LOS ANGELES – Panama played the final 14 minutes with only 10 players, but held on to defeat El Salvador 1-0 in the Copa Centroamericana Tigo USA 2014 match for third place on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Roman Torres scored the only goal in the first half, as the Panamanians finished among the top three for the fifth time in the last six editions of the tournament.
In the 76th minute, Armando Cooper was shown a red card in his own end of the field for a hard tackle on El Salvador’s Denis Pineda at the left-sided corner flag.
The fiercely contested encounter was decided in the fourth minute. A right-sided corner kick by Rolando Escobar appeared to take a slight – but intentional -- deflection off the head of teammate Gabriel Gomez in the direction of an unmarked Torres, who found the back of the net from seven-yards out.
El Salvador had a chance to equalize 10 minutes before the break. Marvin Monterrosa’s initial effort from outside the box was blocked by a defender. After the Isidro Metapan midfielder regained possession, he dribbled nimbly to create space, only to fire high and wide of the net.
Just minutes into the second half, the Salvadorans had another opportunity to knot score. A nicely worked play on the left saw Alexander Larin burst into the Panamanian box and, from near the goal line, found Arturo Alvarez waiting unmarked 13 yards from goal. The 29-year-old midfielder, though, shot just over the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards, Panama could have doubled its lead. From the right, Cooper found Roberto Nurse sprinting into the box. The Correcaminos forward, though hit outside of the left netting, forced by hustling goalkeeper Henry Hernandez to alter his shot.
Up a man following Cooper’s ejection, the Salvadorans lost midfielder Darwin Ceren to an injury after he collided heads with Torres in the Panamanian box.
Panama extended its tournament record unbeaten streak to 14 games, while El Salvador finished fourth for the fifth time in its last six appearances.
To view the Highlights of this game, click here.