June 9, 2015 / 10:40 PM / 2 years ago

Spain, Costa Rica draw 1-1 in near empty stadium

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Women’s World Cup debutants Spain and Costa Rica labored to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday in a dreary Group E opener played in a near empty Montreal Olympic Stadium.

Jun 9, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Spain defender Irene Paredes (20) dives as she tries to bock the kick of Costa Rica forward Carolina Venegas (9) in the second half of a Group E soccer match in the 2015 FIFA women's World Cup at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There was little to excite the sparse crowd beyond a two-minute span early in the opening half that produced both goals.

Midfielder Vicky Losada opened the scoring in the 13th minute to give Spain the early lead before 37th-ranked Costa Rica replied one minute later.

Defender Lixy Rodriguez worked the ball down the field before spotting an unmarked Raquel Rodriguez on the edge of the area for the 21-year-old striker to direct her pass into a gaping net for her 25th goal in 38 international appearances.

Spain, 14th-ranked, continued to dominate possession in the second half as they swarmed into the Costa Rican zone and tested goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz but they could not score a winner.

The Canadian Soccer Association had announced on Monday that the tournament sold more than one million tickets but apparently few were sold for the Goup E clash with a sparse crowd in the massive stadium built for the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

In contrast to the disappointing turnout in Montreal, the World Cup has seen sellouts and large crowds at many of the other venues.

A Canadian record crowd for a soccer match of 53,058 filled Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium for the host’s opener on Saturday against China while the United States and Australia played to a full house of over 31,000 in Winnipeg.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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