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US To Meet Panama In Gold Cup Semifinal

Washington, Jun 20: The United States defeated Jamaica 2-0 while Panama equalized in the 90th minute and went on to beat El Salvador in a penalty shootout on Sunday, setting up a clash in the

PTI [ Updated: June 20, 2011 13:02 IST ]
us to meet panama in gold cup semifinal
us to meet panama in gold cup semifinal

Washington, Jun 20: The United States defeated Jamaica 2-0 while Panama equalized in the 90th minute and went on to beat El Salvador in a penalty shootout on Sunday, setting up a clash in the semifinals of the Gold Cup.Jermaine Jones put the Americans ahead with a deflected shot in the 49th minute and Clint Dempsey added the second with 10 minutes remaining against a Jamaica team that was reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute.

Jones shot from outside the area, and Jermaine Taylor lunged to block the shot, only succeeding in deflecting the ball past Jamaica goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.Taylor was sent off in the 67th minute for a tackle from behind on Jones.

“Jermaine has a good engine and has the ability in certain moments to get forward and be a threat,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “That was nice to see.”After scoring, Jones gave a military salute to his honor his serviceman father on Fathers' Day.

It wasn't the only reminder in this game of the importance of families. Dempsey and Landon Donovan had not trained with the team before the match as both were attending their sisters' weddings.

“Understanding them, understanding what families mean to them, you have to sometimes weigh things and make decisions,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “Ultimately, after speaking at different points with Landon and Clint, I knew how important both of these days were for them.”

Dempsey started the game while Donovan was relegated to a rare start on the bench, coming on in the 65th minute, shortly before Taylor's red card.“Even one man down, we were still in the game, still getting chances,” Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said.

Fulham forward Dempsey added the second goal with 10 minutes to play, avoiding the oncharging Ricketts and putting the ball into the empty net.“We just played good football,” Dempsey said. “We were patient. We were confident. We moved the ball around well.”

The only problem for the Americans was a hamstring injury to Jozy Altidore, who limped off in the 12th minute. He will be assessed before Wednesday's semifinal against Panama, who progressed in more dramatic style.

Luis Tejada scored a 90th minute equalizer and then converted the winning penalty in the shootout.

With the teams locked 1-1 after extra time, Nelson Barahona converted the first shot in the shootout for Panama and then goalkeeper Jaime Penedo blocked El Salvador's first attempt, by Dennis Alas.

All the remaining penalties were converted, giving Panama a 5-3 shootout win.

“If things don't go your way in terms of football, you have to look for other ways to reach your goals,” Panama coach Julio Dely Valdes said. “We have gotten a result in a way we're not used to. Panama never stopped fighting, and that's how we reached the goal, which is the most important thing going forward.”

Panama will enter the semifinal against the United States with confidence, having beaten the hosts 2-1 in the group stage.“Against the U.S., it isn't going to be an easy game at all,” Dely Valdes said. “It will be different, and it will be very complicated for us.”

El Salvador went ahead in the 78th minute. Rodolfo Zelaya was brought down in the area by a Roman Torres tackle and he converted from the spot, putting the ball into the top left side of the net.Zelaya had missed a penalty in the first half.El Salvador looked to have secured a place in the semifinals until Panama's 90th minute equalizer.

Blas Perez sent a cross from the right to the back post where Tejada got a shot through traffic. El Salvador goalkeeper Miguel Montes appeared to have made the save, but it was ruled the ball had crossed the line. There was a long delay before the goal was added to the scoreboard, and it was briefly taken off before finally staying up.

The teams exchanged words as they left the field at the end of regulation time. Perez of Panama received a red card, and El Salvador's Luis Anaya received his second yellow card, leaving both clubs a man down for extra time.El Salvador's elimination disappointed the majority of the 45,423-strong crowd.“It's a very difficult game to digest,” El Salvador coach Ruben Israel said. “We had very good chances in every game and I feel like we could have made it even further.”AP

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