Panama’s spirited Under-20 World Cup run ends vs. Ukraine
Ernesto Walker of Panama # 6 celebrates after scoring against Ukraine in the round of 16 of the Under-20 World Cup on June 3, 2019 at Tychy Stadium in Tychy, Poland (Photo courtesy of FIFA)

TYCHY, Poland Panama’s spirited 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup campaign came to an end in the Round of 16 with a 4-1 defeat to Ukraine on Monday evening at the Tychy Stadium in Tychy, Poland.

Panama faced some early pressure from Ukraine and was unable to prevent Danylo Sikan from making the breakthrough in the 23’. Yukhym Konoplia played in a pass from the right flank and Sikan fired a shot that banged off the post and in for a 1-0 lead.

Panama kept its cool though and minutes later Diego Valanta came within inches of pulling his side level when his left-footed shot went buzzing over the crossbar.

Ukraine was keen to extend its lead before the halftime break and when Panama was unable to clear a corner kick, Denys Popov took advantage and made it 2-0 with a header in the 41’.

Ukraine had the momentum on its side and tacked on another score in the 45+1’ with a goal that was a carbon copy of the first, as Konoplia played into Sikna, who redirected a shot into net for a 3-0 lead.

But Panama was not about to throw in the towel and Ernesto Walker got one back for the Canaleros in the 50’ by fighting off a pair of Ukrainian defenders before firing in to cut the gap to 3-1.

Panama had several good looks at shaving the deficit down to one, but Ukraine’s defense stood strong and a Serhiy Buletsa strike in the 83’ rounded out the 4-1 scoreline.