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Sunday, October 26 2014 @ 03:38 AM EDT

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Costa Rica Vs. Panama: When And Where To Watch The World Cup Qualifier; Preview

Sports SectionAs World Cup qualifying continues around the globe, competition in the CONCACAF group remains tight with only four points separating the first and fifth place teams. The top 3 teams in the six-team hexagonal will qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil while the fourth place team - currently Honduras - will play New Zealand in a two-leg playoff in November to determine another slot in the tournament.

Dropping their last match 2-0 to the United States, Panama could use as many points as possible in their upcoming match against Costa Rica. Through 5 qualifying matches in the hexagonal, the Panamanian national team holds a total of 6 points and currently sits in fifth place. While they continue to find a rhythm, Costa Rica currently owns the No. 2 spot in the group, two points behind the United States' total of 10. Winning their last match - a 1-0 victory over Honduras - Costa Rica can certainly pad their standing with an outright victory against Panama.

Costa Rica and Panama played to a 2-2 draw back in February so fans of the sport and followers of the respective teams should expect another tight match as both teams know how crucial each game becomes as qualifying continues.

When and Where to Watch the Qualifier

Resuming their respective qualifying schedules, Costa Rica and Panama will meet at the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 18th. The match will begin at 10:00pm and television coverage will be provided by the beIn Sports Network.

Team Preview - Panama

Panama will enter Tuesday night's match against Costa Rica coming off a 2-0 loss to the United States. Surrendering goals to Jozy Alitdore and Eddie Johnson proved to be to overwhelming for the Panamanian national team as their offense was never able to sustain consistent pressure. In their final match before a 2 1/2 month break, Panama needs to find offensive consistency if they're to remain in the hunt for a top 4 finish in CONCACAF.

Blas Perez and Luis Tejada lead the team in scoring through qualifying matches but the duo has received little help on that end of the field. The veteran Perez own 10 goals in 14 matches and when he becomes the focal point of opposing defenses, Panama needs to find other ways to move the ball and create goal-scoring opportunities. Facing a strong Costa Rican team on the road Tuesday night will be a tall order but Panama does possess the talent to compete if they can create offensive chances.

Tejada has added 5 goals in 11 total matches and if players such as Ricardo Buitrago and Luis Henriquez can provide additional support, Panama will have a better chance of taking down a Costa Rican team that has only allowed 1 goal in the last 4 matches. Henriquez started the early scoring in the February meeting between these two squads and if he and additional role players can find a rhythm, Panama should be in good shape.

Team Preview - Costa Rica

Trailing the United States by 2 points in the CONCACAF group, Costa Rica has an opportunity to remain in the hunt for the top spot if they can come away with a victory over Panama. Playing a tough 0-0 draw with Mexico the last time out, Costa Rica kept pace with a Mexican team they currently lead in a goal aggregate. With Honduras and Panama also within reach of the top slot, a win for the Costa Ricans would certainly aid them entering a two-month break before qualifying continues in September.

Alvaro Saborio and Joel Campbell are two players worthy of attention. In 11 matches played, Saborio leads all team scorers with 7 goals while Campbell continues to support with 2 goals of his own. Costa Rica is a team that continues to play well with strong defense, surrendering only 8 goals in 11 matches while notching 19 tallies of their own. The Panama team they'll face next has certainly struggled offensively as of late so if Costa Rica and players like Saborio, Campbell and Randall Brenes can perform well on the offensive end, Costa Rica can focus on stopping Panamanian phenom Blas Perez and his offensive capabilities.

Wrap Up

With the potential to earn a crucial 3 points, Costa Rica and Panama are set for another showdown as WC qualifying continues. Be sure to catch all the action on Tuesday, June 18th at 10:00pm, EDT.

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Panama And Mexico Tied

Sports SectionThe teams from Panama and Mexico tied with both teams at scoring no goals in the fourth round of the Hexagonal North, Central American and Caribbean Confederation of the Football Association (CONCACAF) held at the Rommel Fernández stadium.

As the minutes passed, Panama was found in the game with Blas Pérez and Luis Tejada insistent to attack. But the goal was not forthcoming.

The additional stage in the game grew in intensity. While maintaining the attack pattern. Mexico was surprised by the right side and Panama sought occasion to pass through the strong Mexican defense, led by the goalkeeper, Jesús Corona, but without success.

At the end of the match, goalkeeper Jaime Penedo said the draw against Mexico is a positive result for Panama.

"We drew a strong team," said the Panamanian goalkeeper. "The fans said Panama is a team which plays nicely against visitors."

The Panamanian team will play on 11 June 2013 in Seattle against the United States. (TVN)

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Mexico's Ambassador In Panama (For Mexico Vs. Panama Soccer Match)

Sports SectionMexico's ambassador, Maria Gabriela Alejandra Bologna Zubikarai, is in panama, visiting the soccer team of his country, before the game scheduled for tonight.

The diplomat said she hopes this game endorses the friendship between Panamanians and Mexicans.

She said there are a lot of Mexicans married to Panamanians.

She also said the match has been anticipated with great expectation for her country and she expects Mexico to win.

There are approximately 3000 Mexicans in Panama right now. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Tonight the Panamanian men's national soccer team plays Mexico in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Mexico is one of the perennial powerhouses in the CONCACAF, and they always qualify for a spot in the World Cup. By comparison, Panama has never participated. Currently Mexico is on top of the "hex" with six points with one win and three draws. Panama is in second place with five points, from one win and two draws. Hopefully Panama can avoid a defeat at home against Mexico. A draw would be a fantastic result - and a win against Mexico would be in "wet dream" territory. The game is tonight at 9:00 pm local, and the entire country will stop to watch. If Panama wins or draws then a massive nationwide party will ensue...

