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Mexico defeats Panama and wins the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup

Mexico wins their ninth Gold Cup title by beating Panama by a 1-0 score.


Mexico battled to a 1-0 win over Panama in the 2023 Gold Cup Final, giving Mexico their ninth Gold Cup title and making them current CONCACAF Champions. Mexico had a very hard battle against a Panamanian side that had a great plan, but Mexico was able to fight and get a late goal that gave Mexico the well deserved title. Interim coach Jaime Lozano won a continental title after being put in charge just a week before the tournament started, coming in on the heels of a disastrous Nations League that ended the short tenure of Diego Cocca. Mexico ends a summer that started terribly on a positive note, with their first title since 2019 when they won the Gold Cup under Gerardo “Tata” Martino.

The first half started with the return of Edson Alvarez to the starting lineup as Erick Sanchez returned to the bench. A minute in, Panama surprised everyone when a great pass from Adalberto Carrasquilla allowed Ismael Diaz to get a possible one-on-one, but he tripped on the ball which allowed Cesar Montes to get back and clear it away, saving Mexico and having Panama waste and incredible chance. Mexico then started to gain possession as Panama sat well defensively and tried to counter. After a shot got deflected, Edgar Barcenas got off a left footed shot that was saved well by Mexico’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa. A great pass from from Orbelin Pineda then allowed Uriel Antuna to get to the area with a possible one-on-one, but his shot went straight to Panama’s goalkeeper, Orlando Mosquera. After making a good run Jorge Sanchez got into the area and looked like he was tripped, but nothing was given and replays showed it was the correct call. It was a very even match to this point, but Mexico had slightly more of the possession. Off of a good run, Luis Romo got a great pass into the area that Henry Martin volleyed with a left footed shot that went in, scoring a goal. Unfortunately for Mexico however, the referee went to VAR and ruled that at the start of the play, Martin had been offside and the goal was disallowed. A cross into the area saw Romo take a shot that was deflected and had Barcena making a miraculous bicycle kick to clear the ball before Pineda had an opportunity for a short range chance. A cross into the area by Romo found Pineda, who got off a great right footed shot that Mosquera brilliantly saved. The rebound fell to Martin, who from short range had his shot also saved by Mosquera. Replays showed that Fidel Escobar had dived and fouled Martin after the shot and should have gotten a penalty kick but nothing was given. After Chavez lost a ball, Panama gained it near the area and got off a cross that was blocked into the path of Anibal Godoy, whose left footed shot went just wide. The halftime whistle blew, and Mexico had been closer to scoring and was the better team but Panama had done a good defensive job and had also had some opportunities of their own.

The second half started with neither team making a substitution. A cross into the area found a wide open Alberto Quintero, but his header went wide in a bad miss for Panama. A cross into the area by Antuna found Martin, who headed the ball to Alvarez, who had a good chance before a Panamanian defender cleared the ball off of his feet. Later, a cross into the area almost got deflected by Godoy into his own net. Panama subbed out Alberto Quintero and Eric Davis for Ivan Anderson and Cecilio Waterman. After a sliding tackle, Harold Cumming got his second yellow card and thus a red card. Replays showed he barely touched Pineda, who had fallen down and incredibly after going to VAR, the referee changed the yellow card and gave it to Godoy instead, in a terrible mistake from the referee. Later, Martin got the ball in the area and hit a right footed shot that was easily saved by Mosquera. Then a cross by Pineda was headed by Antuna right to Mosquera. A pass into the area found Anderson, who got on a one-on-one, but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Ochoa. The rebound fell to Anderson, who got off a cross that turned into a shot but Ochoa saved it again. It was a good play from Ochoa, and it was also ruled to have been offside. Mexico subbed out Uriel Antuna and Luis Chavez for Roberto Alvarado and Erick Sanchez. After a ball bounced in the area, Diaz had a good half volley but it went well wide. Then a good run had Erick Sanchez taking a shot that went wide. Mexico subbed out Henry Martin for Santiago Gimenez. Barcenas then hit a shot from outside the area that went wide. Anderson got into the area and hit a great cross that Alvarez saved from getting to Waterman. Not only was it a good save but it started a great counter. Pineda wound up getting the ball, and got the pass to Santiago Gimenez, who from midfield got past Cummings and made a run into the area. Gimenez got off a great low left-footed shot past Mosquera, scoring the goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead in the 88th minute. It was a marvelous goal and a fantastic moment for Gimenez and Mexico as well. Panama subbed out Harold Cummings for Azarias Londoño, while Mexico subbed out Orbelin Pineda for Israel Reyes. Erick Sanchez then got off a great low shot that forced Mosquera to make a save. Mexico had another good chance when Gimenez went on a one-on-one, but he bounced the ball off of a Panamanian defender when he tried to cross it to Alvarado. It was the last chance, and Mexico held on to win the 2023 Gold Cup.

Mexico started their summer in one of the historically low points, and have now concluded it with a great result and a great story for head coach Lozano. After an embarrassing 3-0 defeat by the United States in the Nations League semifinals and rumors of discontent in the dressing room, Mexico surprised everyone by firing coach Diego Cocca and naming Lozano as interim coach. From the start of the tournament, Mexico had a great performance with solid victories against Honduras (4-0) and Haiti (3-1). With the quarterfinal ticket booked, Mexico lost against Qatar in the low moment of the Gold Cup for the team. They struggled to defeat Costa Rica in the quarterfinal before having their best performance by defeating Jamaica in the Semifinal in a 3-0 win. Mexico then faced a tough Panama side, but were able to get a victory and claim their ninth title. While many times the Gold Cup doesn’t have the highest prestige, it is a huge achievement for a Mexico side that has been in constant turmoil since 2021, when the dark age started after Mexico lost the last Gold Cup Final against the United States. Mexico will need to improve, and they still have to look for a head coach but for now, it’s time to celebrate a title, something that everybody was missing.