T&T defender Aubrey David played the full 90 minutes in central-defence as Deportivo Saprissa stayed four points clear at the top of the Costa Rica First Liga Football Primera Division Clausura with a 1-0 win over defending champions Herediano on Wednesday night.
Playing behind closed doors at the Estadio Ricard Saprissa Ayma, San Juan de Tibas, San Jose, left-back Michael Barrantes, 36 got the decisive goal of the match for Saprissa as early as the eighth minute.
Barrantes worked a clever one-two with a team-mate from a throw-in on the right flanked and after two touches unleashed a left-footed effort that whisked past Herediano goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado and into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal from about 25-yards out.
At the other end of the field Guyana-born 29-year-old David, one of only three foreigners in the entire squad, the other two being from Argentina had a solid outing in defence alongside Ricardo Blanco to help his team secure all three points.
With the win, Saprissa playing its first match domestically since the league was halted back on March 14, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic moved its points tally to 36 from 16 matches, four clear of bitter rival Alajuelense while Herediano stayed third with 26 points ahead of the next round of matches on Saturday (midnight TT time) when the league leaders face seventh-placed Santos de Guapiles.
It was revenge victory for Saprissa which loss 4-1 to Herediano on January 26, in which David also featured in the match.
Wednesday's matches in Costa Rica completed the first full round of matches in the league which became the first football league in the Americas to start playing again following the break-in play, barring the Nicaraguan league, which never stopped.
Costa Rica wasn't affected by the coronavirus outbreak as much as other countries, with 866 confirmed cases as of Monday evening over its population of just over 5 million, and with only ten fatalities, one of the best records in the region.
Speaking after making his 25th appearance of the campaign for Saprissa, all as a starter, David, who has also plied his trade in Finald with VIS and US Major League soccer's Dallas FC said: "Firstly we will like to thank God for allowing us to play once again. because we know it a privilege to start back playing early as not a lot of leagues and countries have started back playing with only Germany among the top European leagues right now.
"So we are very grateful for that and it feels good. The team is very happy with the performance last night (Wednesday). We worked hard, kept a lot of possession and we played good football.
"We scored a goal very early in the game and we maintained it throughout and kept a clean sheet. So the team was happy with the performance.
Having only resumed training two weeks before the match, David, a former player in the Kazakhstan Premier League with Shakhter Karangandy admitted it was a tough contest.
"It was difficult because we have not played a competitive match for like a month-and-a-half and for me personally I felt the fatigue in my legs in the last ten minutes of the game, so I had to battle through the pain and keep the work up to make sure we get the win.
"We now have our recovery process from that match and we are looking to keep up the performance for our next match away on Saturday.
Elsewhere in Central America, football authorities in El Salvador ended their league early with Once Deportivo being declared this year's Clausura champion following a decision by the country's football federation to prematurely end all football competitions from March 20, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Once Deportivo were leading the top-flight with 20 points after 11 games, one more point than the closest rival, El Vencedor when the football association postponed all competitions for 30 days on March 14 but then went a step further, when the country declared a state of emergency on March 15.
Among the T&T players affected by that decision was the trio of Jomal Williams (Isidro Metapan), Jamoul Francois (Independiente) and Jamal Jack (Jocoro), who are all still in that country due to the closure of its international borders.
With the early end to the league, Independiente ended in the fourth position with 15 points, level with seventh-placed Isidro Metepan, while Jocoro was ninth, two points behind.
And for defender Mekeil Williams of Guatemala’s Municipal of Liga Nacional, the outcome of the season is not definite as yet as they sit in the second spot with 23 points from 13 matches, five adrift of leaders Comunicaciones one round into the second half of the season on the 12-team table.