DENVER (AP) — Panama missed a chance to finish group play with a perfect record, tying winless 0-0 Sunday in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Panama (2-0-1, Group A) had already secured a berth in the quarterfinals with wins over Mexico and Martinique. Panama’s Gabriel Torres, who had three goals in the victories, rested against Canada.
”We had opportunities. We just didn’t make goals,” Panama coach Julio Dely Valdes said. ”I’m very happy with it. It has given us confidence so we can count on the players on the field in upcoming games.”
Canada was eliminated after failing to score a goal in any of its three games, finishing 0-2-1.
”We have to be more realistic in our expectations,” Canada coach Colin Miller said. ”We qualified for the World Cup in 1986, I was part of that squad, and those guys were seasoned pros in many, many ways. The problem that Canada has, and you saw it again today, is in the attacking third. We’re almost running out of ideas when we get into the attacking third while other countries tend to look dangerous.”
Panama had several solid scoring chances.
Marcos Sanchez took a shot from 12 yards out in the opening minutes but his kick sailed high and wide of the net.
At the 48-minute mark, Panama’s Jairo Jimenez fired a kick from about 30 yards away that was heading straight for the net before goalie Milan Borjan made a leaping save, deflecting the ball above the crossbar.
Jimenez had another opportunity in the late going but his kick sailed over the net.
”We played these three games with a lot of desire,” Panama captain Blas Perez said. ”We’ve got a lot of motivation and we’ll see what happens coming up in the quarterfinals.”
Canada was hit by injuries to several key players, leading the team to feature a more youthful roster during the tournament.
”I know this is a results business but where we’re at in terms of the redevelopment phase we’re in, we’ve had pretty nice successes,” Miller said. ”We’ve given our players opportunities that they may not have had with their clubs.”