Panama tops Haiti, claims Group B crown at CU20

Action from the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship match between Panama (white jersey) and Haiti on February 24, 2017, in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Straffon Images)

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Panama (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) secured the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, Group B title with a 3-1 win over nine-man Haiti (1-0-2, 3) on Friday at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.

The result means that the United States (1-0-1, 3) will need only a draw against St. Kitts & Nevis (0-0-2, 0) later in the day to earn a place in the quarterfinals.

Ricardo Avila led the way for the Panamanians by converting twice from the penalty spot, while Leandro Avila netted a late insurance goal.

Haiti was reduced a player in the 20th minute, when Ivenet Noel was shown a straight red card for a studs up tackle against Ricardo Avila, who gave Panama a 1-0 lead from the spot eight minutes earlier.

Despite being down a man, the Caribbean champion leveled in the 36th minute as Jonel Desire hit the back of the net from seven-yards out off a splendid pass into the left side of the box by Jimmy-Shammar Sanon.

Ricardo Avila regained the lead for Panama with a left-footed penalty for his fourth goal of the competition.

Six minutes later, Stevenson Guillaume was ejected for his second yellow card, paving the way for Leandro Avila to complete the scoreline -- thanks to Cristian Martinez's a precise pass from the right side of the box to the left post -- with two minutes remaining in normal time.