Mexico Escapes Panama Scare Courtesy Of Diego Lainez Getting Lightly Tapped On His Leg

Mexico secured a tough three points at Estadio Azteca Wednesday night with a narrow 1-0 victory against Panama. The win was anything but confident from El Tri as a late penalty was the only thing to separate the two sides.

Panama looked comfortable inside the mostly empty Estadio Azteca — Mexico was serving its final game with limited attendance after punishments for homophobic chants — and had the better chances in the first half.

Héctor Herrera pulled off some goal line heroics in the 12th minute to deny Panama from taking the lead.

I already apologized to the Panama national team after I predicted Los Canaleros to finish bottom of the Concacaf World Cup qualifying group. They deserve a second apology after a rather dominant first half against a disjointed Mexico.

Things got much worse for Mexico in the second half when Chucky Lozano fell awkwardly on his shoulder and was removed from the game via stretcher.

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Diego Lainez replaced Lozano and earned his side a penalty in the 78th minute for an arguably soft call. Sometimes I think a light breeze would be enough to knock Lainez over. To be fair there was contact, and Raúl Jiménez stepped up to score the game-winner.

What Does This Result Mean?

Mexico looks all but set to finish in the top three for Concacaf World Cup qualifying and punch a ticket to Qatar. Wednesday’s result puts El Tri four points clear of fourth place Panama. Up next are games against the United States, Honduras and El Salvador. Disaster would have to strike for Mexico not to come away with at least five points from those games.

Oddly enough for USMNT fans, Mexico winning on Wednesday was good news. The last thing American fans want is Panama getting too close for comfort. The U.S. will clinch at minimum a top four spot with a victory against Panama in Orlando, Florida, on March 27.

Full Mexico vs. Panama Highlights

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