Wednesday 17 July 2013, 8:00pm at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San José
L.D. Alajuelense
Guevara 72'
Fulham FC
Sidwell 62'; Berbatov (pen) 79'; Ruiz 87'

72' Goal

Allen Guevara

62' Goal

Steve Sidwell
Assist by Bryan Ruiz

79' Penalty

Dimitar Berbatov

87' Goal

Bryan Ruiz

65' Yellow Card

Derek Boateng Card was given for a foul

58' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alexander Kacaniklic
Off:Ashkan Dejagah

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Off:Pajtim Kasami

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Marcello Trotta
Off:Dimitar Berbatov

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Giorgos Karagounis
Off:Steve Sidwell

Bryan Ruiz capped an emotional reunion with his boyhood club, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, by putting the finishing touch on Fulham’s second victory of the Costa Rica tour.

Bryan Ruiz capped an emotional reunion with his boyhood club, Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, by putting the finishing touch on Fulham’s second victory of the Costa Rica tour.

Ruiz turned professional 10 years ago, signing his first contract for Alajuelense in 2003. Seven years have passed since he departed for Europe to make his name, and this was the first time he had faced his former team.

After being frustrated by 'La Liga' in the first half, the Whites took the lead when Steve Sidwell climbed highest to head home Ruiz’s perfectly flighted corner on 62 minutes.

However, the lead lasted only 10 minutes when Allen Guevara found space in the Whites' area to plant a strike past Maarten Stekelenburg, although Fulham struck back almost immediately. 

When substitute Alexander Kačaniklić drove into the area, he was sent tumbling by Elias Palma, and Berbatov despatched the penalty in typically composed style.

And the script was written for Ruiz when the Whites sprung a counter-attack and the returning hero lashed the ball in at the near post on 87 minutes to wrap up the win.

Ruiz was presented with a commemorative shirt before kick-off, but the Alejuela outfit were not only here for the occasion. They stated their intentions early with some crisp passing on a slick surface and they carved out a couple of openings for playmaker Cristian Oviedo, one of which whistled narrowly over the crossbar.

Stekelenburg was forced into two early saves, as Kevin Sancho skimmed a drive off the wet surface before Oviedo made the Dutchman work, but the Whites grew in stature as the half progressed.

Starting from a wide right position, Ruiz’s trickery opened up space and, when his cross was half cleared, Boateng took aim but skewed his drive wide. 

Berbatov had already tested Alfonso Quesada, but the La Liga keeper’s reactions had to be even better to palm away Sidwell’s bullet header from Ruiz’s corner after 25 minutes.

Then Ashkan Dejagah, who had been causing chaos with his thundering runs from the left, was a whisker away from opening the scoring with a 25-yard free-kick that he whipped fractions wide. 

Piling on the pressure, the Whites looked set to have the last word of the half, particularly when Ruiz’s lightning quick turn and strike looked destined for the top corner, only for the ball to be redirected over the crossbar by the sprawling Quesada’s fingertips.

But we re-discovered our killer instinct after the break, with Sidwell making no mistake to head home Ruiz’s pin-point delivery on 62 minutes.

Just as Fulham appeared comfortable, Guevara wiggled free in the box and picked his spot to level the scores, although parity did not last long when Kačaniklić burst into the area and drew the foul from Palma.

Berbatov strolled forward to slide the penalty into the bottom corner, making it three goals on tour for the Bulgarian marksman and, as the Costa Ricans began to tire further, spaces started to open up.

When Ruiz broke through the La Liga back-line to tuck away the Whites’ third, it seemed to be the perfect ending, but there was no celebration in respect for the club which launched the San José boy to international stardom.

Match Information

Competition: Friendly

Date: Wednesday 17 July 2013
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San José
Attendance: 7,000

L.D. Alajuelense

Line-up: Quesada; Sancho, Palma, López, Guzmán; Guevara, Oviedo, Valle, Alonso; Venegas, Aguilar

Unused substitutes: Lewis, de Souza, Soto, Gutiérrez, Salvatierra, Sánchez, García, Davies, Aguirre, Ortiz


Line-up: Stekelenburg; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson; Dejagah (Kacaniklic 58'), Derek Boateng, Sidwell (Karagounis 83'), Kasami (Mesca 70'); Ruiz; Berbatov (Trotta 83')

Unused substitutes: Etheridge, Senderos, Briggs, Vigen Christensen, Duff, David, Tankovic

