For about 10 minutes on Tuesday night in Philadelphia it seemed as if Panama might be living a dream come true. When Miguel Camargo scored in the fifth minute to give Panama a 1-0 lead over Chile in their final group stage game, the idea of Panama advancing from a group that included Argentina and Chile become oh-so-real. Then, in a matter of minutes, just as it did at the end of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, it all came crashing down for the Panamanians. A 4-2 loss saw Panama fall just short of a dream Copa America run.
Chile Dash Glimmer of Panamanian Hope
With Felipe Baloy, Anibal Godoy, Blas Perez, and Armando Cooper all suspended for the game, Panama faced a tough task needing a win over Chile to advance out of Group D in the Copa America Centenario. That said, Chile had not been impressive so far in the tournament, giving Panama a glimmer of hope. A glimmer that grew to real hope in the fifth minute, only to turn into the heartbreak Panama is becoming all too familiar with.
Despite the early lead, a result for Panama always seemed unlikely in this match. Needing a victory because of their poor goal differential, Panama really needed to press the attack more than they did. Panama attempted just three shots in the first half, their first being Camargo’s blast in the fifth minute. Even in the first five minutes, Chile controlled the game, with 77 percent of possession. In the five minutes following the goal, Panama seemed uninterested in actually touching the ball, holding only 17 percent of possession
There was another brief glimmer of hope for Panama in the 75th minute, when Abdiel Arroyo found the back of the net to bring Panama within one, but it was too little too late. Needing a win, Panama enjoyed their best spells of possession and attacking chances, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the abundance of talent Chile possessed.
Eduardo Vargas, the leading scorer in Copa America 2015, scored a brace for Chile, and Alexis Sanchez scored a screamer of a volley to put Chile up 3-1 before Panama’s late consolation goal.
Chile advances to face Mexico on Saturday night in the quarterfinal round of Copa America.