Raul Jimenez, Edson Alvarez Lead Mexico Past Panama in CONCACAF Nations League

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 16, 2019

Panama's Edgar Barcenas, center, fights for the ball against Mexico's Erick Gutierrez, left, and Edson Alvarez during a CONCACAF Nations League soccer match at the Rommel Fernandez stadium in Panama City, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press

For the second time in four weeks, Mexico got the best of Panama. El Tri prevailed 3-0 in a 2019 CONCACAF Nations League matchup in Panama City on Friday night.

Raul Jimenez was the star with two goals, including one on a penalty kick. He also assisted on Edson Alvarez's second-half strike.

El Tri has dominated Group B with a 3-0 record and secured a spot in the semifinals thanks to this win. It is the only team in the group with a positive goal differential (plus-9) and has one game remaining against Bermuda.

The three goals in a road game also marked the end of an 81-year drought against Panama for the Mexican team:

In addition to its Nations League semifinals appearance, Mexico qualified for the 2021 Gold Cup, where it will look to defend its title:

In the first matchup against Panama, Mexico secured a 3-1 victory. The only blemish was an own goal by Carlos Salcedo that tied the score late in the first half.

Mexico seemed poised to cruise to an easy win Friday when Jimenez fired the ball past Jose Calderon for a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute:

This was a different type of game for the Mexican squad, which had relied on an aggressive, attacking offense. It ran over Bermuda 5-1 in an Oct. 11 opener.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and the defense were dominant Friday. Panama managed only three shots on goal and controlled the ball just 38 percent of the time.

Los Canaleros' best scoring opportunity came in the 25th minute when Gabriel Torres broke through and had a clear shot at goal, but his attempt went right into the hands of Ochoa.

ESPN FC's Tom Marshall noted the first half was particularly physical with Panama finding success in aerial duels:

Midway through the second half, Alvarez created breathing room:

Jimenez put the icing on the cake in the 85th minute by blasting a penalty by Calderon:

This has been a perfect tournament for Mexico. El Tri has yet to be tested, which is allowing Gerardo Martino to continue developing younger stars like Alvarez and Uriel Antuna.

The next phase of Nations League competition is set for June.

   

What's Next?

Mexico will host Bermuda at Estadio Nemesio Diez on Tuesday.

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