Chivas de Guadalajara and Mexico forward Rafa Marquez Lugo freely admits that El Tri is delighted it will come across Panama on Wednesday in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In Mexico’s first game in the competition, El Tri fell 2-1 to Panama to lose for the first time against Los Canaleros in their history, and Marquez Lugo is itching to set the record straight at Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
“It gave us a little bit of joy that it is against Panama, because all of us played very badly (in the first game),” Marquez Lugo told Central Deportiva on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Marquez Lugo added that Panama will confront a very different Mexico side this time around, one that has had time to get used to playing together and has won its last three games.
“Playing a game like we played in the group stage is impossible, because it was very bad from all of us that were on the field,” Marquez Lugo said. “The team has been improving and growing.”
Marquez Lugo was also quick to praise Panama, though, saying that the Central American nation will pose a threat to El Tri in its quest to reach the final at Chicago's Soldier Field against either the United States or Honduras on Sunday.
“It’s a rival to be careful of, because it is in the semifinal for a reason,” Marquez Lugo said. “It will test us a lot, but it won’t be facing the Mexico it did in the first round.”