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Former Manchester City hero Paulo Wanchope passes Uruguay test with Costa Rica

Costa Rica Fans with Flag

Paulo Wanchope did he chances of remaining Costa Rica manager the world of good after seeing off a Uruguay side that welcomed back Luis Suarez.

A Manchester City player for four years, during which time he netted 27 goals in 64 appearances for the Sky Blues, Paulo Wanchope has moved into the world of football management in recent months and it’s a case of so far, so good for the 38-year-old.

Costa Rica’s all-time top scorer enjoyed a brief stint at Club Sport Herediano in 2008 before becoming assistant to national team coach Jorge Luis Pinto prior to last summer’s World Cup.

Los Ticos enjoyed a tournament to remember in the summer, finishing top of a group containing Uruguay, Italy and England before bowing out at the quarter-final stage after losing to Holland on penalties.

After the finals, Pinto stepped aside amid rumours of unrest within the coaching ranks and squad, many of whom clashed with the then-manager, it has been claimed.

Wanchope was therefore the logical choice to step up into the role, albeit on a temporary basis for the time being.

The one-time West Ham and Derby County forward was feeling the pressure, however, after arguably the greatest period in the history of the Costa Rica national side.

But he started well enough, guiding La Sele to triumph in the Copa Centroamericana, albeit against vastly inferior opposition in the form of teams like Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.

However the biggest test of his credentials to date came this week with a game against Uruguay, who were welcoming back Luis Suarez from his recent suspension.

When the pair met at the World Cup it was Costa Rica who came out on top in a 3-1 win, so a positive result was expected by many.

Dubbed the Copa Antel – with the game a meeting between the Copa America and Copa Centroamerican holders – what followed was an encounter to remember.

Alvaro Saborio gave Costa Rica the lead just before half-time but Suarez levelled things up after the break. Bryan Ruiz then put Los Ticos back in front only for Jose Gimenez to fine a second equaliser for the South Americans.

Wanchope then appeared to be in trouble when Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay the lead for the first time with just 23 minutes to go.

But Costa Rica dug deep to find an equaliser, one minute into injury time, through substitute Johan Venegas.

The game went straight to penalties where, despite an early miss, Costa Rica came out on top with Keylor Navas saving the decisive kick from Egidio Arevalo Rios.

Wanchope now looks like to continue as national team coach – could we one day see him make a return to the Premier League?

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