Belize draws with Panama to snap Copa losing streak

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama settled for a 0-0 draw with Belize in the 2017 Copa Centroamericana opener for each on Friday at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez. 

Although the result extended the Panamanians unbeaten run in the competition to 15 games (8W-7D-0L), Honduras – thanks to a 2-1 win over Nicaragua earlier in the day – finished the evening in first place.  In the second match of the tripleheader, two-time defending champion Costa Rica and El Salvador battled to a scoreless stalemate. 

Statistically, Panama enjoyed significant advantages in time of possession (68%-32%), attempted shots (14-3) and corner kicks (10-0), but Belize held on due in large part to the goalkeeping of Woodrow West, who made five saves. 

Rolando Blackburn was dangerous throughout the evening for the host Canaleros and nearly put them ahead in the first half, only to head a right-sided cross directly at West from close range. 

In the 70th minute, Blackburn’s powerful, low header off a right-sided corner kick was cleared off the line by Denmark Casey.

With nine minutes left in normal time, West completed an outstanding performance by saving a Tony Taylor effort. 

Next up: Belize takes on Costa Rica, while Panama meets Nicaragua on Sunday.