Paraguay, Costa Rica battle to a goalless draw in Copa America

Orlando (Florida), June 5 (IANS) Paraguay and Costa Rica battled to a goalless draw in their Group A opener, leaving each team with one point and second in the group behind Colombia in the Copa America centennial football tournament here.

Group leaders Colombia have three points after beating hosts the United States 2-0 earlier.

Paraguay had a slight edge in chances in the first half here on Saturday, while Costa Rica saw their best look come in the final 15 minutes. Costa Rica’s centre back Kendall Waston was sent off deep into second half stoppage time for a reckless tackle on Paraguay substitute Nelson Valdez while halting a counterattack near midfield.

Paraguay remain unbeaten in their last 15 Copa America opening matches, dating back to a 0-1 loss to Colombia in 1975. They have won eight of the 15 unbeaten matches.

In a first half of few chances at the Camping World Stadium, Paraguay threatened twice from set pieces early, with Celso Ortiz’s left-footed service headed just wide by center back Paulo Da Silva in the 14th minute.

Costa Rica’s best chance of the opening exchanges came from a free-kick taken quickly by Joel Campbell in the 17th minute, but Bryan Ruiz’s header was straight at goalkeeper Justo Villar.

Late in the second half, Costa Rica produced long range shots but could not beat Villar, who finished with four saves.

Group A play continues on Tuesday, when Costa Rica face the US at the Soldier Field in Chicago and Paraguay take on Colombia at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

–IANS

sam/pur/vt

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