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"Panama Must Avoid Making Mistakes Against Mexico" - Baloy

Sports SectionPanama's national team captain, Felipe Baloy, said the important thing for the team will be to avoid making mistakes against Mexico tomorrow in the World Cup qualifying game.

Baloy said Mexico is always dangerous, so Panama will face a tough round to win.

"We have all the desire to continue playing well in this round," he said.

Mexico is first in qualifying with six points and Panama is second with five.

The game will start at 9 pm. in the Rommel Fernández Stadium. (Prensa)

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"The Friendly Match Against Peru Will Be Taken Seriously" - Dely Valdés

Sports SectionThe national team of Panama closed their preparation for tomorrow's friendly match against the team of Peru, yesterday.

Julio César Dely Valdés, the national team's coach, spoke to the press, ensuring the match against Peru will be taken with seriousness and respect for the opponent. "This game, even if it's friendly, will be taken with respect," he said.

The national strategist clarified all players have kept training the last week and are invited to play in the game, except Baloy. "The situation with Baloy is a technical decision."

About the game against Mexico, Julio said it will be a high-level match, but they will seek out the three points which they need. "Since the last match against Mexico, the difference is the controversy of Giovani Dos Santos. I think he did not play against Jamaica, so he will be good for Mexico," he said. (Panama America)

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Cesar Barria is Currently Swimming To Taboga

Sports SectionThe Panamanian swimmer Cesar Barria began his journey on Sunday morning, May 19, to the island of Taboga, after starting from the shipyard of Balboa, in the city, and has a good pace so far, said his support team.

Barria, who is a special athlete since 2008 has become a source of motivation for Panamanians thanks to his achievements in open water. He started around 10:00 a.m. and an hour later he swam across the Causeway in Amador.

His support team has reported a good progress and said everything is going according to plan. The swimmer from Colon estimated he will swim about 4 kilometers per hour. Also, the weather is helping him as it is currently cloudy.

Cesar Barria is planning on swimming 19.5 kilometers from Balboa to Taboga in five hours. It is expected that he will arrive at 3:00 p.m at Taboga. (Prensa)

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Jones Was Losing The Fight Until He Knocked Lebedev Out

Sports SectionThe victory of the Panamanian boxer Guillermo Jones over the Russian Denis Lebedev can be considered as a true feat achieved thanks to the courage and desire to win of the boxer from Colon.

The World Boxing Association (WBA) showed in its website the cards of the three judges who scored the fight for the Cruiserweight title, which was carried out by both fighters.

Until the tenth assault, which was the last full round of combat, the judges Guiseppe Quartarone and Leszek Jankowiak scored 96-94 in favor of Lebedev.

The third judge of the contest, Oliver Brien, favored the Russian fighter with the score of 97-93.

Jones knocked Lebedev out at 1:54 minutes of the eleventh assault to become the cruiserweight champion of the WBA in a fight that took place today in the city of Moscow, Russia. (TVN)

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Barria Will Swim From Panama To Taboga

Sports SectionThe ultra distance swimmer Cesar Barria announced today in a press conference that his next journey in his career will be on May 19 where he will swim from Panama to the Taboga Island.

Barria said he wants the Panamanian people to swim with him and this is why he will be doing another journey in the country.

"It is a tribute to my followers. Swimming in Panama will give me more strength because I will feel the support from the people even closer," he said.

Barria's journey, called "Sueño Insuperable 2013 (Insurmountable Dream 2013)," will be of 19.5 kilometers in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and is he is expected to cross this distance in five hours. (Panama America)

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2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games in Panama is Officially Open

Sports SectionThe 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games officially opened Saturday, May 4, 2013. In attendance were the 24 countries with over 150 athletes and team officials, who traveled to Panama from every corner of the world. Local authorities, officials and thousands of enthusiastic Panamanians were witnesses to the start of the World Championship.

The National Delegations congregated in the town of Soná and walked through the streets that were filled with thousands of supporters. When arriving to the Opening Ceremony stage for the Sands of the World Ceremony, two representatives of each delegation walked on stage, one waving the national flag while the other poured sand from their local beach into a glass container, symbolizing the peaceful gathering of nations through the love of surfing.

"It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games in Panama, in this incredible place of Santa Catalina and its amazing Panamanian waves that are feeding us a lot of energy that will transform this into a historic championship," remarked ISA President Fernando Aguerrre. "I want to give special thanks to President Martinelli, the Minister of Tourism Salomon Shamah, the organizers of the event Tuti de Leon and Patrick Castagnet and all of the Panamanians that since four years ago have been welcoming us with open arms and warm hearts to brighten our stay."

"First of all, we are bringing this event to the interior of the country where our nation's natural resources are and the spirit and culture," said Vice Minister of Tourism Ernesto Orillac. "By bringing all of these people from all over the world, will leave as ambassadors of our country."

"Everyone that is involved in sports knows that even with great support, a lot of work goes into putting on this kind of World Championship," said Panama's National Olympic Committee President Camilo Amado. "These types of occurrences have a great effect on our national athletes to help them develop and represent our country by improving year after year."

After a beautiful showcase of local Panamanian traditional dances, the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games was officially declared open.

