Panama have stunned nine-time CONCACAF Gold Cup champions Mexico 2-1 on the opening day of the continental football tournament.
In a day of surprise results, Panama striker Gabriel Torres scored twice to lead his nation past Mexico, while tiny Caribbean island Martinique upset Canada 1-0.
Panama had never beaten Mexico heading into Sunday’s game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, USA, but got off to a great start against the reigning champions when Torres gave them the lead in the ninth minute.
Mexico’s Raul Jimenez brought down Alberto Quintero in the box and Torres converted from the spot.
In first-half stoppage time, Mexico drew level with Marco Fabian heading Israel Jimenez’s cross into the net but Torres put Panama in front three minutes after the break, scoring the decisive goal when he flicked the ball home at the near post from Quintero’s cross.
Mexico’s best chance of an equaliser came from a corner with six minutes remaining but Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made an impressive stop down low to deny Fabian’s strong header.
The victory took Panama to the top of the standings in Group A with Martinique claiming second position.
Martinique is not even a member of FIFA but the French overseas region showed plenty of attacking intent against Canada, who are ranked 64th in the world and seventh in CONCACAF.
In the opening match of Sunday’s double-header at the Rose Bowl, Martinique took 27 shots to Canada’s eight but the tiny Caribbean island had to wait until the third minute of second-half stoppage time to break down the Canada defence.
Canada cleared the ball from their penalty area and it fell to substitute Fabrice Reuperne, who unleashed a volley from 25 metres, which rocketed into the top corner of the net.
Reuperne’s goal secured Martinique’s second ever win at the Gold Cup.
The Caribbean island with a population of just over 400,000 also defeated Trinidad and Tobago in 2002 when they reached the quarter-finals.
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