Friday, July 22, 2005

Panama shocks their way into the Gold Cup Final

Panama continued their Cinderella story last night as they held off Colombia to advance to the final against the US.

I'm sure Colombia is feeling a little cheated after a very poor call in the first half. Colombian Jaime Castrillon headed a ball that bounced off the crossbar, striking Panama's goalkeeper and appeared to cross the goal line before Panama's Julio Medina cleared it, but the ref called it a no goal. Colombia was pissed but instead of refocused on the game, as a more experienced side would have done, Humberto Mendoza decided to play rough. His elbow throwing in the 39th minute got him a free trip to the locker room and put his side down a man. However, Colombia did fight on and when Panama also lost a man, they showed what kind of side they can be. Colombia is a good team, but their youth causes them to play too much of an emotional game. If they can hold that in check, they might just qualify for the World Cup and surprise a few people.

As for Panama, they played their best match of the cup so far. Ricardo Phillips was shining for most of the night. His two goals show how much havoc he was causing the Colombian backfield. They were also able to survive a huge challenge when Luis Moreno was sent off in the 53rd minute, thus allowing Colombia to fight their way back into the game. Colombia did control most of the match from that point on, but Panama prevented them from dominating. This might just come in handy on Sunday since the US has scored 7 of their 11 tournament goals in the final 10 minutes.

Who would have guessed that a team that had never won a Gold Cup match would be getting ready to go for gold?


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