New York Cosmos defeat Cuba in diplomatic soccer friendly
Updated: 2015-06-03 11:04
New York Cosmos players David Diosa (L), Hunter Gorskie (C) and Lucky Mkosana celebrate a goal against Cuba during a friendly game in Havana June 2, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
HAVANA - The New York Cosmos dominated Cuba 4-1 on Tuesday in a soccer friendly meant to promote better relations between the United States and Cuba and demonstrate that baseball-mad Cuba is also becoming a soccer nation.
International goodwill was on display as the US flag was unfurled on the pitch and the US national anthem played before the match, both rarities in Communist-governed Cuba.
But the Cuban national team disappointed against a club from the second-tier North American Soccer League, falling behind 4-0 in the first half on two goals by Lucky Mkosana and one each from Sebastian Guenzatti and Hagop Chirishian.
Cuba, which has not appeared in a World Cup since 1938, scored five minutes into the second half on a strike by Andy Baquero.
Raul, the former Real Madrid striker and Spain captain who is now the face of the Cosmos, went scoreless.
The Cosmos became the first U.S. professional sports team to visit Cuba since detente in December, when U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced they would seek to restore diplomatic relations that were severed in 1961.
A daylong rain dissuaded many fans who left empty the uncovered sections of the 28,000-seat Pedro Marrero Stadium.