Mexico and Panama each earned a point in the Hexagonal standings as they battled to a scoreless draw in Panama City.
Coming into the matchup, Mexico and Panama sat at No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the standings looking to take a commanding lead by picking up a win. As Brian Sciaretta of The New York Times tweeted, the stadium was packed and the atmosphere was incredible:
The crowd in Panama is intense. It's about as tightly packed a stadium as you could imagine. Panama 0-0 Mexico 22nd minute— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) June 8, 2013
Unfortunately, the home crowd was treated to a match that was low on offense for Panama. They only managed to fire three shots on goal as the majority of the match was played with Mexico threatening.
However, all Mexico could do was threaten. The Panama defense stifled every effort to create good offense, and El Tri didn't capitalize on the few opportunities it did create—only forcing Jaime Penedo to save just four of their 11 shot attempts.
Mexican star Javier Hernandez was once again held scoreless despite multiple opportunities to score. Chicharito's disappointing performance was emblematic of the entire Mexican side, who—as Zac Lee Rigg of Goal.com observed—played great defense but has serious concerns in the goal-scoring department.
Mexico ties 0-0 with Panama. El Tri has kept four clean sheets in five Hexagonal matches. Only scored three in those games.— Zac Lee Rigg (@zacrigg) June 8, 2013
As Paul Carr of ESPN pointed out, the disappointing result for both sides preserved two impressive streaks.
Mexico has still never lost to Panama (5-0-4). Panama is still undefeated in 9 straight home qualifiers (6-0-3).— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) June 8, 2013
Javier Hernandez, Mexico: C-
Chicharito is often hailed as an international star, but he's going to lose that status soon if he doesn't pick things up for El Tri.
He was given four opportunities in the box against Panama and was unable to finish any of them. Mexico can get by in qualifying without him playing like a superstar, but if this is an indication of how he's going to play in the World Cup, Mexico's chances are slim.
Giovani dos Santos, Mexico: B
The El Tri offense has looked poor in its last few outings, and the return of Giovani dos Santos to the starting lineup was expected to help out in that area.
He wasn't outstanding, but he put in a solid effort here. He created two shots for himself and set up Javier Hernandez with a beautiful cross that Chicharito was unable to finish.
The fact he was pulled from the game at the 68-minute mark prevented his grade from being any higher, but he was one of the few bright spots for the El Tri attack.
Jaime Penedo, Panama: A-
The Panama back line made life easy for Penedo most of the evening, but there's still something to be said for keeping a clean sheet against Chicharito and El Tri. They weren't playing at their best, but Penedo made four saves overall, and two of them could be considered highlight-reel worthy.
Penedo's athleticism in the net was on full display in this one.
|Javier Hernandez (off 80')||C-|
|Jesús Jesús Zavala||C-|
|Javier Aquino Carmona (off 73')||B|
|Giovani Dos Santos (off 68')||B|
|Jose de Jesus Corona||A-|
|Angel Reyna Martinez||C|
|Luis Tejada (off 79')||C|
|Blas Perez (off 71')||D+|
|Marcos Anibal Sanchez Mullins||C-|
|Gabriel Enrique Gomez (off 58')||C-|
Panama attempt to pick up a big win against the United States in another World Cup qualifier on June 11.
Mexico will try to get the offense back on track against Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier, also on June 11.