Panama, US advance to Gold Cup quarter finals

Panama and the United States advanced to the Gold Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday as the top-two finishers from Group C.

Updated: June 15, 2011 12:38 IST
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Kansas: Panama and the United States advanced to the Gold Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday as the top-two finishers from Group C.

Luis Tejada scored an equalizer in the first minute of stoppage as Panama escaped with a 1-1 draw against Canada to top the group, while Jozy Altidore scored in the ninth minute as United States edged Guadeloupe 1-0.

Panama finished the group stage with seven points, one ahead of the United States and three clear of Canada, which was eliminated after the U.S. win. Guadeloupe, a surprise semifinalist four years ago, was winless in three games.

"Our goal before the start of this tournament was to come out on top of our group," Panama coach Julio Dely Valdes said. "Now that we have done that, our goal is to go as far as possible in the Gold Cup and essentially win the whole thing."

Dwayne De Rosario converted a penalty in the 62nd minute for Canada, which would have secured a quarterfinal berth had it been able to hold on for the victory.

Panama, which played back and counterattacked for the first 60 minutes, turned up the pressure late in the match and missed several good chances before finally forcing the draw.

Tejada's goal, from a scramble in front of goal, was originally credited to Blas Perez, but regional governing body CONCACAF later amended the scoresheet.

"I don't think we did a good enough job of keeping the ball and making them work to get it," Canada coach Stephen Hart said. "They were throwing numbers forward and we just couldn't get a hold of the ball for any period of time. Unfortunately, what happened, happened."

The United States needed only a draw to advance after Panama-Canada draw, but that didn't stop Altidore scoring his second goal of the tournament with a 25-yard strike.

"I was just able to get a little space," Altidore said. "It was a good goal."

The U.S. had several chances to extend the lead, but was unable to convert any of them.

Clint Dempsey had the best opportunity from close range in the 76th minute, but Julien Ictoi took advantage of Dempsey's momentary hesitation and managed to pass safely to Guadeloupe goalkeeper Franck Grandel.

"This was a game where at the end, we certainly feel we should have finished (off) the game earlier," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "We had good chances to get that second goal. Still, there were positives and now we get ready to move forward."

The tiny island of Guadeloupe is a French possession in the Caribbean and not a member of FIFA, making it ineligible to take part in World Cup qualification.

"We cannot keep playing that way and not have something to look forward to," said midfielder Stephane Auvray, who plays for Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer. "It's frustrating because now we have to go home and in two years start up with the same problems we have now."

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