Following the Opening Ceremony, the Official Press Conference took place featuring ISA President Fernando Aguerre, Panama's Vice Minister of Tourism Ernesto Orillac, Mayor of Soná Faustino Camaño, Reef Latin America Marketing Manager Alejandro Azpiazu, Panama's National Olympic President Camilo Amado, Team Panama's Gian Carlos "Oli" Gonzales, and Team Australia's Coach Mike McSuliffe. Dozens of Panama's media outlets were in attendance.

Competition starts on Sunday with The Morning Show at 7:40am (local time) followed by all 24 heats of the Open Men's Qualifying round. (Press Release)

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Ticket sales for USA-Panama qualifier in Seattle up to 31,000

Sports SectionBy Joshua Mayers - The Washington Post got ticket sales updates for a bunch of U.S. Soccer games coming up. One of those was the USA-Panama World Cup qualifier on June 11 at CenturyLink Field, where sales are up to 31,000. You might remember capacity for the game was set at 42,000, so there are tickets available. (blogs.seattletimes.com)
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All set in Santa Catalina for Surf Championship

Sports SectionMerchants in Santa Catalina, Veraguas, have been prepared for the beginning of the International Surfing Championship for this weekend.

Owners of restaurants, cabins and small businesses are expecting to generate profits and take advantage of the visit of hundreds of tourists.

Security entities have organized the operations to cover this activity. The National Police will deploy approximately 350 units, said Carlos Rumbo, police chief in Veraguas.

For Saturday, the parade opening this event was scheduled, with the participation of 25 delegations from the world. The competitions will begin on Sunday.(TVN News)

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Teams Announced For The 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games In Panama

Sports SectionA total of 24 countries and over 150 athletes and coaches are confirmed to compete in the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games, in the tropical surf town of Santa Catalina, located 6 hours from Panama City by car. Each National Team consists of up to 4 Open Men and 2 Open Women surfers plus Team Officials.

The confirmed countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

“There are only a few days to go before the Opening Ceremony and the start of the 2013 Reef ISA World Surfing Games. All National Teams have been announced and the athletes have begun to arrive in the surf town of Santa Catalina, Panama,” remarked ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

“The surfers will be practicing at the world-class reef break waves in preparation for the World Championship that begins with the Opening Ceremony on Saturday and the competition on Sunday. Great surfing conditions and waves in the head high to overhead range in Panama’s 84 degree (29 C) water are welcoming the delegations. As I like to remind all competitors, representing your country for national pride is one of the highest honors. You are already a winner by competing on behalf of your National Surfing Team.”

“Plenty of contestable waves are lining up for the entire event; starting off with a solid SSW swell, then possibly ending with another good SW swell. At least for the first few days or so, conditions are looking good as well, with mornings offering the best wind with incoming tide,” said Surfline Forecaster Jonathan Warren. “At this point, we’re looking at head high sets or better for the entire event.” (surf.transworld.net)

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Martinelli requests Cerveceria Baru to 'withdraw NOW' the seizure agains Fepafut

Sports SectionThe legal dispute between the Panamanian Football Federation (Fepafut) and Cerveceria Baru, after they seized the bank accounts of the sports institution, has a new main character: Ricardo Martinelli.

The president wrote on his Twitter account requesting the brewer company to drop their legal action and said this is now his problem as well.

"I respectfully request Cerveceria Panama to drop his lawsuit against Fepafut RIGHT NOW. This fight they have against them is against the entire country and now it involves me”, posted Martinelli on Monday at 11:06 a.m.

The legal issue was released last Thursday when Fepafut informed that their bank accounts were seized by Cerveceria Baru, after they undertook legal actions due to the termination on December 2012 of the contract they had.

Fepafut decided to end the four-year agreement and $480,000. This contract had already two years of existence. Last December, the national football leadership said they signed a new contract with Cerveceria Nacional for about $10 million until 2018.

After this measure, Fepafut announced the suspension, until further notice, of the national team training (with the local players), until they have to face their next World Cup qualifying match which will take place on June 7 in Panama.

(La Prensa)

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He’s still got it: Mariano Rivera sets personal best for saves in a month

Sports SectionWithout question, hesitation or doubt, New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer to ever step onto a baseball diamond (and that is extremely hard for us to admit, as we loathe to compliment the Evil Empire).

Well, even at the ripe ole’ age of 43, after 12 All-Star games, five World Series rings and with a Major League record of 617 saves, Rivera is still doing things even he himself has never done.

Seriously.

Simply known to generations of Yankees fans as “Mo,” the last player still wearing the No. 42 (it was retired by MLB in honor of Jackie Robinson, but Rivera was grandfathered in because he was wearing it before the league-wide retirement) has still got it.

Oh yes, and did we mention that he spent all of last year recovering from a torn ACL only to come back and dominate like he has thus far?

Yeah, that too.

Editor's Comment: So technically speaking, Mariano Rivera had the best April of his career. He converted all eight of his save opportunities since opening day, and now has a total of 617. He's on pace for another 40+ season, which he has already done eight times, most recently during his last full season in 2011 when he notched 44 before getting hurt early in the 2012 season. Mo's back, baby...

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War Between Brewers Affects Fepafut

Sports SectionA trade dispute between the country's major brewer companies reaches one of the most popular sports of the country: soccer.

The dispute triggered a seizure of properties from the Panamanian Football Federation (Fepafut) in the amount of $7 million, which in one way or another affects the performance of the team of a country that dreams about going to Brazil 2014.

The conflict arises after Cerveceria Baru Panama led Fepafut to a commercial arbitration after the alleged non-compliance of a sponsorship contract of 120 thousand dollars per year, from 2010 to 2014.

