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Panama, 10-man Jamaica play to scoreless draw
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Panama and Jamaica played to a 0-0 draw in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match on September 6, 2013, in Panama City. The photo above was taken from their 2013 encounter. (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Football Federation)

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama missed a chance to jump over Mexico in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying on Friday after 0-0 draw with 10-man Jamaica at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

The Panamanians could not take advantage of a Mexican loss to Honduras earlier in the evening, keeping it in fifth place on seven points, one behind El Tri.  Jamaica remains in last place with just three points through seven matches.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Caribbean side – under the guidance of new head coach Winfried Schafer – had a chance to take the lead, but Rodolph Austin’s free kick deflected off the Panamanian wall and out for a corner.

Three minutes later, Austin was sent off for his second bookable offense following a late challenge against Alberto Quintero near the sideline.

Panama, which was without the services suspended striker Blas Perez (the team’s top scorer in qualifying with 10 goals), pushed forward for the decisive goal.

It nearly got the much-needed tally in the 65th minute, when Cecilio Waterman’s shot following a Gabriel Torres corner kick deflected off a Jamaican defender in front of goal and glanced off the post.

In the 74th minute, Gabriel Torres connected with Roman Torres on another corner kick.  The defender’s powerful header, though, was off the mark.

Ten minutes later, second-half substitute Jairo Jimenez had his attempt inside the box blocked by Jermaine Taylor.

In a scoreless first half played on a waterlogged pitch, Waterman had Panama’s first quality chance.  The 22-year-old forward’s shot, after taking the ball off his chest, sailed harmlessly wide in the 24th minute.

One minute later, Luton Shelton made a darting run down the right for Jamaica, stopping at the end line and avoiding a pair of Panamanian defenders. The forward’s effort was blocked before it reached Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.

Panama’s best scoring chance came four minutes prior to the interval.  Gabriel Torres directed his corner kick to an unmarked Roman Torres, whose volley from 14 meters was cleared off the line by defender Shaun Cummings at the left post.

The teams played to a 1-1 draw in its other Hexagonal encounter on March 22 in Kingston.

On Tuesday, Jamaica returns home to take on Costa Rica, while Panama heads to Tegucigalpa to face Honduras. 

 
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