Ninety minutes weren’t enough to separate the New York Cosmos from La Liga club SD Eibar Wednesday night at Sam Boyd Stadium. So this international friendly went straight to a penalty shootout, and the Cosmos prevailed.
“We certainly enjoyed playing this friendly match against Eibar,” said Giovanni Savarese, Cosmos Head Coach. “Both teams tried to play an open match and that allowed space to be creative. La Liga is one of the most competitive leagues in the world and exposing our players to this kind of opponent was a great experience for them.”
Fullback David Diosa was the hero for New York, slotting the deciding penalty past Eibar goalkeeper Xabi Irureta to end the extra session at 7-6 Cosmos. Though they fell behind in the shootout early, the Cosmos climbed back in thanks to a Brian Holt save and coolness at the penalty spot provided by Andrés Flores and Lucky Mkosana.
New York also fell behind early in regulation. Eibar boasted a 2-0 advantage less than 10 minutes into the match. Gonzalo Escalante connected with a free kick sent to the far post in the third minute, and Antonio Luna executed a stunning strike from outside the left edge of the penalty area six minutes later.
But the Cosmos would find their footing thanks in large part to striker Yasmani Duk. The Bolivian international answered at the far post in the 12th minute, catching up to Sebastián Guenzatti’s cross into the six-yard box and finishing with his head to make it 2-1.
Juan Arango nearly leveled the match in the 30th minute. The former RCD Mallorca star banged his long-distance blast off the crossbar, and Mkosana’s attempt at the rebound sailed high and left.
Duk would continue outmuscling his defenders, creating one-on-one opportunities in the 40th and 47th minutes. The 28-year-old completed his brace in the 53rd minute, heading home again – this time at the near post after Jairo Arrieta’s cross.
There was no extra time; the match went directly to a penalty shootout after the 2-2 stalemate in regulation. Holt followed up an Irureta save on Yohandry Orozco with a save of his own. In the end, Keko Gontán’s attempt that dinged the crossbar opened the door for Diosa, who calmly put away the winner.
Cosmos center back Rovérsio wore the captain’s armband for this friendly. Working his way back to full match fitness, the former La Liga stalwart was subbed off in the 63rd minute.
Cosmos B fullback Kyle McTurk got his first minutes with the first team when he replaced Duk in the 82nd minute.