The Central American side couldn't pull a result after missing two key penalty shots.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - El Salvador saw its chance to advance to the quarterfinals slip away as it couldn't convert on two penalties, one in regulation time and one in penalty time, to secure a do-or-die win over Panama.
It was a tightly contested 1-1 match between the two Central American sides but it was Panama's ability to deliver in clutch moments that saw it outscore El Salvador 5-3 on penalties to continue its surprising run in the Gold Cup.
Panama's Luis Tejada 90th equalizing strike gave the team a lifeline after being down one goal for entire second half. Tejada would follow up his heroics with the tie breaking penalty that would ultimately give the team the victory.
With a strong homefield advantage thanks to a large El Salvador population in the area Washington, D.C., area, fans were shocked to see their team miss a penalty in the first half that would have given it an early 1-0 advantage. In the second half, it would convert but when penalty time came, the team again missed a chance to put the game away.
Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo swatted the attempt from El Salvador's Dennis Alas. El Salvador was playing its first quarterfinal since 2003 and was aiming for its first semifinal berth.
Panama will play the United States on Wednesday in Houston, a rematch of Panama's 2-1 Group C win.