Panama qualify for Gold Cup quarters

GLENDALE - Panama booked the last spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals against the United States with a 4-0 victory over Nicaragua in Group C on Sunday. Mexico take top spot in the group after a 2-0 win over a Guadeloupe side who ended the game with nine men. The Mexicans will face Haiti in the last eight. Both teams went into the game having already qualified and only top spot in the group at stake - Guadeloupe finish second and will face Costa Rica in the quarter-finals. The other game in the last eight of the tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean features Canada against Honduras. Panama, the Central America champions, had no trouble against a Nicaragua side who had to play the entire second half down to 10 men after Franklin Lopez was sent off for kicking Gabriel Gomez just before the break. Panama were 1-0 up at the interval after Blas Perez slotted home in the 35th minute after some poor Nicaraguan defending. Gabriel Gomez made it 2-0 in the 56th minute before Luis Tejada scored twice to complete the rout. In the late game, Mexico took the lead through a superb strike from Gerardo Torrado three minutes before the break, the midfielder taking the ball down on his thigh before blasting home from more than 20 metres out. Guadeloupe, who do not feature in World Cup competition as they are not a member of FIFA, went down to 10 men after Alain Vertot was sent off for a second yellow card in the 72nd minute. Ludovic Gotin was dismissed shortly after for a studs-up challenge. Miguel Sabah thundered in a header from a corner five minutes from the end to ensure victory for the Mexicans, who were without the leadership of manager Javier Aguirre. Aguirre clashed with Panama midfielder Ricardo Phillips in their 1-1 draw on July 9 and given a three-match suspension.


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