This dispute started in December 2012 when the Fepafut signed a new contract with the Cerveceria Nacional until 2018, for the amount of 10 million dollars.

Cerveceria Baru Panama said in an earlier statement that the decision of cancelling the sponsorship contract was only decided by Fepafut and without justification, which led the company to request arbitration.

This contract, according to the company, included the entire qualifying stage for the world championship of the team and its participation in it, in the case they qualify. Following the controversial news, the president of Fepafut, Pedro Chaluja, explained that based on the contract they signed back then, they followed the contract termination clause, allowing them to unilaterally terminate the contract under certain conditions, and this decision was moderated through their lawyers.

However, Chaluja assured they notified the company and they even received a written response from Cerveceria Baru Panama acknowledging the right of the federation of terminating the contract, and this is how they were abiding the eighth clause.

"So far, we have found out that Cerveza Panama has seized from the Panamanian Football Federation approximately $7 million. We do not know the composition of these seven million dollars as we have not been formally notified of this lawsuit, "said Chaluja.

The conflict began playing with the finances of the organization. "By investigating through the banks we have realized there is a partial sequestration and the sponsors have informed them that they have received legal notifications ordering to freeze any payment towards Fepafut" he added.

The directors of Fepafut say they have been properly advised and they have to wait until next week, when they are formally notified to determine what is the lawsuit about, why are they being sued, and where is this 7 million dollar number coming from, since the outstanding balance in the contract was only $240,000.(Panama America)

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"The More Preparation Matches, The Better For The Team To Play In The World Cup" - Jorge Dely Valdés

Sports SectionThe coach of the Panamanian team for the U17 World Cup, Jorge Dely Valdés, said his team was very solid in the pre-world cup and his future plans are to resume the team's training on 6 May 2013 and have a lot of preparation matches to be ready for the World Cup, which starts on 17 October 2013 in the United Arab Emirates.

"The team level is at its highest point because it is very strong not only in their attacking but also on the defensive side, although it is true, much is said about the performance of the goalkeeper since all passes are very punctual, but there were also other performances which prevented the goal, but I'll take what was done by the team, "said the coach of the U-17 team

"Training starts again and with more preparation matches, they will be ready with a nice view towards the World Cup, since they have already received invitations to play in some tournaments, but first they have to revise the dates and then make a schedule." Said Jorge Dely Valdes (Telemetro)

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Mexico Beat Panama In CONCACAF U-17 Championship Final

Sports SectionReigning world champions Mexico kept up their recent domination of the junior age category by claiming the 2013 U-17 CONCACAF crown on Friday night. El Tri collected their fifth regional title with an impressive come-from-behind win in the final against hosts Panama to cap an enthralling performance in the eight-day tournament. Runners-up Panama, Honduras and Canada will join the Mexicans as CONCACAF’s representatives in the showpiece event in the United Arab Emirates in October and November.

The Mexicans, coached by the same Raul Gutierrez who led them to world glory on home soil two years ago, sizzled from the start. They opened their account with a tidy 2-0 win over Honduras before booking top spot in their group with a 5-1 demolition of outgunned Cuba in a game in which the fizzy Luis Hernandez grabbed a clinical brace.

A 2-0 win in their quarter-final over Guatemala was enough to see Mexico into the semi-finals and assured them a place at the U-17 world finals. But they weren’t content just to reach the big show, saving their best form for the home stretch. They beat Honduras for the second time in the tournament, this time 3-1, with an emphatic bicycle-kick from Marco Granados to reach the final.

Back-and-forth final

Played in front of a raucous home crowd at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, Mexico looked like wilting under the pressure when they went a goal down five minutes after the interval. However, they showed the spirit of true champions, equalising seven minutes later when Panama goalkeeper Jaime De Gracia put the ball into his own net from a corner. With 20 minutes left to go in the game, Mexico sealed the deal – again from a corner – when Salomon Wbias swung his left boot at the ball and planted it into the net from close range.

A quick look at the stats shows just how dominant the Mexicans were throughout the competition, scoring an incredible 15 goals in five games and conceding just three.

Despite their loss in the final, Panama showed they are the fastest improving nation on CONCACAF’s footballing scene, securing their place in a second-straight U-17 world finals with some very lively performances. Coach Jorge Dely Valdes’s men played a sparkling brand of counter-attacking football, full of energy and cool finishing in front of goal. Ervin Zorilla scored three times and looks to be a real rising star in the region.

After finishing first in their group, the Panamanians came from a goal down to beat Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 and book their place in the semi-finals, where they held firm to beat Canada 2-1.

Honduras and Canada will be pleased with their performances. Having reached the semi-finals, both sides are more than capable of pulling off some upsets come kick-off time in UAE later this year. For Canada coach Sean Fleming, who brings his side back to the U-17 showpiece for the second straight time, it was a job well done. "It is a tremendous feeling and you cannot take these moments for granted," Fleming said. "The boys were immense and to qualify for our second-consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup is a great achievement."

Americans miss out for first time

In one of the biggest shocks of the tournament, USA failed to reach the semi-final round. As a result, the Americans – who boast one of the world’s most consistent and organised junior programs – miss out on the U-17 world finals for the first time in the tournament’s history. Coach Richie Williams said he was “very proud” of his players, who came up short in the quarter-final against Honduras after impressively winning their group.

