Panama lashed out at CONCACAF on Wednesday following their controversial exit from the 2015 Gold Cup at the hands of Mexico.
Having been reduced to 10 players in the first half, Panama found themselves leading their semi-final 1-0 in the 89th minute only for American referee Mark Geiger to point to the spot for a supposed handball foul committed by captain and goal-scorer Roman Torres.
Mexico captain Andres Guardado converted the penalty – and another in extra time – as they triumphed 2-1 in Atlanta and eliminated Panama from the tournament, prompting Hernan Dario Gomez’s Panamanians to pose with a banner labelling CONCACAF “corrupt thieves” and post the photo on social media.
Panama defender Adolfo Machado said CONCACAF got exactly “what they wanted” and can now celebrate.
“Now play the final and… CONCACAF fill their pockets,” he said following the match.
Replays suggested Torres’ side made contact with the ball as he fell in the box, and any contact with his arm was incidental.
But despite Panama’s lengthy protestations – it took over 10 minutes for Gomez’s men to return to their positions – Geiger did not budge, with Guardado slotting his spot-kick even though he had his own concerns about the decision.
“I didn’t celebrate, because that penalty call left me with a bad taste,” Guardado told Fox Sports 2.
When asked after the match whether he considered deliberately missing the penalty, Guardado – according to CBS Sports – said: “I thought about it, but one has to be professional.
“We’ve been on the other side.”
Panama coach Gomez praised Mexico but called the loss “a robbery.”
Mexico will face Jamaica in the Gold Cup final on Sunday, while Panama are set to play United States in the third-place play-off on Saturday.
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