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                                                                    Other Soccer News...

June 9, 2002


This high-paced and enthralling match in Incheon, Korea ended in a deserved draw thanks to a dramatic late goal from Winston Parks. Turkey had taken the lead through a second-half goal from Emre Belozoglu, but the Central Americans created chance after chance in the final 30 minutes in search of an equalizer.

The wily Hasan Sas and the hard-running Tugay Kerimoglu again drove Turkey, who were without suspended starters Alpay Ozalan and Hakan Unsal. Costa Rica attacked well themselves and are now on four points in Group C. However, they must face Brazil next, while Turkey have one point but take on goalless China.

The teams established a physical tone to the match in the early going, with hard and late tackles quickly becoming a common sight. Both sides attacked as aggressively as they defended, moving the ball through midfield with short passes and good technical play.

The first chance of the match fell to Paulo Wanchope, who did well to swivel and shoot from an angle, but he sent the ball over the crossbar from 15 metres (9’). Turkey came back with a near miss soon after, with Umit Ozat firing just wide of the right post from 35 metres (12’).

Turkey had a period of sustained pressure in the middle of the half, but they twice failed to take advantage when first Hasan Sas and then Hakan Sukur received the ball in dangerous positions only to be dispossessed by the defence before they could shoot.

Costa Rica missed a gem of a chance when Ronald Gomez took the ball down the left wing and centred for a streaking Walter Centeno, but with tons of time and worlds of space, Centeno fired over the bar from 12 metres (33’).

Turkey came close to getting the game’s first goal shortly after the interval, but Sukur could not get enough of his head on the ball to direct it on goal from close range (47’). A minute later, Sukur made a wonder first touch to control a long-ball from midfield, but his wild shot from 15 metres flew over the bar (48’).

Next, it was Costa Rica’s turn to miss a good chance. After some wonderful work by Carlos Castro on the left wing, the ball eventually made its way to Gomez, who shook off a defender with a cut to his left but fired his shot from the edge of the area wide of the left post (51’).

With all the good opportunities, a goal had to come, and one finally did when Emre Belozoglu first had a shot blocked by a defender and saw the rebound bounce back to him. He made no mistake with the second try, slotting the ball inside the near post from eight metres (0:1, 56’).

After giving up the goal, the Ticos attacked with abandon. They had two good looks at goal from the edge of the area, but first Wilmer Lopez (61’) and then Mauricio Solis (62’) fired wildly over the bar.

Costa Rica coach Alexandre Guimaraes tried to spark his team’s attack by bringing on forwards Parks and Steven Bryce (77’), and Parks made his coach look like a genius when he scored the equaliser. Wanchope created confusion in the area when he flicked a header on to another second-half substitute, Hernan Medford, who played the ball back across the goal mouth, where Parks made certain not to miss this one with the net vacated (1:1, 86’).

Both teams had their chances to grab the winner in the closing minutes. First Costa Rica goalkeeper Erick Lonnis saved Arif Erdem’s shot from 10 metres (90’). Then Parks came right back with a counter-attack, and after dribbling past the keeper, he shot well over the goal with the empty net beckoning (90’).