“We all worked really, really hard and put in 100 per cent,” said USA goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, who conceded three in the USA’s quarter-final loss (3-1). "At the end of the day, we just didn’t get it done. It stinks. We’ll all have learned from this and it’ll make us better players and better individuals. It’s something tough and we’ll have to get stronger and get on with it.”

Mexico, Panama, Honduras and Canada join a growing field of competitors for UAE 2013, which will take place between 17 October and 8 November. So far, Iraq, Iran, Japan, Uzbekistan and UAE (as hosts) have booked their place in the tournament. The rest of the world’s continental qualifying campaigns will take place over the coming months. (FIFA.com)

Editor's Comment: So, Mexico won the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship tournament. Panama ended up in second place as the runner-up, very well done. Canada beat Honduras on penalty kicks so they got third. And Honduras ended up in fourth. Panama did a great job in hosting this tournament.

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Warner and Blazer accused of fraud by CONCACAF

Sports Section(Reuters) - CONCACAF's former leaders Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer were slammed as "fraudulent in their management" of the soccer confederation's affairs by the head of the regional body's Integrity Committee on Friday.

David Simmons presented CONCACAF's congress with a detailed report into allegations of financial mismanagement by former president Warner and ex-general secretary Blazer based on documents and interviews with 38 people.

"I have recounted a sad and sorry tale in the life of CONCACAF, a tale of abuse of position and power, by persons who assisted in bringing the organization to profitability but who enriched themselves at the expense of their very own organizations," said Simmons, a former Barbados chief justice.

Delegates responded angrily to the report with one describing Warner, who is Minister of National Security in the Trinidad and Tobago government, and American Blazer as "white collar thieves".

The report found that Warner, 70, did not disclose to CONCACAF, which represents soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, or world body FIFA that a $25.9 million Center of Excellence was built on land owned by his companies.

"Approximately $26 million of CONCACAF funds went into the Center of Excellence and that is no longer an asset of CONCACAF," said Simmons.

CONCACAF is looking at legal options regarding the Center but Warner released a statement dismissing the report's conclusions.

"I left CONCACAF and turned my back on football two years ago. Since then I have had no interest in any football related matter.

"CONCACAF's report today is of no concern to me and as far as I am aware it is baseless and malicious," he said.

"If after 20 years of being the president of CONCACAF all its committee could have found is some baseless claim against me involving the Center of Excellence then I will continue to sleep very soundly at nights," Warner concluded in his statement.

Blazer was not immediately available to comment but, like Warner, has always previously denied any wrongdoing.

NO CONTRACT

Simmons said Blazer, who stands down from FIFA's executive committee on May 30 when he will be replaced by newly-elected compatriot Sunil Gulati, received more than $20 million in compensation from CONCACAF, including $17 million in commission.

He added that the 67-year-old Blazer worked without a contract from July 18, 1998 and his compensation was discussed only three times in CONCACAF forums during 21 years.

The report also found "no business reason" for the renting of apartments used by Blazer in Manhattan and said the American had also tried to buy property in the Bahamas, in 2007, for about $4 million using football funds.

Blazer was described by Simmons as "entirely negligent" for failing to file income tax returns for CONCACAF in the United States which led to the body losing its tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization.

Concluding his report, Simmons said the auditors used by CONCACAF during the Warner era, Trinidad-based Kenny Rampersad and Company, were not independent and cited documented proof that Warner and Blazer were clients of the firm.

Warner walked away from soccer in 2011 and thus did not have to face a FIFA Ethics Commission inquiry relating to bribery allegations surrounding the body's presidential election while Blazer resigned as general secretary in December that year.

The Integrity Committee was not asked to look into the details of the 'cash for votes' affair that led to the row between Warner and Blazer and their subsequent departures.

HAVELANGE CENTER

Simmons began his address to the congress, including FIFA president Sepp Blatter, by highlighting the case of the Joao Havelange Center of Excellence in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Integrity Committee reported that the Center in which CONCACAF invested at least $25.9 million, some of which included loans from FIFA, was built on land owned by Warner privately and not the confederation.

"Warner represented to FIFA that funds would be used to support development but never told FIFA that Center would be situated on land owned by his companies," said Simmons.

"There is no evidence that Warner or anyone else ever disclosed to the CONCACAF executive committee or congress that lands on which the Center was built was owned by his companies," he said.

Simmons said that in deals surrounding the Center, Warner "deceived persons and organizations" into believing the facility was CONCACAF's and not his.

Simmons said that neither Warner nor Blazer cooperated with the investigation.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Panama U-17 Beat Canada Last Night - Now Advances To Final Championship Game vs. Mexico

Sports SectionBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Panamanian men's Under 17 (U-17) team beat Canada last night 2-1 at the Rommel Fernandez stadium in the ongoing 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, currently being played in Panama.

With this victory Panama is guaranteed at least second place. Their next game will be against Mexico, who advanced to the final championship game by defeating Honduras 3-1.

Now Canada and Honduras will play at 5:00 pm tomorrow, Friday, 19 April 2013 to determine third and fourth place finishes.

Then Panama will play Mexico at 8:00 pm in the championship game. Both of these games will be played at the Rommel Fernandez stadium in Panama City.

The President of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Joseph Blatter arrived in Panama today to attend the 28th CONCACAF Ordinary Congress. The FIFA delegation will also be on hand for the Championship game tomorrow night.

