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Panama claims 1st place with Ramirez double
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PUEBLA, Mexico - Amet Ramirez scored two goals for the second straight game and Panama defeated Jamaica 4-0 on Saturday to secure first-place in Group C at the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.

With the victory, the Canaleros put themselves in position to avoid a possible quarterfinal encounter against host Mexico, which will face El Salvador in a Group D match later in the evening. If the Mexicans win or draw, they will finish first in the group and will take-on Jamaica in the knockout phase.

The survivors of the four quarterfinal matches automatically qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey later this year.

Panama controlled large patches of the game, demonstrating the same patience as it did against Puerto Rico on Thursday by utilizing the width of the pitch at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc to its advantage. The Central Americans stretched the Jamaican defense by smartly switching fields on a regular basis, a tactic that created numerous openings in the middle.

The Panamanians produced the best of the first-half chances and the impressive Jairo Jimenez - a veteran of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia - was at the center of all the action. His cross in 28th minute compelled Andre Lewis into a tumbling off-the-line clearance before Julio Segundo could get a touch on the ball.

Three minutes later, Jose Muñoz squared a free kick in Jimenez's path. The rising Chorrillo FC star took a shot that Jamaica goalkeeper Rashaun Patterson did well to tip over the crossbar.

Just before half-time, Ramirez netted his first goal.

Muñoz dribbled through a cluster of Jamaican defenders and slipped a short pass to a waiting Ramirez on the left. The 19-yeard-old controlled with his first touch and found the back of the net with his second to give Panama a 1-0 lead.

Kendan Anderson, scorer of two goals against Puerto Rico on Tuesday, nearly knotted the score four minutes after the interval, but his left-footed shot was saved with ease by Ivan Picart.

After that, it was all Panama the rest of the way.

In the 57th minute, Roberto Chen headed a long diagonal pass from the left into the Jamaican box for the unmarked Ramirez to stroke home calmly, giving him four goals in two games.

Jimenez created Panama's third goal in the 79th, delivering a cross to Romario Piggott in the area. With not a single defender in the vicinity, Piggott had time to control, stop, take a glance at the goal and then slam a shot past an on-rushing Patterson.

To complete the rout, Jimenez netted a goal of his own six minutes from time. A quickly taken free kick was slid to Jouse Flores breaking towards the net. Flores got to the endline and sent a cross on the ground to Jimenez, who slotted the ball past Patterson.

Panama finished the group stage with two wins in two games, both by the same 4-0 score. The Canaleros will play either Mexico or El Salvador in a quarterfinal meeting on Wednesday.

 
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