Panama move into semis
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Panama's head coach, Leonardo Pipino, said while his team won their fourth straight game in the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship with a battling 1-0 victory over nine-man Trinidad and Tobago yesterday, they still have some work to do before they start celebrating.
Yesterday's win makes them the first team to advance to the semi-finals and continued their surprisingly solid run for a fourth successive win. Panama could be joined by Guatemala, who stopped Aruba 2-0 in the second game of the evening. The two countries will meet in a top-of-the-table clash next to see who will top the group.
Pipino told reporters that confidence was high after watching his team take care of business against the Trinidadians but lamented the way his team went about the game.
"The mood in the camp is a happy one, but we still see the glass as being half empty; we just played badly today although we won," Pipino said.
"We have to pay attention to the next game against Guatemala. We didn't win the match the way we wanted to as Trinidad had bodies behind the ball which didn't allow us to be as creative with the ball as we would have liked, but the next game will be very important," reasoned Pipino.
Goals from Carlos Estrada Santos in the 43rd minute and a 60th minute strike from Kevin Milian took Guatemala past Aruba and kept them second in Group A behind the Panamanians.
The win lifted Panama to 12 points and maintained their perfect record, while Trinidad & Tobago remained on four points, with one preliminary game to be played.
Trinidad & Tobago ended the game with nine men, after Honduran referee Armando Castro issued a second caution to Kadeem Corbin in the 23rd minute, an automatic red card, and a straight red card to Akeem Humphrey in the 70th minute, following an elbowing incident.
Panama had the bulk of possession, and with it the lion's share of attempts on goal 14, while Trinidad accounted for just three.
Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper, Johan Welch, could be blamed for the goal, after Michael Murillo's shot squeezed under his body and into the goal.
Their coach, Derek King, said: "These were poor red cards from the referee, and I am very disappointed with the way he officiated the game."