The semifinals of the 2018 Apertura tournament of the Panamanian Soccer League (LPF) will have an extra ingredient, when the four teams that enter this defining phase receive instructions from the benches from South American coaches.
This Saturday, Tauro F.C., trained by the Uruguayan Saúl Maldonado, will face an Árabe Unido de Colón led by the Colombian José "Chicho" Pérez.
Both coaches came to their benches ablaze: "Chicho" to replace the Colombian Carlos Ruiz, while Maldonado saved the team from the bad start they had with the Spaniard Juan Carlos García.
"Chicho" Perez, former Colombian national coach, took the reins of the Árabe Unido from the tenth day with the colonense team at the bottom of the table. With the former coach of Once Caldas, Árabe Unido has achieved 5 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses, 11 goals scored and 3 received.
Last in the table, the Colonians qualified directly to the semifinals, in the second box with 28 points, the "Chicho" effect being positive for Árabe Unido.
"For me to be in this club, it's a blessing, I found a team that was beaten, but eager to work," Pérez said.
The history of Maldonado against the Tauro started on date eight, when the "albinegros" added only five points in seven dates, being second to last.
With the Uruguayan in command of the Tauro, they have won seven times, have fallen once and tied three times.
Since the arrival of Maldonado Tauro is a very offensive team, it has scored 24 goals and only received 9.
The South American has in his ranks two of the scorers of the tournament, the former striker of Venezuela’s Deportivo La Guaira, Edwin Aguilar and the national team and former player of the Árabe Unido, Enrico Small, both with eight goals.
Added to luxury midfielders such as Panamanian Jesús González, Adalberto Carrasquilla and Rolando Botello.
Solo duels on this side of the draw will be the clash of these two goal breakers against one of the best goalkeepers in the league, the Dominican Miguel Lloyd and the defenders Roberto Chen, former Spanish Málaga and Jonathan Mosquera.
In the direct duels of these two clubs, Tauro beat Árabe Unido by a landslide of 4-1, in the first match of the semester, the second time they clashed, with Maldonado and "Chicho" Pérez on the bench, they ended tied 0-0.
The return of this draw will be next Friday, November 23, when Árabe Unido receives Tauro at the Armando Dely Valdés of Colón stadium, in the Panamanian Atlantic.
In the other semifinal, the Costa del Este, with Venezuelan Ángel Sánchez on the side line, and the San Francisco, who hired the services of Sergio "Checho" Angulo, will clash in the first leg, next Sunday at Agustín "Muquita" Sánchez, in La Chorrera.
"Checho" Angulo, who arrived at San Francisco to replace his compatriot Andres Dominguez, from day nine of the tournament, has accumulated 5 wins, 2 losses and 3 draws.
With the former coach of the lower Deportivo Cali, the San Francisco has scored 13 goals and has received 8.
"Costa del Este is the team that will better ourselves, it is a lightweight team, but with good figures that have been incorporated," he said after defeating Plaza Amador during league play.
The wish was fulfilled for "Checho", Costa del Este will be his rival.
Costa del Este, first to qualify in the tournament, and with the Venezuelan Sánchez commanding them.
The Venezuelan is the only one of the four coaches who has remained in the position since the start of the tournament.
One of Sanchez's merits is that he also led Costa del Este to the Panamanian football division of honor.
With Sanchez in charge, Costa del Este accumulated 29 points, product of 7 wins, 8 draws, 3 losses, 18 goals in favor and 12 against.
"When I saw the qualification, I told my players that we were among the three most successful teams in Panamanian football, Costa del Este is ambitious and we know what we have, to be among the greats, we have to play against the big guys," said Sanchez.
Between these two clubs, the Costa del Este won the first clash 1-2, while the return ended up equaled to zero goals.
The return of this match will take place on Saturday, November 24. Costa del Este will receive the "monks" in Rommel Fernández Gutiérrez, in the Panamanian capital.