The selection of Mexico won this Sunday the gold Cup in a close final played in the American city of Los Angeles with Panama, which in the blink of an eye of its defense fell 1-0 with a goal in the 88th minute of santi gimenez. The striker came on as a replacement and had only been on the field for three minutes when he became Mexico’s hero thanks to a great goal.
Giménez held the ball in the center of the field under pressure from Harold Cummings, cut it back with a skilful movement and headed straight for the Panamanian goal with a cross shot with his left foot. Mexico, which lost the title match against the United States in 2021, today regained the Concacaf throne and added its ninth Gold Cup since the format was changed. On the other hand, Panama, which had signed a fantastic tournament, was once again just one step away from glory since it has lost the three Gold Cup finals it has played (2005, 2013 and 2023).
In a SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles with a great atmosphere, full of green Mexican jerseys and in front of a total of 72,963 spectators, El Tri completed its resurrection after the failure in June of the League of Nations, which ended with the dismissal of Diego Cocca, and today he lifted the Gold Cup with his interim coach Jaime Lozano.
Thomas Christiansen bet on the same Panamanian eleven that eliminated the US in the semifinals while Lozano only made one change in Mexico compared to his cross with Jamaica and gave the axis of midfield to Édson Álvarez instead of Erick Sánchez . In a first part of alternating dominance and alternatives, opportunities abounded for both teams, although without a prize in the face of goal.
Mexico took the ball at the start but in minute 2 got a huge scare when Adalberto Carrasquilla, with a three-finger pass, left Ismael Díaz alone against ‘Memo’ Ochoa but César Montes prevented the Panamanian goal. The Canal team seemed to have more spark in attack and the Mexican team did not have its first approach of interest until the 19th, when Uriel Antuna wasted a good situation with a weak shot.
Henry Martín did succeed in sending the ball into the net after a wonderful triangulation by Mexico at minute 33, but the referee annulled the goal for offside at the start of the play. El Tri, despite this disappointment, continued to harass the rival area and would have gone into the break with a goal on their scoreboard if it hadn’t been for a magnificent intervention by Orlando Mosquera, who frustrated two straight shots by Orbelín Pineda and Martín in the clearer occasion before the break.
However, Panama also came close to scoring in added time as Aníbal Godoy caught a rebound on the front end and his left-footed shot passed inches from Ochoa’s right post. The exchange of sterile occasions in the restart: Alberto Quintero took the floor for Panama, with a crossed header that went wide; and for Mexico, Álvarez raised his voice, who could not finish off a service from Martín by very little.
Harold Cummings, with yellow from the first half, was about to leave Panama with ten after seeing the second card for a foul on Pineda but the VAR saved him from expulsion. The minutes passed without the marker moving and the nerves grew before an extension that was already looming on the horizon. Pineda for Mexico or Díaz for Panama cherished the winning goal for their teams, but in the end it was Giménez, with a masterful action for El Tri, who ended up being the hero of the final.
1 – Mexico: Ochoa; Jorge Sanchez, Montes, Vasquez, Gallardo; Romo, Álvarez, Chávez (Erick Sánchez, m.75); Antuna (Alvarado, m.75), Martín (Giménez, m.84) and Pineda (Reyes, m.92)
Coach: Jaime Lozano
0 – Panama: Mosquera; Bárcenas, Cummings (Londoño, m.91), Escobar, Andrade, Davis (Anderson, m.61); Quintero (Waterman, m.61), Carrasquilla, Godoy, Díaz; fajardo
Coach: Thomas Christiansen
Goal: 1-0, Santi Giménez (d. 88)
Referee: Said Martinez (Honduras). He admonished Vásquez, Montes, Gallardo and Álvarez in Mexico and Cummings, Carrasquilla, Godoy and Mosquera in Panama
Incidents: Final of the Gold Cup played at the Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles before 72,963 spectators