Manager: Martin Jol

L.D. Alajuelense (4-4-2)
  • 18Alfonso Quesada
  • 17Kevin Sancho
  • 2Elías Palma
  • 3Porfirio López
  • 28Juan Gabriel Guzmán
  • 16Allen Guevara
  • 5Cristian Oviedo
  • 13Luis Miguel Valle
  • 8Armando Alonso
  • 27Johan Venegas
  • 11Alejandro Aguilar
  • 23Dexter Lewis
  • 14Maurim Vieira de Souza
  • 24Ariel Soto
  • 4Kenner Gutiérrez
  • 6José Salvatierra
  • 10Álvaro Sánchez
  • 25Kenneth García
  • 29Jorge Davies
  • 30Camilo Aguirre
  • 21José Guillermo Ortiz
Fulham (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Maarten Stekelenburg
  • 27Sascha Riether
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 15Kieran Richardson
  • 24Ashkan Dejagah
  • 23Derek Boateng
  • 7Steve Sidwell
  • 8Pajtim Kasami
  • 10Bryan Ruiz
  • 9Dimitar Berbatov
  • 38Neil Etheridge
  • 4Philippe Senderos
  • 17Matthew Briggs
  • 0Lasse Vigen Christensen
  • 11Alexander Kacaniklic
  • 14Giorgos Karagounis
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 30Chris David
  • 36Mesca
  • 29Marcello Trotta
  • 43Muamer Tankovic
  • Martin Jol
  • Bryan Ruiz scored against his former club, as Fulham ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Berbatov and Sidwell.
  • Full-time: Fulham 3-1 L.D. Alajuelense. Ruiz has the final word against his boyhood team after Sidwell and Berbatov scored for the Whites.
  • 87 Bryan Ruiz burst through the La Liga defence and lashed a strike in at the near post.
  • 83 Berbatov comes off for Trotta and Sidwell is replaced by Karagounis
  • 79 Berbatov calmly strokes in the spot-kick to the goalkeeper's right.
  • 78 Kacaniklic is sent tumbling by Palma and the referee gives a penalty.
  • 72 Another chance falls to Guevera and this time he makes no mistake, curling his shot into the corner to level.
  • 70 Na Bangna comes on to replace Kasami
  • 70 After a nice La Liga move, space opens up for Guevara to shoot at goal but he fires wide from 18 yards.
  • 65 Boateng goes into the book for a challenge after the ball had been played.
  • 62 Sidwell climbs highest to power in a header from Ruiz's well-flighted corner.
  • 61 Good opening for La Liga after Alonso flicks the ball though but Valle slashes at his shot and it drops harmlessly wide.
  • 58 Dejagah is replaced by Kacaniklic
  • 55 Boateng is requiring some treatment after being caught with a late challenge.
  • 49 Sidwell takes aim with the first effort of the second half but he catches the ball too cleanly and it flies over.
  • 46 No changes made for Fulham as they kick off the second half, going in search of a goal to break the deadlock.
  • Only superb goalkeeping has kept Fulham at bay in the first half, with Sidwell and Ruiz denied by the Quesada's excellent reactions.
  • 44 A terrific turn and strike by Bryan Ruiz brings the best out of goalkeeper Quesada, fingertipping the ball over at full-stretch.
  • 41 Liga's Aguilar lifts the Estadio Nacional, surging forward on the right and crossing across goal but Riether shepherds the ball away.
  • 36 A dangerous cross by Riether was heading towards Ruiz at the far post before Guevara's lunge took the ball away for a corner.
  • 34 The Richardson-Dejagah combination is working very well on the Fulham left, as the Whites begin to put their authority on the match.
  • 28 Dejagah is a whisker away from opening the scoring with a 25-yard free-kick. It bends over the wall but lands the wrong side of La Liga's post.
  • 25 Outstanding save by Quesada to deny Sidwell's firm header from Ruiz's corner. He then stands tall to deny Richardson's follow up.
  • 24 Fulham are upping the tempo now with another driving run by Dejagah and superb skill around the area by Berbatov almost opens up shooting space.
  • 18 The Whites breath a sigh of relief as Oviedo's stinging half volley whistles narrowly over Stekelenburg's crossbar.
  • 16 Smart movement on the Fulham right creates space for Ruiz to cross. The ball falls to Boateng but the midfielder pulls his shot wide.
  • 13 Oviedo is next to try his luck after making good progress on the Whites' right. Stekelenburg stands tall to palm away the drive.
  • 13 Liga right-back Sancho tries a speculative effort from distance but it almost catches Stekelenburg out after skimming on the wet surface. Well dealt with in the end.
  • 9 Ruiz has started the match on Fulham's right, with Dejagah on the left and Kasami playing up with Berbatov. Scrappy start by both teams.
  • 6 Berbatov gets the first shot of the game away after Dejagah started a sweeping move on Fulham's left. Comfortable save for Quesada.
  • 3 It's the natives who have had the better of the opening exchanges, with Fulham taking time to settle in the slippy conditions.
  • Liga Deportiva Alajuelense get us kicked-off, kicking towards a block of their hardcore drum-banging supporters in the first half.
  • Out walk the teams, Fulham in white, La Liga wearing black and red stripes, with their raucous ultras behind the goal having a carnival.
  • Liga Deportiva Alajuelense line up with Quesada; Sancho, Palma, Lopez, Guzman; Guevara, Valle, Oviedo, Alonso; Venegas, Aguilar.
  • The Latino dance music pumping from the PA system is being complimented by reverberating thunderclaps as the Whites warm up in the pouring rain.
  • Stekelenburg will keep goal behind Riether, Hughes, Hangeland and Richardson. Sidwell and Boateng make up the midfield, flanked by Dejagah and Kasami, with Ruiz supporting Berbatov in attack.
  • We have an electrical storm in San José as Stekelenburg and Etheridge go out to warm up. The rain is pounding down while lightning bolts sporadically light up the sky.
  • We're in Estadio Nacional, as Bryan Ruiz will face the club with whom he turned professional ten years ago, for the very first time.