Gold Cup: Defeated Semi-Finalists Panama Brand CONCACAF ‘Thieves’ After Mexico Benefit From Yet More Dodgy Penalties (Photos & Video)

Chris Wright

23rd, July 2015


By Chris Wright

Having just about squeaked through to the last four of the Gold Cup thanks to a decidedly iffy/convenient 124th-minute penalty decision against Costa Rica in the quarters, Mexico repeated the feat to see off plucky Panama in the semi-finals in Atlanta – and it did not go down well, not one little bit.

Despite being reduced to 10 men after just 25 minutes, Panama managed to haul themselves into a 1-0 lead with 25 minutes of normal time left on the clock.

Mexico huffed and puffed but failed to trouble the Panama goal, right up until the point that American referee Mark Geiger awarded El Tri a ludicrous penalty for handball in the 89th minute when defender Roman Torres accidentally fell on top of the ball…

After roughly 10 minutes of irate protestations from the Panama players (the police eventually had to step in to diffuse the skirmish), Andres Guardado stepped up to slot home the spot-kick and equalise for Mexico in what was by then the 100th minute of ‘normal’ time – though he refused to celebrate as, in his own words, the penalty call had left him with a “bad taste” in his mouth.

However, the fun and frolics weren’t over, good gracious no – as Mexico were duly handed another, slightly less controversial penalty in extra time (the 106th minute to be exact) which Guardardo again tucked away to secure his country the dubious 2-1 victory and a place in the Gold Cup final…

As you can probably guess, the full-time whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos as Panama players abd officials stormed onto the field to remonstrate with the officials.

After the maelstrom died down, the Panama team retreated to the dressing room where the entire team posed for a photo with a hastily-made banner they’d managed to commandeer which accused CONCACAF of being ‘thieves’ and ‘corrupt’ among other things…


With tensions running decidedly high, striker Luis Tejada (the man sent-off in the first half) also went on record as saying that he and his teammates are seriously considering boycotting the Third Place play-off match in protest over the suspect officiating at the Gold Cup.

Back at home, Panamanian newspaper Diario Critica didn’t leave an awful lot to the imagination on their front cover this morning…

Just in case you were wondering, ‘Arbitro’ is the Spanish word for referee.