed the ball clean past Canadian goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos.