ATLANTA – This is not the first controversial game involving Mexico in this Gold Cup. Just a few days ago when they played against Costa Rica, there was another dubious penalty kick in favor of Mexico in extra time. This time, the victims were Panama, who were playing almost the entire game with only 10 men and were winning the game by 1-0 until the 89th minute of the match.
This was a very physical game. First, when Meixcan Carlos Vela aggressively elbowed Panamanian Anibal Godoy’s on the stomach, the referee Mark Geiger gave him a “warning” yellow card. In the 25th minute when Panamanian forward Luis Tejada made contact with Mexican Francisco Rodriguez’s face, the American referee issued a straight red card to Tejada.
Even though Panama was playing with one man down, they were still able to create chances up top and score the first goal of the match in the 57th minute with a header from Roman Torres after a cross from Eric Davis.
While they were celebrating the goal, the Mexican crowd threw debris and liquid at the Panamanian players.
As Mexico started sending players up top to get their goal, they were awarded a controversial penalty kick in the 89th minute of the match. Panamanian Torres fell down backwards touching the ball in the box, and according to the referee it was a handball.
This caused so much anger in the Panamanian players and coaching staff bringing chaos to the match during about 10 minutes. The Panamanian players even walked off from the field, but later got back to continue game, as Andres Guardado scored the PK for Mexico taking the game to extra time.
In the 103rd minute of extra time, another controversial situation happened where Panamanian Harold Cummings collided into Mexican Javier Orozco. As the replay shows, Carlos Vela who passed it to Orozco was offside, but the referee still rewarded Mexico the second penalty kick. Once again, Guardado took the shot and scored the Mexican wining-goal.
Now Mexico will play the Gold Cup final against Jamaica, as the Reggae Boyz beat the United States by 2-1. As far as third place, since the Panamanians were so furious about this game which they thought there were cheated, they might not even play for the third place as a form of protest.