Editor's Comment: Panama's fantastic performance in this tournament bodes well for the future of the national men's team. These players are gaining some invaluable experience on the world stage, which will be even further enhanced when they travel to the UAE to participate in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup between 17 October and 8 November 2013. For example, the US's Landon Donovan won the "Golden Ball" (Most Valuable Player) award in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Cup held in New Zealand - then went on to become one of the best players on the US National Team. Spain's Cesc Fàbregas won the "Golden Ball" award in 2003 - and now he plays for Barcelona and the Spanish national team. Brazil's Anderson won the award in 2005, and now he plays for Manchester United and the Brazil National team. Germany's Toni Kroos won it in 2007, and now he plays for Bayern Munich. So no matter what happens, this experience will almost certainly improve the Panamanian men's team - currently ranked by FIFA at #38 in the world - moving into the future.

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Panama Is Giving It All They Have

Sports SectionAfter beating Canada last night in the Sub-17 championship of the CONCACAF, the Panama Team only worries about Mexico, tomorrow rival regional tournament title.

The Rojita clash tomorrow against the Aztecs, a team that already beat them in a preparation game, however, as national striker Ismael Díaz, since he has faced them before, he knows how to deal with them, meaning they may have the upper hand.

"You can change many things in this match," said the striker Tauro FC. "We know they play very well and have important players, but all that can be countered," added the striker, who has three goals in this tournament.

Díaz said he knows that Mexico, being the reigning world champion in this category, has a good chance of winning, but he warned that Panama "goes with everything".

Panama and Mexico will play tomorrow, starting at 8:00 pm, on the national Panamanian field, Rommel Fernandez. (Prensa)

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Panama vs. Canada Tonight - FIFA U-17 CONCACAF Championship Semi Final

Sports SectionBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Panama men's U-17 football (soccer) team will play Canada tonight at 8:00 pm, in the semifinal game of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Championship.

The game will be played at the Rommel Fernandez stadium in Panama City.

Both Panama and Canada have already qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates between 17 October and 8 November 2013. This winner of this semifinal game will advance to the championship game, while the loser will play one more game to determine a third or fourth place overall finish in the tournament.

Honduras will face the powerhouse Mexico team in the earlier game at 5:00 pm this evening, also at the Rommel Fernandez stadium. Honduras pulled off the upset of the tournament thus far by beating and eliminating the United States in the quarter final game on 14 April 2013. The winner of this game will advance to the final to play for the championship trophy against the winner of the Panama vs. Canada game.

All four of these teams - Panama, Canada, Honduras, and Mexico - have already punched their tickets to advance to the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Castellanos Confident - Promises to Beat, KO Caballero in Panama

Sports SectionWBC silver champion Robinson Castellanos has arrived in Panama for his upcoming fight against local idol Celestino “Pelenchin” Caballero this Saturday.

On his arrival in the airport, Castellanos met with his rival Caballero where they warmly shook hands and posed for press photos.

On his exit from the airport, Mexican Castellanos received all kinds of comments from the fans, and talking with the press he explained: "I’m calm and confident. I had a great preparation and I will win this fight either by KO or decision. I have a great winning strike and I will try to keep it. I want to fight for the world title and I’m sure that I can get it if I win this fight”.

When asked about how hard would be for him to face a tall fighter like Caballero, Castellanos said that it won’t be a problem because he has faced and defeated other fighters like him and that he has also trained for this battle with sparring partners of the same physical stature.

Celestino Caballero is a beloved fighter in Panama, who is an example for its youth. He’s always looking to help his community. Caballero politely and diplomatically commented: “Robin is a great boxer who has a very dangerous punch.” Nevertheless, he promised to defeat Mexican Castellanos to conquer the WBC silver title. (boxingscene.com)

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Panama Is Ranked In 38th Position In The FIFA

Sports SectionPanama is now ranked 38th place in the FIFA rankings.

After earning a draw against the national team of Jamaica (1-1), and winning against their similar rivals from Honduras (2-0), in the CONCACAF Hexagonal qualification for the Brazil World Cup 2014, But in the FiFA charts they have 663 points, they went up three ranks since March, they were ranked in 41st position.

This confirms the statement made last week by the Panamanian Football Federation (FEPAFUT) which, on their website, had published that Panama would have reached that position based on the method of calculation of points used by the FIFA for the monthly ranking.

At the level of the Confederation of Northern, Central American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF), Panama remains in third place, behind Mexico (971 points) and United States (779 points) which are located in positions 14 and 28 of the general ranking charts.

Panama is currently first place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal for the 2014 FIFA World Cup where USA and Mexico stand in 3rd and 5th place respectively.

Spain remains in first place in the FIFA ranking with a total of 1538 points. (Mi Diario)

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U.S. Soccer News: USA U17 Out of FIFA World Cup

Sports SectionYesterday was a sad day for the USA’s U17 Men’s National Team as their hopes of going all the way to the FIFA World Cup were dashed by a serious loss to Honduras.

The U.S. U-17 Men's National Team lost 3-1 to Honduras in the quarterfinals of the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship on Sunday. The loss eliminated the USA from qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. Men’s National Team head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann
's team had also suffered a 2-1 loss to Honduras earlier this year.

The U-17 MNT nearly took the lead in the third minute on a corner kick from midfielder Joel Soñora. Defender Shaquell Moore rose above everybody and his downward header was on target, but cleared off the line by a Honduras defender.

The USA fashioned another superb chance in the 13th minute, with Soñora dancing into the area after a flowing move. He sidestepped his man before trying to poke a shot past onrushing goalkeeper Christian Hernandez, who did well to block the effort.

Honduras grew into the game and generated their first dangerous chance in the 26th minute. Brayan Velazquez latched onto a ball over the top, holding off defender John Requejo, Jr. to get into the area. U.S. goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell came up big with a brave and vital save, springing off his line to smother the shot.

