Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez expressed his frustration following his side's controversial 2-1 Gold Cup semifinal loss to CONCACAF giants Mexico, going so far as to hint about retiring from coaching.
Andres Guardado scored two goals on penalty kicks, including the tiebreaker in extra-time, and six-time champion Mexico beat the short-handed Central American side at the Georgia Dome. Panama's Roman Torres scored on a header early in the second half, and the 1-0 lead held until Guardado's penalty kick in stoppage time. The penalty kick, awarded by referee Mark Geiger which followed a 10-minute delay as tempers flared, set up extra-time.
"Logically I hope that all the press understands that what I am experiencing right now is difficult and hard," Gomez admitted after the loss. "The press, more than us, are aware that things did not function well, in the legal way. Panama made an outstanding effort, with ten men."
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Gomez added: "I have been managing teams since 1987, and this is the first time that I experience this. With a team well worked, with athletes desiring to give their country another Gold Cup final, with a press that has accompanied and helped us out. If it was up to me, I could say 'I do not want to continue in soccer anymore.' Because that was horrible, it was an utter robbery."
Panama was denied its second straight final. It lost to the U.S. in the 2013 final after beating Mexico in the semifinals.
"There were two great teams on the pitch tonight, each team exhibiting good styles," said Gomez. "The Mexican players or the team have nothing to do with what happened. You cannot damage a final like this. When you put a team with 10 players against a team with 11 players, it hurts the game.
"However, I value more the capacity of the Panamanian players, for they played a tactical game against an immense rival with good possession of the ball that is Mexico. And Panama held its ground, and at times it was able to attack, and then we are up 1-0. And then on minute 88 the penalty happened; you cannot determine a final in that manner. It damages the tournament, the final loses, it loses the spectacle and beauty."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.