Panama vs. Mexico: Score and Reaction for World Cup 2018 Qualifying

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2016

Mexico's Raul Jimenez (C) is marked by Panama's Amilcar Henriquez (R) during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match in Panama City on November 15, 2016. / AFP / RODRIGO ARANGUA        (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
RODRIGO ARANGUA/Getty Images

Mexico and Panama played to a 0-0 draw during Tuesday night's CONCACAF World Cup qualifier at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama.

Mexico, coming off a win over the United States on Friday night, looked in fine form. 

The powerhouses, however, were without Carlos Vela, who was in Spain for the birth of his first child, and midfielder Andres Guardado, who was nursing a hamstring injury.

While Panama is an afterthought in CONCACAF qualifying, an opening 1-0 victory over Honduras ensured that it would be level with Mexico on three points entering Tuesday night. 

Still, El Tri were considered the heavy favorites given their No. 17 ranking in the FIFA world rankings. Panama, who has never qualified for a World Cup, is No. 63 in the world. 

To combat Mexico's superior skill on paper, Panama did everything it could to slow the match down. It included playing a physical brand of soccer with plenty of fouls. 

Still, Mexico had numerous chances at Panama's goal, unleashing 15 shots while controlling 72 percent of possession. 

However, just three of those attempts hit the target. They were each turned away by Panama keeper Jaime Penedo.

Mexico is now looking up at Costa Rica in the standings after the Ticos' resounding 4-0 defeat over the United States on Tuesday.

Panama should be delighted with the result, and they perhaps showed other qualifiers a blueprint of how to stymie Mexico. They are in second place in the table with their next match coming against Trinidad and Tobago on March 24.  

      

Stats courtesy of ESPNFC.com

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