Penedo's save sends Panama to Gold Cup semis
EAST RUTHERFORD: Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo denied Trinidad and Tobago's Lester Peltier in the ninth round of penalty kicks Sunday to send the Central American side into the Gold Cup semi-finals.
After the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 through extra time, Panama advanced 6-5 on penalties but only after each side had a chance to claim victory in the shootout.
Penedo, the 33-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy netminder who was voted 2005 and 2013 Gold Cup Goalkeeper of the Tournament, made two saves in the penalties session, the decisive one set up by teammate Valentin Pimentel's goal to start the ninth round.
Penedo then went back inside the woodwork and dove to his left on Peltier's shot. Penedo lifted his right hand and deflected the ball off the crossbar and out, dooming the Soca Warriors' dreams of matching their Cup-best run by reaching the 2000 last four.
Panama advanced to a Wednesday semi-final in Atlanta against the winner of a later match between Mexico and Costa Rica. The United States faces Jamaica in the other semi-final of North America's biennial regional football championship.
Each team missed two of its first three penalties. Armando Cooper and Harold Cummings each scored for Panama to open rounds but Kenwyne Jones and Radanfah Abu Bakr answered to keep Trinidad and Tobago going.
Marvin Phillip saved the seventh-round shot of Alberto Quintero to put Panama on the edge of elimination but Daneil Cyrus booted his next shot over the crossbar to extend the drama, as did Panama star Blas Perez and Andre Boucaud in round eight.
Luis Tejada gave Panama the 1-0 lead in the 37th minute but Trinidad and Tobago pulled level on a Kenwyne Jones header in the 54th minute to send the match to extra time that went scoreless.
Panama advanced to a third consecutive semi-final, having lost to the United States in 2011 before beating Mexico in 2013, only to fall to the Americans in the final. Panama lost its only other finals appearance to the US side in 2005.
Sunday marked the fourth match in a row in which Panama took the lead only to surrender the equalizer in the second half, having advanced from the group stage on three 1-1 draws.
Trinidad and Tobago defender Sheldon Bateau headed away a centering pass but the ball went to Panama striker Tejada, who blasted it past helpless goalkeeper Phillip to give Panama the lead.
Defender Cyrus was just wide on a header in first half stoppage time, but the Caribbean side did not wait long to equalize as Jones nodded in a centering pass just beyond the outstretched right hand of Penedo.
With 10 goals in this year's Cup, Trinidad and Tobago matched the combined total from their four prior appearances in the event.
It was the third time in two matches that Trinidad and Tobago rallied to pull level, having won their group with a 4-4 draw against Mexico.
Perez had a chance in the opening seconds of second half stoppage time, speeding past Bateau to collect a centering pass in the penalty area, but booted his shot wide of the far post.