In the 42nd minute, Honduras took the lead. Alvaro Romero collected the ball from a throw in before squaring it for Christopher Alegria, who wound up a full 30 yards from goal to hit a sizzling drive that Caldwell got a hand to, but failed to keep out of the net.

The USA's response was instant, however, with Soñora grabbing the equalizer. Fed by midfielder Christopher Lema, Soñora dribbled and cut in from the left, where he let fly with a shot that flew past Hernandez to tie the score at 1-1 heading into the break.

Honduras reclaimed the lead early in the second half as goalscorer Velazquez turned provider, threading a beautiful pass that deceived the U.S. defense. Alberto Elis timed his run to perfection at the far post to latch on to the ball and poke it past a stranded Caldwell from five yards out in the 57th minute.

Eleven minutes later Honduras doubled their lead off a free kick. Kevin Alvarez struck his shot perfectly, curling the ball over the wall from 23 yards and past Caldwell who was helpless to keep out the world-class effort.

The USA tried to get back into the match, and generated a few chances against an increasingly defensive Honduras side but was unable to pull one back.

The best effort came in the 86th minute when Moore put a shot just wide after a goalmouth scramble. In extra time, Conor Donovan rolled his shot wide of the mark as well.

Additional Notes:

2013 will mark the first time the USA has not competed in the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The USA had qualified for 14 consecutive tournaments before missing out as a result of Sunday's loss vs. Honduras.

U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams made one starting lineup change from the group finale against Guatemala, a 1-0 victory on April 11 to win Group C. Tyler Turner made his first start of the tournament in the midfield. Turner came off the bench as a second-half sub in the first two games of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

Corey Baird pushed up from the midfield to forward against Honduras while Junior Flores was moved to a substitute role after starting the previous match against Guatemala.

Seven players on the USA's starting lineup Sunday have ties to the Development Academy, including six players who are currently registered with Academy clubs.

The USA fell to 7-1-0 against Honduras in CONCACAF Youth Tournaments and Championships in this age group. The U.S. has outscored Honduras 24-8.

On Saturday, two teams clinched a spot in the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup out of the CONCACAF tournament. Canada rallied twice from single-goal deficits to beat Jamaica 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, qualifying for its second straight U-17 World Cup and sixth overall.

Host Panama also clinched a World Cup berth with a 4-2 victory against Trinidad & Tobago, overcoming a first-half deficit. This marks Panama's second-straight U-17 World Cup appearance. (soccernation.com)

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Panama Beats T&T - Advances To FIFA U-17 World Cup

Sports SectionBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - On Saturday night the Panama Under 17 (U-17) national football (soccer) team beat Trinidad and Tobago 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) U-17 Championship tournament, currently being played in Panama.

The tournament is not yet over and a champion still has to be crowned, but the four remaining teams have all earned a berth and will advance to the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be played in the United Arab Emirates between 17 October and 8 November 2013.

Three other teams advanced to the semi finals.

In the first game on Saturday, Canada beat Jamaica 4-2. Canada's next game will be against Panama on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at the Rommel Fernandez stadium in Panama City.

The most surprising upset of the entire tournament was Honduras beating (and eliminating) the United States 3-1 on Sunday. Honduras will advance, and this is the first time the United States will not appear in the FIFA U-17 World Cup since it was created.

Mexico beat Guatemala 2-0, and they will face Honduras on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 8:00 pm.

The winners of these two games will advance to the final, to be played on Friday, 19 April 2013 at 8:00 pm. The losers will play in the early game at 5:00 pm to determine third and fourth place.

In an earlier report I had incorrectly reported Panama had never participated in a FIFA U-17 tournament. They went to the tournament in 2011 and played a total of four games. In the Groups stage the beat Burkina Faso but lost to Germany and Ecuador. The three points from one win was enough to advance to the "Round of 16" where they faced the powerhouse Mexico in the first game, lost 0-2, and were eliminated.

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Panama U-17 Team Will Advance With Win Over Trinidad and Tobago Today

Sports SectionBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The U-17 football (soccer) Championship for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) is currently being played in Panama.

Panama has already advanced out of the group stage in first place for Group A with four points.

Twelve teams started in the tournament on 6 April 2013, and eight have advanced to the knockout phase - Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Jamaica, United States, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. Four teams have already been eliminated - Barbados, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Cuba.

The eight remaining teams will play this weekend with the losers eliminated. All four of the surviving teams will earn a ticket to the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates between 17 October and 8 November 2013. The four remaining teams will play out the tournament to determine a Champion as well as the second, third, and fourth place finishers.

Panama will play against Trinidad and Tobago today at 8:00 pm at the Estadio Agustín Sánchez in La Chorrera. This is a very big deal for Panama, which has never appeared in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which started in 1985. These players are considered to be the future of the Panamanian men's national soccer team, who would be getting some valuable experience on a world stage with a trip to the UAE.

Also today Canada plays Jamaica at the same stadium at 5:00 pm. Then tomorrow the US plays Honduras at 5:00 pm, followed by Mexico vs. Guatemala at 8:00 pm.

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Mariano Rivera Made The Whole Yankee Stadium Arise

Sports SectionAt 43 years of age, Mariano Rivera was able to return from a serious ligament injury in his right knee, and to bring 40,000 spectators to their feet, who came to watch the game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Rivera vindicated his condition as winner and with a special charisma, loved by fans and feared by opponents, as the Red Sox players who could not keep up with his pitches, left them with a 4-2 loss to the Yankees.

