Panama are through to the quarter-finals of the Gold Cup following their 1-0 win over Martinique.
Their group A rivals, Mexico, have also taken a step closer to the next round after they bounced back from an opening-game loss to beat Canada 2-0.
Panama lead the group with six points going into Sunday’s game against the-now-eliminated Canada.
Gabriel Torres buried a penalty in the 85th minute for Panama.
Panama coach Julio Dely Valdez said it was just the result they wanted.
“It was a really complicated match, but we knew we were going to face a good team,” Valdez said.
“Looking at the game, we had a certain superiority. Maybe it wasn’t that big, but it was a certain superiority.”
Mexico more confident
Torres, who had three dangerous shots saved from the run of play by goalkeeper Emmanuel Vermignon, made good on his try from the spot, sending the ball to the back left corner. The penalty was given when Jairo Jimenez was taken down in the box by Sebastien Cretinoir.
Martinique finished the game a man down when Jacky Berdix was sent off early in the 73rd minute with his second yellow card of the night.
In the other Gold Cup clash, Mexico’s Raul Jimenez scored from a corner kick late in the first half, and Marco Fabian converted a penalty early in the second as Mexico, which lost 2-1 to Panama on Sunday, climbed back into contention heading into Sunday’s Group A finale against Martinique in Denver. Both teams have three points each.
Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said that the team had improved on many fronts, and it operated better.
“(Canada) was putting a lot of pressure in many different places of the pitch. But the team managed to get a result and convert opportunities into goals. That creates more confidence and less pressure,” he said.
Mexico now sit second in group A, tied on three points with Martinique, who they face in their final group match on Monday.