T&T defender Aubrey David had a solid outing in central defence alongside Alexander Robinson as Deportivo Saprissa put one hand on their 35th Costa Rica’s first division Clausura title with a 2-0 win over bitter rival and LD Alajuelense in their first-leg match on Wednesday night.
Playing behind closed doors at the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, Saprissa who ended the regular-season as table-topper took the lead as early as the 12th minute via Ariel Rodriguez before Esteban Rodriguez doubled the advantage in the 27th minute for a 2-0 half-time cushion.
In the second-half, LD Alajuelense who are after a 31st title introduced Barlon Sequeira for Ariel Lassiter in the 61st minute and Dylan Flores for Allen Guevera, six minutes later to get back into the encounter.
However, visiting Saprissa countered with Manfred Ugalde, Byron Bonilla, Marvin Angulo, Jean Carlos Aguero and Juan Guzman all being introduced to keep their team fresh at the expense of Ariel Rodriguez (65th), Esteban Rodriguez (80th), Mariano Nestor Torres (88th), Michael Barrantes (88th) and Christian Bolanos (888th) respectively as they held on for the all-important 2-0 shut-out road win ahead of the return-leg encounter at their Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aym.
Saprissa will be hoping for a second Clausura title in three years after they won the tournament in 2018, defeating Herediano 4-3 on penalties with ten men, after finishing regular time scoreless.
If Saprissa wins the home-and-home series, it will earn the Clausura 2020 title. Otherwise, the rival clubs will rematch in a “Grand Final.
Wednesday's first-leg encounter was delayed from Sunday last because of a new outbreak of coronavirus cases in Costa Rica with that country's Health Minister Daniel Salas saying plans to reopen shopping centres, beaches and churches had to be halted until further notice, reports according to Xinhua news agency.
The move came after the Central American country reported a record 119 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours as the total number of infections surpassed 12,000, of which 12 have been fatal.
Costa Rican football resumed on May 19, two months after its suspension, under strict sanitary protocols and without fans and the authorities have praised clubs for adhering to the guidelines as no player has tested positive for the virus.
In the semifinals, the 29-year-old Guyana-born David and his Saprissa team-mates topped went under to CS Cartagines 3-2 in the second-leg but advanced to the 6-3 on aggregate after hammering host CS Cartagines 4-0 in their first-leg while LD Alajuelense got past Apertura champion CS Herediano 2-0 on aggregate after a goalless second-leg draw.
In their two other meetings this season, Saprissa and Alajuelense played to two draws in the Clausura, 1-1 and 2-2 while in the 2019 Apertura season, Saprissa had a 2-1 first-round win, but suffered a 5-2 second round spanking.