The Mexican players celebrate after beating Panama and winning the Gold Cup.
Santiago Giménez scored after an electrifying 88th-minute sprint as Mexico won their ninth CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over Panama on Sunday night.
After Edson Álvarez scrambled to fend off an Iván Anderson cross in the Mexican box, Orbelín Pineda dribbled away and fitted perfectly into the center circle. The 22-year-old Feyenoord striker dribbled past Harold Cummings and passed Cummings and Fidel Escobar in the penalty area, where he sunk a clever free-throw for his fourth goal in 18 internationals.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (USA)
Argentine-born Giménez’s goal sparked a roaring cheer at the packed SoFi Stadium, packed with fans celebrating Mexico’s dramatic resurgence at the biannual CONCACAF tournament.
Mexico appeared to have broken the stalemate in the 33rd minute but Henry Martin’s goal was disallowed for offside after a VAR check. They had another excellent opportunity just before the break, but Panama keeper Orlando Mosquera saved it again.
He had Panama’s best chance in the 87th minute, but Edgar Barcenas’ shot from distance went wide. Minutes later, Gimenez ended the game.
Several months after Mexico were eliminated from the World Cup with their worst performance in almost half a century, El Tri rebounded with an excellent tournament under interim manager Jaime Lozano, who took over the ailing program just a month ago.
Mexico, who have only allowed two goals in their games, have won this tournament more than all other nations combined. The US has seven Gold Cup titles and Canada has one. Panama failed in its attempt to win the Gold Cup for the first time.
Giménez’s late goal ended an unlikely Gold Cup win for Panama, which upset USA in the semifinals and secured them a place in the final for a third time. Los Canaleros failed to create good chances against veteran Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Lozano, who coached Mexico’s Olympic team to a bronze medal in Tokyo two years ago, was put in charge of the Gold Cup campaign by Juan Carlos Rodríguez, who had taken office as president of the Mexican Football Federation just a month earlier.
While the Gold Cup is known for only having weak national teams, Mexico started the final with eight starters, who also started at the World Cup, and showed 14 shots in the first half before finally scoring the goal to win.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.