The underdog duo of Martinique and Panama shocked Canada and Mexico respectively to gain three points and top Group A on the opening day of the Gold Cup. Will Burns reviews the action below.
CANADA 0-1 MARTINIQUE
The oldest outfield player in the tournament, Fabrice Reuperné, aged 37, scored a screamer in the last kick of the match for Martinique to defeat Canada by the single goal. The loss for the Canadians means a possible elimination from the tournament with tough games against Panama and Mexico to come.
The unfavoured Martinique were ecstatic on the final whistle and they fully deserved the points, having outplayed Canada at times. Canada failed to make chances, but Martinique failed to finish the ones they created. Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who plys his trade in Turkey for Sivasspor, was the much busier of the two keepers, and he kept his side in the game until the stoppage time goal.
The star of the show for Martinique was Kévin Parsemain, he was involved in many of the attacks but the strikers in front of him, including Portland Timbers striker Frédéric Piquionne failed to get past Borjan in goal, and Martinique grew frustrated at their inability to put the ball in the net
In the last kick of the game, substitute Reuperné hit a complete rocket from 25 yards, scorching the net and Borjan was finally beaten. This earned Martinique, a team that is not even recognized as an official member of FIFA, the deserved three points.
MEXICO 1-2 PANAMA
Panama’s Gabriel Torres grabbed two goals to sink the Mexicans to a defeat in the first game, and to be the early leader in the Golden Boot competition.
Just five minutes in we had our first goal, the tricky Alberto Quintero, who troubled Mexico throughout, was tripped in the box by Mexican striker Raúl Jiménez. Gabriel Torres slotted home the spot-kick past goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco to give the Panamanians the lead and silence the Mexican contingency inside the Rose Bowl.
In added time at the end of the first-half, the Mexicans pulled level with a well taken goal from Marco Fabián. A lovely lofted ball into the box from Israel Jiménez put Fabián through on goal, the C.D. Guadalajara striker got past defender Leonel Parris to finish superbly past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Within three minutes of the restart, Torres grabbed his second for Panama to shellshock the Mexican defence. It was Quintero again involved, whipped in a devilish low cross from the left wing and Torres was rushing in at the near post to flick the ball past Orozco.
Mexico pressed but was unable to find an goal to earn a point, they will look for their first points on Friday when they meet Canada, while Panama face Martinique.
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