Mexico triumphed 1-0 over Panama in the Gold Cup final to win their ninth trophy in the competition, thanks to a late goal from super sub Santiago Gimenez.
Both sides kicked off strong, as the two fought to make history in their own way.
Though El Tri opened up the scoring, the goal was disallowed due to a strange offside call. But Panama wasted no time in taking advance of the call as Orlando Mosquera made a terrific double save to deny El Tri from taking the lead. That moment was the first half in a nut shell: frantic defending at either end of the pitch with chances galore.
After an action-packed first half, both sides somehow remained knotted at 0-0, with everything still to play for in the second 45.
Midway through the second half, referee Hector Martinez showed a second yellow card resulting in a red card to Panama’s Adalberto Carrasquilla after a foul, but then rescinded the card and issued it to Anibal Godoy in what might’ve been a situation of mistaken identity, but there was no clarification or VAR check. And it wouldn’t be the last questionable decision made by Martinez on the night.
Mexico fans will complain about three uncalled penalties and a flurry of uncesserary yellow cards, but in the end, it didn’t matter.
Just four minutes after coming on as a sub, Santiago Gimenez put Mexico in front in the 88th minute with a scuffed shot that just rolled over the line. The goal was enough to see El Tri lift the trophy for the ninth time in their history, while Panama are still searching for their first Gold Cup win.
GK: Guillermo Ochoa – 7/10 – The legendary figure became the most capped El Tri player in the Gold Cup (25 apps.), and made a few good saves on the night.
LB: Jesus Gallardo – 6/10 – Had a quiet game in defense, didn’t get as involved with the attack as Sanchez did.
CB: Johan Vazquez – 6/10 – Didn’t help his side by getting booked 10 minutes in, got better as the game went on.
CB: Cesar Montes – 7/10 – Unlike his center back partner, Montes was composed on the ball and
RB: Jorge Sanchez – 6/10 – Provided plenty of moments in attack, including a possible penalty kick shout that was dismissed by referee Hector Martinez. Was also caught out in defense a few times.
CM: Luis Chavez – 7/10 – Helped jump-start several Mexico attacks and put in a few dangerous crosses.
CM: Edson Alvarez – 7/10 – The highly sought after midfield general had a quiet game, popping up in all parts of the pitch to help recycle play.
CM: Luis Romo – 6/10 – The 28-year-old neither helped or hindered this time around. Though he’s been a staple under Jaime Lozano, he could’ve done more.
LW: Orbelin Pineda – 8/10 – Had several opportunities to either shoot or lay off a pass and made some frustrating decisions but ended up assisting the winning goal.
ST: Henry Martin – 6/10 – Put away the chance on goal that probably should’ve been upheld, was unlucky to not score from close range before half time.
RW: Uriel Antuna – 5/10 – Sent in several good crosses that were wasted in front of goal, but didn’t make the most of his chances in front of the net.
RW: Roberto Alvarado (75′ for Uriel Antuna) – N/A.
CM: Erick Sanchez (75′ for Luis Chavez) – 7/10 – He came to light a fire in the final third. He had a couple of chances, but did well for a substitute.
ST: Santiago Gimenez (84′ for Henry Martin) – 10/10 – Scored just four minutes after coming on to give Mexico their ninth Gold Cup title.
CB: Israel Reyes (90′ for Orbelin Pineda) – N/A.
Jaime Lozano – 9/10 – Picked a strong lineup that worked to a degree, and his decision to bring on Gimenez proved to be a masterstroke.