Panama cruised to a 2-0 victory over Canada on Tuesday in Panama City and the Reds' advancement to the Hex now becomes substantially more arduous.
Rolando Blackburn scored the opener in the first half and Blas Perez sealed the deal for Panama in the second.
Seven minutes into the first half the game was delayed after lights went out in the stadium. The game finally resumed following a 15 minute wait, but Canada needed to continue without its most menacing attacker, Dwayne De Rosario, who picked up an injury and was forced to come off early.
Despite Canada’s weakened attack, it was the Reds who were dangerous first when, in the 24th minute, Marcel De Jong’s shot from a bad angle narrowly brushed past the Panama goal.
The home side quickly responded a minute later when Alberto Quintero’s shot from inside the Canada box was kept out by Lars Hirschfield.
In the 38th minute, Panama found the breakthrough. Forward Rolando Blackburn headed the ball past Hirschfield from a corner kick.
Canada tried to respond in the second half with some more insistent attacking play, but to no avail.
Panama doubled its lead and put the game beyond doubt in the 57th minute with Blas Perez beating Hirschfield after the home side easily broke through the right hand side of Canada’s defense.
The win puts Panama back into first place in Group C. Canada and Honduras are tied in second on seven points. The loss means that, in its final two matches, Canada will need to beat Cuba and then get a positive result away to Honduras in order to qualify to the final Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualification.
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