Jaime Penedo was the hero for Panama as they beat Trinidad and Tobago 6-5 on penalties in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals following a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time.
Penedo saved Lester Peltier’s spot-kick in the ninth round of penalties at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday to book the 2013 finalists’ place in the semi-finals.
Some dreadful defending from Trinidad handed Panama the lead in the 36th minute as Luis Tejada found the net from close range.
But Panama could not hold onto their advantage, and Trinidad equalised eight minutes after half-time when Kenwyne Jones glanced home from a set-piece.
Extra time could not separate the pair and they remained deadlocked in the shoot-out, although Daneil Cyrus missed for Trinidad with victory in his grasp following Alberto Quintero’s failed attempt.
Peltier’s nerve then cracked, Penedo diving to his left to keep out the spot-kick and send Panama through to the last four, where they will face Mexico or Costa Rica.
Jones spurned the first real chance of the game in the 24th minute as he met a long throw with a header narrowly over the crossbar.
Panama had rarely threatened but were gifted the lead nine minutes before half-time thanks to a defensive mix-up from Trinidad.
Radanfah Abu Bakr and Sheldon Bateau both failed to clear their lines from a cross, with the latter’s mistake presenting Tejada with the opportunity to poke the ball beyond goalkeeper Marvin Phillip from 10 yards out.
Blas Perez then forced Phillip into a save at the near post as Panama pushed for a second, before suffering a blow as midfielder Gabriel Gomez was forced off with an injury and replaced Adolfo Machado.
Jones then wasted a glorious opportunity to level matters when he turned a far-post cross from the right wide of the goal in first-half injury time.
But Jones atoned for that miss in the 53rd minute by netting his second goal in as many games to restore parity.
The Cardiff City forward made no mistake as he nodded home from Khaleem Hyland’s expertly placed left-wing free-kick.
A decisive goal in 90 minutes rarely looked like arriving, although undoubtedly the best chance to settle the game fell to Perez, who somehow sent his half-volley past the post from Eric Davis’ left-wing delivery with the goal at his mercy late on.
Both sides struggled looked increasingly fatigued in the extra 30 minutes, yet Panama kept the pressure on and would have taken the lead had Phillip not turned Quintero’s powerful effort over, with Armando Cooper’s effort deflected wide from the resulting corner.
Andre Boucaud curled just over in the 114th minute for Trinidad, before an energy-sapping contest was finally ended in the shoot-out thanks to Penedo’s show of heroics.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!