TORONTO, Sporting Alert – Captain Andres Guardado twice scored from the penalty spot to lift Mexico to a 2-1 victory over 10-man Panama in the second semi-final at the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Wednesday night.
After going behind in the 57th minute when Roman Torres found the back of the net for Panama, the Mexicans grabbed an equaliser from yet another controversial penalty decision before finding the winner in the first half of extra-time.
Panama suffered a major setback in the game when attacker Luis Tejada was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Geiger for a poor foul on Francisco Rodriguez after he struck the defender in his face as they both went up for a ball.
Roman Torres Scores Opening Goal
Despite being down a man, the Central Americans grabbed the lead in the 57th minute when Roman Torres vault high to guide home a corner kick, much to the delight of his coach Hernan Gomez and his teammates.
But El Tri found a way back into the game when referee Geiger award a penalty to the North American giants – indicating that Torres handled the ball during a scuffle on the ground with only two minutes left in regulation.
Guardado Scores Equaliser For Mexico
The call looked questionable, but after a 15-minute delay due to protesting from the Panamanian players, Guardado kept his cool to put away the spot kick from 12-yards to send the game into extra-time.
That tying goal knocked the stuffing out of Gomez’s side, which they never quite recovered from, and the Mexicans press home the advantage by scoring another penalty kick just before the end of the first half in extra-time.
Guardado made no mistake again – sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 2-1.
Guardado Puts Mexico Ahead 2-1
The captain had a chance to complete his hat-trick and grab a third for his team late in the second half of extra-time, but he failed to beat the goalkeeper with a low shot.
With the win, Mexico advanced to the Gold Cup final and will now take on Caribbean champs Jamaica, after the Reggae Boyz stunned defending champions United States 2-1 in the first semi-final.