Panama falls to Austria in U-20 World Cup

Panama's Jomar Diaz (left) jumps for a header with Florian Grillitsch of Austria during their FIFA U-20 World Cup match on June 2, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Despite a pair of penalty-kick saves by goalkeeper Jaime De Gracia, nine-man Panama (0-1-1, 1 point) dropped a 2-1 decision to Austria (1-1-0, 4 points) in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Tuesday at Westpac Stadium.

The Canaleros took a lead thanks to a thunderous right-footer by Fidel Escobar, giving them hope that a first-ever win after 14 all-time games in the competition was possible. 

Both Austria goals came before the benefit of a two-man advantage. 

In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Panama captain Chin Hormecha was credited with an own-goal for redirecting Martin Rasner's 45-yard free-kick with his head beyond De Gracia, who dived in desperation to his right. 

Six minutes after the break, the Austrians got on the scoreboard again as Valentin Grubeck deftly headed Bernd Gschweidl’s left-sided cross into the right side of the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

Escobar had given Panama a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute.  After completing a give-and-go with Jesus Gonzalez on the left, the Sporting San Miguelito defender fired in from 20-yards out for his second goal in as many outings.

De Gracia kept the CONCACAF runner-up in the match, thwarting penalty kicks by Florian Grillitsch and Markus Blutsch, in the 64th and 83rd minutes, respectively.

Hormechea was ejected in the 80th minute for a second caution, while Luis Pereira was sent to the dressing room for a handball in the box two minutes later.

The Panamanians close out Group B play on Friday against Ghana (1-1-0, 4 points), which beat Argentina (0-1-1, 1 point), 3-2, also on Tuesday.