Aubrey David became the first Trinidad and Tobago player to have hoisted Costa Rica’s football championship trophy when his team, Deportivo Saprissa, won its 35th Primera Division title on Monday night, completing the two-leg final with a 1-0 defeat of main rivals Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.
It is the second stint T&T’S David has had with Saprissa, having been a fan favourite in the 2016 season before leaving for MLS soccer where he played for FC Dallas. The Guyana-born T&T defender then had two seasons in Finland with PS Kemi (2017) and VSP (2018) before returning to Saprissa in 2019.
Saprissa became the 2020 Clausura champions with a 1-0 win over Alajuelense in the second leg of the final, with a 68th-minute goal by Argentine midfielder Mariano Torres. They had also won the first leg 2-0, with goals from Ariel Rodríguez and Esteban Rodriguez. The new champions played almost the entire second half with 10 men after the expulsion of Ariel Rodríguez (47’).
After finishing as the top team in the regular phase, Saprissa defeated Club Sport Cartaginés (CSC) in the semi-final of the knockout phase and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (LDA), known as “The Purple”, in the final. The championship was Saprissa’s first since Clausura 2018 and it came under popular coach Wálter Centeno, an idol in his playing days at the club.
However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Saprissa’s celebrations were more muted than usual in 2020.
“Tico” football was the first to resume in Latin America during the pandemic. As happened since the tournament resumed after lock-down restrictions, the game took place behind closed doors. Before the start of the clash, Costa Rica international and Saprissa player Christian Bolaños and Alajuelense skipper Junior Díaz both called on the fans to stay home and avoid celebrations. Bolaños ended the tournament as top scorer with 18 goals.
“It is a strange celebration, we had two years of not being champions and for us, that is a lot,” Saprissa president Juan Carlos Rojas said. “In other times, many would be on the street screaming and celebrating but for everything there is a moment, titles 36 and 37 will come, where we can celebrate together.”