Panama Defeats Costa Rica 3-1, Clinches Spot in CNL Finals

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By LatAm Reports Editor

Panama secured their place in the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League Finals after a decisive 3-1 victory over Costa Rica in the second leg of their League A quarterfinal. The match, held at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Panama, saw Panama emerge triumphant with an aggregate score of 6-1 over the two legs.

This win not only propels Panama into the CNL Finals but also earns them a spot in the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024. Costa Rica, despite the loss, will advance to the Concacaf Nations League Play-In, where they still have a chance to qualify for the Copa America.

The match began with Panama establishing an early lead to stifle any quick start from Costa Rica. In the 20th minute, Michael Murillo’s attempt was initially blocked by Costa Rican goalkeeper Kevin Chamorro, but Jose Fajardo was on hand to score off the rebound. This marked Fajardo’s third consecutive goal in CNL matches against Costa Rica.

Panama’s dominance continued, and shortly after their first goal, Jose Rodriguez delighted the home fans with a spectacular long-range left-footed strike in the 24th minute, doubling Panama’s lead. The momentum stayed with Panama, and they further extended their lead just before halftime. Rodriguez was fouled inside the area, leading to Edgar Barcenas converting a penalty in the 43rd minute, making the score 3-0.

Costa Rica attempted a comeback in the second half, managing to pull a goal back in the 52nd minute. Joel Campbell’s free-kick was met with a header from Francisco Calvo, narrowing the gap to 3-1. However, this was the extent of Costa Rica’s resurgence, as Panama maintained control for the rest of the match.

The final whistle confirmed Panama’s spot in the CNL Finals, scheduled for March, marking a significant achievement for the team in this tournament.