England-based striker Jobi McAnuff scored a superb individual goal to give Jamaica a surprise 2-2 draw with highly-rated Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup here Wednesday.
McAnuff, who plays for English lower league side Leyton Orient, jinked his way past a series of Costa Rican defenders to prod home a 48th-minute equaliser at Los Angeles’s StubHub Center.
The Group B result came as a disappointment to Costa Rica, the highest placed CONCACAF team in the FIFA world rankings at 14th.
In the late contest Wednesday, Canada and El Salvador played to a 0-0 draw as all four teams in the Group B earned a single point in their openers.
Los Ticos, one of the surprise packages at last year’s World Cup where they defeated Italy and Uruguay during a fairytale run to the quarter-finals, trailed early on after Jamaica took the lead through Garath McCleary on 13 minutes.
However the Central Americans soon took the lead through goals from Roy Miller and David Ramirez.
Ramirez gave Costa Rica a 2-1 lead in the 37th minute as he won a foot race and chipped the ball over the head of Jamaican goalkeeper Dwayne Miller into the net.
His goal came just four minutes after Roy Miller headed home from a set piece to cancel out McCleary’s opener.
Both teams had chances to get the go-ahead goal in the final minutes but couldn’t capitalize.
Jamaica failed to get a shot on goal after a four-on-two fast break in the 85th minute and Costa Rica goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado made a brilliant diving save off a blast by Simon Dawkins in the 88th.
Costa Rica are aiming to win their first Gold Cup title in the 12-team, 19-day tournament.
Despite their ranking, Costa Rica are not coming into the tournament on a high note as they have lost three and drawn two in their last five contests.
Caribbean minnows Jamaica meanwhile will be satisfied with a point, after a difficult campaign at the Copa America last month where they lost all three group games.
After a sloppy first half defensively, Canada settled down in the second to earn a tie with El Salvador.
Forward Tosaint Ricketts had Canada’s best chance to score but his overhead kick, as he was falling backwards, sailed over the crossbar in the 80th minute.
Russell Teibert’s left foot shot also went over the bar five minutes later and forward Marcus Haber outjumped an El Salvador defender for a header in close but goalkeeper Derby Carrilo made a nice save in the final minutes of regulation.
Up for grabs in the tournament is a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.