OFC Futsal Championship 2016 winners and local heroes the Solomon Islands Kurukuru had a challenging start to the FIFA Futsal World Cup, losing 4-2 to CONCACAF champions Costa Rica.
The results didn’t go in the Solomon Islands futsal team’s favour, but the battle lasted until the final whistle, with the Kurukuru squeezing in two goals to close the gap somewhat.
The game struggled to flow initially as neither side could get their passing in tune. Kurukuru goalkeeper Philip Mango almost gifted Costa Rica the lead, spilling the ball on to his post before collecting with a look of relief across his face.
An ill-disciplined streak handed Costa Rica two penalties, both of which were wasted. Both Costa Rica players who missed soon atoned as the deadlock was broken. First, Alejandro Paniagua slotted home after missing the first penalty, then Edwin Cubillo found Carlos Chaves to drill in from the left.
A more open second half saw opportunities flow freer, but when captain Paniagua got another opportunity from the spot, this time from six metres, he made no mistake. Another penalty at the other end saw his fellow skipper Elliot Ragomo briefly cut the deficit, only for Costa Rica to fire back with a fourth goal.
A neat combination between Alvin Hou and Jeffrey Bule saw Solomon Islands pull one back in the last minutes but the final whistle blew before they could catch their opponents.
Solomon Islands will take on Argentina in there next match of pool play on 15 September, before facing off against Kazakhstan on 18 September.
For more on Solomon Islands football visit www.siff.com.sb.