In the first quarter-final of the 2013 Gold Cup, we saw a shock lead turn into a horrendous beating; Cuba’s 1-0 lead was overturned into a 2-1 deficit in the first half … but ended in a 6-1 mauling for Panama.
From the beginning till the end, Panama defended, maintained and attacked as an entire unit. They played with a mixture of South American and European soccer and it earned them the glorious victory. Cuba scored one goal, but besides that, they were simply outmatched by their opponents.
Juan Quintero, Gabriel Torres and Blas Perez were the true stars of this game. Their attacking mindset and skills carried them throughout in the final third against a Cuban side who could simply find no answer. Now, they face a Mexican side in the semis which will be a rematch of the first game these two sides played in this tournament just two weeks or so ago.
Panama defeated Mexico for the first time in their history in a game that ended 2-1 to open the group stage. Now, both sides are one win away from the finals … which means there is much more on the line this time around.
Panama are playing better soccer now than they were in the beginning but Mexico is doing the same. Both teams have defenders, midfielders and strikers that can get the job done on a game-by-game basis. However, with these two sides both playing good soccer, anything can happen.
Raul Jimenez and Marco Fabian will lead the charge for El Tri while Blas Perez and Gabriel Torres will do the same for Panama. This will be a battle of the strikers as they have been winning games for their respective countries up till date.
Prediction: Mexico 2, Panama 1 — the Mexicans will play their very best soccer, slightly dominate and win the game not only to avenge their group stage loss but to earn a spot in the much anticipated rematch of the 2011 final against the United States if they are to get through.
Stay tuned folks; this should be a good one.