Panama defeated Martinique by three- goals-to-nothing in one of the last Group B matches played at the FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
The two teams were equally matched in the first twenty minutes, with neither side able to boss the mid-field and use that section of the pitch to feed passes to their strikers upfront.
Panama were slightly the more active side in the first half of the game.
Miguel Carmargo was very active from the left flank, but his few crosses from the flank were dealt with by Martinique’s defenders.
Abdiel Aroyo had two chances to put his side ahead in the first half . In the thirty fourth minute, his intelligent run with the ball at the edge of Panama’s penalty box freed him from the two central halves that were trying to close him down, but his final shot was too weak to trouble goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa. In the dying minutes of the first half,his free header from inside the penalty box missed the goal post narrowly.
The first goal of the match was scored by Michael Murillo. A Martinique’s corner kick was quickly passed to Miguel Carmargo who was positioned outside the penalty; Carmargo crossed the ball into a crowded Panama’s penalty box, and Murrillo sprang up and headed the ball to the far end of the goal post while a helpless Kevin Olimpa stared bemusedly at the ball as it entered the net.
Aroyo wasted a chance to scored Panama’s second goal in the early minutes of the second half when he hit the goal post from inside the penalty box.
The Martinique’s players became very active as the second half resumed, they poured forward in numbers as they search for equalizer, but their open game exposed them to Panaman’s counter-attacking play.
As the game proceeded, Panama grew into it and started to dominated play in the mid-field better than they did in the first half.
Arroyo scored Panama’s second goal in the fifty ninth minute. A Panama’s corner kick was deflected to his path by a Martinique defender and he fired the ball into the net, though the ball took a deflection from a Martinique’s defender as it flew into the goal post .
Torres compensated for his earlier profligacy in front of goal when he scored Panama’s third goal. A pass from Panama’s half found Anibal Godoy, who floated a pass to an onrushing Gabriel Torres inside Martinique’s penalty box : Torres chested the ball forward beating Olimpa in the process and thereafter curled the ball into the net.
Although Martinique were three goals down, they never relented in their effort to reduce the goal deficit. Their efforts almost paid up when two of their players hit the goal post and the crossbar in rapid succession.
Panama defended stoutly in the dying minutes of the game to prevent Martinique from finding the net in their late rally.
Panama now top Group B with seven points from three matches, though they may be displaced from the top of the group if USA win their match against Nicaragua later in the day.