The Gold Cup, marred by scandals during the second semifinals between Panama and Mexico, came to an emphatic end for Mexico on Sunday night, who clinched the title for the record seventh time by registering a convincing 3-1 win over Jamaica in the finals.
Skipper and star midfielder Andres Guardado scored through stunning volley in the 30th minute to give the El Tricolors the lead. Guardado became the first player to score in three Gold Cup finals. Mexico’s productive attacking third reigned over the “Reggae Boyz” – despite having the competition’s best defenders – throughout the match.
Jesus Corona and Oribe Peralta pumped in two more in the second half to secure the 3rd championship for the Mexico in the last four attempts. Jamaica only conceded three goals in the previous five games in this edition’s Gold Cup, but were torn apart by the winners within an hour, as El Tri notched up a 3-0 lead in that session. Jamaica restored pride in the 78th minute as Darren Mattocks pulled one back.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup finals drew an enthusiastic crowd (announced to be 68,930, mostly in support of the winning team) to Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, in sharp contrast to the negative aspects of the tournament sparked mainly by poor refereeing. Aside from this, the Panama players’ team management issued a charge of match-fixing against tournament authorities. Unruly fans rammed the field.
“There was a sense of kind of being uncertain of what happens next,” Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the United States team. “That kind of overshadowed everything that really went on.”
Sunday’s result set up a playoff clash between the 2013 champions U.S. and reigning champions Mexico on October 9. This is for a regional berth in the Confederation Cup 2017, which is a tune-up for World Cup 2018 in Russia.