Football

Weah, Dest get US back on track in World Cup qualifying

Timothy Weah set up the winner as the United States came from behind to defeat Costa Rica 2-1 and reignite their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Weah, who plays for French champions Lille, was drafted into the US starting line-up shortly before kick-off after D.C. United's Chris Arriola suffered an injury in the warm-up.

The 21-year-old son of Liberian football icon George Weah was instrumental in the winning US goal, picking up a pass from Barcelona wingback Sergino Dest and rifling a shot towards Costa Rica goalkeeper Leonel Moreira's near-post.

Weah's effort cannoned off the woodwork and ricocheted off Moreira and into the net for an own goal on 66 minutes.

It completed a well-earned comeback for US coach Gregg Berhalter's young side, who recovered after falling behind inside the first minute from Keysher Fuller before Dest's 25th-minute equaliser.

The win in Columbus, Ohio, gave the United States 11 points from six matches, three behind Mexico after El Tri's 2-0 victory over El Salvador in San Salvador.

"The team dug in and stuck together and I was really happy with the performance after conceding the first-minute goal," US captain Tyler Adams said.

The United States had suffered an upset 1-0 away defeat by Panama on Sunday, when Berhalter was criticised for making seven changes from the team that beat Jamaica last week.

Against Costa Rica, Berhalter reverted to the nucleus of the team that had brushed aside Jamaica 2-0, making 10 changes, and his team looked a more threatening and dynamic unit as a result.

The line-up was also the youngest ever US team to start a World Cup qualifying match, with an average age of 22 years and 229 days.

Elsewhere, Mexico maintained their lead in the eight-nation final qualifying group with a victory over El Salvador in a bruising encounter that saw both teams reduced to 10 men in the second half.

Mexico centre-back Hector Moreno headed in a corner kick in the 30th minute.

Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Raul Jimenez sealed the win with a penalty in second-half stoppage time.

Canada moved into third in the standings on 10 points with an impressive 4-1 victory over Panama in Toronto, a victory keyed by Alphonso Davies's impressive 66th-minute strike. - AFP

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