Colombia 1 Costa Rica 0: Falcao earns Copa America warm-up win
Radamel Falcao's struggles at club level continue to provide no hindrance to his international form as the striker netted yet again in Colombia’s 1-0 Copa America warm-up defeat of Costa Rica on Saturday.
The former Atletico Madrid star endured a difficult season with Manchester United, scoring just four goals in 26 Premier League matches, but he looked sharp in Buenos Aires and netted for the fifth time in his last five Colombia outings, going into Copa America full of confidence.
Colombia get their campaign underway against Group C rivals Venezuela on June 14, but there was little reason for optimism during the first half of their only pre-tournament contest, lacking cutting edge and appearing somewhat toothless in attack.
But a marked improvement followed Falcao’s poacher's effort at the start of the second half, while the 29-year-old's continued decisiveness on the international stage ensures Jose Pekerman an embarrassment of riches in attack for the upcoming tournament in Chile.
Despite naming an extremely strong starting XI, which also included Real Madrid star James Rodriguez, Colombia struggled to get going early on, with Costa Rica actually looking the brighter.
It took 26 minutes for the first chance to arrive, though, and Paulo Wanchope's men failed to make the most of it, as Jonathan Moya cut across his marker at the near post and directed Jonathan McDonald's low cross wide.
Colombia finally crafted their first opportunity six minutes later, but the outcome was much the same, Falcao skewing off target following Juan Cuadrado's clever cut-back.
Pekerman's side began the second period with renewed urgency, however, and the deadlock was broken in the 47th minute, Falcao steering Cuadrado's low cross under Esteban Alvarado.
Rodriguez and second-half substitute Carlos Bacca could have added goals in quick-succession with an hour gone, but both were denied in separate one-on-one situations with Alvarado.
Costa Rica ended the contest the livelier of the two teams, though an equaliser never materialised as Joel Campbell fired wide from close range in the 82nd minute.