Panama could not maintain its unbeaten streak against Venezuela

Juan Carlos Varela
  • EFE

The Panamanian soccer team saw an 18-year losing streak against Venezuela, broken by being defeated 0-2 in the friendly match played Tuesday at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium in Panama City.

In a game that went side to side, but in which the Venezuelans had better control of the ball, those led by Gary Stempel gave way to two oversights on defense that ended in the back of the net, the first in the last seven meetings between both teams.

Panama opted for a mix between players who attended the 2018 World Cup and young promises called to replace the world generation, and that was noticed on the pitch, as there were times when it was not so compact as to stop the actions of the South Americans.

Even so, players like Gaby Torres, José Luis Rodríguez and Fidel Escobar managed to get to the “vinotinto” goal, without causing any great danger.

Venezuela, on the other hand, had a lot of mid and long distance shots in the boot of Rómulo Otero, who pressed Goalkeeper Luis Mejía several times to avoid a Venezuelan goal.

In the second half, Panama started full throttle and took clearer shots in the first minutes, but the substitutions of Salomón Rondón, Jefferson Savarino and Eduard Bello tipped the balance in favor of the visitors, who found in the side lines a space to generate goal situations.

The first one came in the 67th minute, with a Savarino off-hook on the right wing to get a trailing center that passed between Mejía and Roman Torres to find Rondón on his own, who barely had to push the ball to put the 0-1 on the scoreboard.

With the result in favor, Venezuela gave control of the ball and played on the counterattack, taking advantage of the desperation of Panama to seek the tie. Thus came the second goal in the 93rd minute, when a punt ended at the feet of Eduard Bello, who gave the ball to Rondón to beat Mejía with a cross shot, who could do nothing to stop it.

Regarding the result, the acting coach of the Panamanian team, Gary Stempel, said that it is misleading, since Panama had the draw with Rolando Blackburn, "and on the counterattack they score against us".

About his experiment, he indicated, "we tried to implement something different, it cost us the first half; in the second half we held well, we played partly well, but the players who I wanted to see had their minutes". He lamented, that the second goal was "childish" made possible only due to the lack of discipline of the defenders.

Stempel added that he expected more from the players with greater experience, and when referring to the opponent, he said that he faced an experimented Venezuela, which can bring a player of the Premier League, while he put several U-20 players on the pitch.

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