Panama hangs on to beat Guadeloupe 3-2
For 60 minutes, Panama looked like Central America’s newest
powerhouse. Thirty minutes later, they were just hoping to avoid a
The Panamanians led 3-0 and had a man advantage on Tuesday, but
short-handed Guadeloupe scored twice to force a frantic finish in a
”We shouldn’t have had as many problems as we did at the end of
the game,” said Panama coach Julio Cesar Dely Valdes. ”We had the
game under control, but we struggled at the end.”
Brice Jovial scored both goals for Guadeloupe after coming off
as a substitute at halftime.
For the first hour, it appeared that Panama would continue this
year’s trend of lopsided Gold Cup results.
Luis Henriquez nearly gave the Panamanians a spectacular lead in
the 9th minute, but his shot from 55 yards sailed just over the
Blas Perez made it 1-0 in the 22nd minute, knocking a loose ball
past goalkeeper Franck Grandel from six yards. Two minutes later,
Luis Tejada beat two defenders in the box and side-footed the ball
into the corner.
Things got worse for Guadeloupe before halftime, when Michael
Tacalfred was shown a straight red card for a foul on
”I was not in a position to see the foul, so I can not give a
judgment,” said Guadeloupe coach Roger Salnot. ”They had more
possession after that because of the red card, but the better team
won. The result was a fair one.”
Panama had a third goal called back in the opening seconds of
the second half, but made it 3-0 on Gabriel Gomez’s penalty kick in
the 57th minute.
The momentum changed quickly after that.
Guadeloupe got on the board in the 63rd when Jovial took
advantage of a poor defensive header on the edge of the box.
Panama’s Jaime Penedo made the initial save, but Jovial scored on
Jovial’s sliding tap-in of Rochard Socrier’s cross made it 3-2
with 18 minutes left, but Panama held on for the victory.
”We lost control of the match a little bit,” Perez said. ”In
the end, the result went to us, but we have to eliminate the
Panama’s Adolfo Machado was taken from the stadium in an
ambulance after suffering an apparent head injury in a collision
late in the game. Dely Valdes said he did not have an update on
Machado’s condition after the game.
The game was the opener of a Group C doubleheader, with the
United States and Canada playing afterward. Both games were played
on a temporary grass field installed at Ford Field for the
”We do not have surfaces like this at home,” Salnot said of
the grass, which had been criticized earlier in the week. ”We were
happy to play on it.”