Japan 0-1 Costa Rica: Fuller grabs dramatic winner with first shot on target at World Cup to throw Group E open
Costa Rica’s Yeltsin Tejeda, right, tries to block a shot from Japan’s Wataru Endo during the World Cup, group E soccer match between Japan and Costa Rica, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. AP
Keysher Fuller scored in the 81st minute to lift Costa Rica to a 1-0 victory over Japan on Sunday, leaving both teams with three points after two games in Group E of the World Cup.
Fuller, who took advantage of a defensive error when Japan failed to clear in it end and hit the net from 18 meters just off the fingertips of leaping Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.
The match at Ahmad Bin Ali stadium was tactical and largely lackluster, particularly in a first half that did not yield a single shot on goal. The second half was slightly better with Japan pressing throughout until Costa Rica broke through.
Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas came up with several rapid fire saves in the final minutes to save the victory.
Japan has one Group E game remaining with Spain, and Costa Rica faces Germany in its final group match. With a victory, Japan could have all but wrapped up a place in the knockout stage after a 2-1 upset of Germany in its opener. Costa Rica was pounded by Spain 7-0 in its first game and just trying to survive.