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Referee Admits Game-Altering Errors in Mexico vs. Panama 2015 Gold Cup Semifinal

Panama's Anibal Godoy (20) approaches referee Mark Geiger, left, as officials rush in to protect him at the conclusion of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer semifinal between Panama and Mexico on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Atlanta. Mexico won 2-1. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman/Associated Press
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2015

Mexico's win over Panama in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal on Wednesday has been shrouded in controversy, stemming from how both teams played to how the match was officiated. 

CONCACAF president Alfredo Hawit has issued a statement regarding the performance of referee Mark Geiger during the match, via EmpireofSoccer.com's Mark Fishkin:

Mexico got a 2-1 victory in the match to set up a Gold Cup final against Jamaica on Sunday, but the way it happened drew the ire of fans and analysts everywhere. 

Panama was reduced to 10 men in the first half after Geiger deemed that Luis Tejada elbowed Francisco Rodriguez. More controversy followed when Geiger later awarded Mexico a penalty in the 89th minute after Roman Torres was adjudged to have handled the ball following an attempted clearance. Mexico won the game after Geiger awarded a second penalty in extra time, which Andres Guardado converted.

Panama Football Federation president Pedro Chaluja said after his country's loss that he wanted FIFA and CONCACAF to look into a possible match-fixing scandal, via ESPNFC.com

"Their president, Hawit, has expressed his support for us," Chaluja said. "It is not just Panama asking for an investigation, it is Costa Rica as well."

Chaluja didn't get the response he wanted from Hawit, who merely declared that human error will occur with referees. 

While there is truth to that, the sport is already walking a tightrope after the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal involving president Sepp Blatter and many of his lieutenants. This certainly is another black cloud that will hover over Sunday's finale. 

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