It was the first victory the Yankees had achieved this season, thanks to Rivera and the 40,611 fans who were winning this season against the Bronx Bombers, they forgot about the low temperatures at Yankee Stadium and heated it up with a standing ovation for Rivera.

Rivera took the ball from lefty starter Andy Pettitte to end the eighth inning and after receiving a standing ovation of the fans followed by "Enter Sandman" by Metallica playing on Yankee Stadium speakers, he did his job.

The veteran Panamanian pitcher was not intractable because he allowed one hit, one earned run, gave up a base on balls, and recorded one strikeout.

But did his job and got his first save after almost a year of absence from the field after overcoming a serious right knee injury he suffered last May, which prevented him from continuing in the competition.

Rivera at age 43 already has announced that at the conclusion of this season, he will retire from active competition, but for the moment he recorded his 69th save in games in which Pettitte was the starter, a new record for the big leagues.

The veteran Panamanian pitcher got the third out with a strikeout, against rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and earned his first save since 30 April 2012 when he faced the Baltimore Orioles.

Rivera also began his nineteenth season with the Yankees, breaking the team record he had shared with the legendary Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter. When Jeter returns from an injury he will share the record with the veteran Panamanian pitcher.

The catcher Francisco Cervelli homered for the Yankees, who gave an unexpected offensive boost decimated by four absences: Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.

In another game, Mexican starter Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings of the game to the Baltimore Orioles which won 6-3 at Tampa Bay Rays.

In Toronto there was a rain of home runs and they had the mark of Dominican bats that helped the home team Blue Jays win against the Indians 10-8 and made them achieve their first win of the season.

The Hispanic J.P. Arencibia hit two solo homers, Edwin Encarnación hit one of three homers and Jose Bautista hit another two for the Blue Jays.

The Dominican connection of the Blue Jays left José Reyes 3-1, three runs scored, Melky Cabrera 3-0, one run scored, Bautista 4-1, a run scored and three RBIs; Encarnacion 4-1, a run scored and three RBIs, and Emilio Bonifacio 4-2, one run scored.

His compatriot Carlos Santana also homered against the Indians.

The Cuban Yoenis Céspedes continued on with his bat and hit two home runs, helping the Oakland Athletics 8-2 win against the Seattle Mariners in what was the first victory of his team in the new season.

Cespédes hit his homer in the sixth inning and was the second homer since the competition began in the majors.

His compatriot, the closer Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth interleague which Cincinnati Reds won 5-4 against the Angels in Los Angeles and got his first save of the season.

Chapman gave up a single to Mike Trout and advanced to second base, but Albert Pujols was removed with a high ball and Josh Hamilton struck out.

The day also had Latin American protagonist in the offices after the shortstop, Elvis Andrus, signed a contract of an extension for eight years with the Texas Rangers and $ 120 million.

While the veteran closer, José Valverde came back with the Detroit Tigers and a minor league contract. (Dia A Dia)

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Panama Finally Achieves Victory And Leads In The Hexagonal

Sports SectionWith goals from their star attackers Luis Tejada and Blas Perez, the Panamanian team this evening Tuesday, March 26, reached their first victory in its history in a hexagonal round, beating Honduras 2-0, leads the qualifiers for the Brazil World Cup 2014.

It was a game which in the opening minutes gave the impression that the Panamanians were going to dominate the game with some comfort after a goal by Tejada, when only a minute of the match had passed.

Rommel Fernández stadium erupted with joy in the presence of about 20,000 fans. It was a blow that woke up the rivals, who felt the need to attack.

And so it was. The Hondurans played hard and smart, making Panama look bad in the field. The draw goal did not fall through because of the defense and good performance of goalkeeper Luis Mejia Manotas.

In the second half, nothing changed with a set of Honduras attacking strongly towards parity and they were failing. That attack got in trouble with the Panamanians who managed to attack too.

It seemed it was a matter of time before the Hondurans paired the match. But in those moments when they were cornered, Panamanian players showed their skill when Nelson Barahona passed the ball to Blas Perez who was left alone with the keeper and after 75 minutes in game, Panama scored again and caused delirium in the stands.

With the goal now leaving it at 2-0, Panama reacted and tried to capitalize on the backlash and the defense gave their best effort for the win. When the referee, the American Jair Marrufo, decreed the end of the match the joy was experienced in the field and the stands.

WIN TO LEAD

The victory fell at a good time because the Panamanian came together four consecutive draws and their attackers did not score since last September.

With this result, Panama was the leader of the hexagon with five points, followed with four: United States, Costa Rica and Honduras, Mexico with three points and Jamaica in last with two points.

The next clash of Panama will be June 7th against Mexico at the Rommel Fernández stadium in Panama City. The audience that attended the Rommel Fernández to support the team spent their holiday with a victory which puts the country to dream of qualifying for the Brazil World Cup 2014.

The safety device allocated for this match took the stage to prevent further incidents mainly because FIFA had warned that if the public threw objects onto the field, the next game would be only on TV.

REACTIONS

"Live the match with greater intensity," was what Panamanian coach Julio Dely Valdes said, who had to run the game from the stands, serving FIFA.

His twin brother George was with the team during the confrontation. "This will be very tight and even. We do not celebrate anything, but I enjoy the leadership, "added the coach, who noted that even though the set did not show their best game, they took all three points at home.

For his part, the director of Honduras, Luis Fernando Suarez said that there was no need to dramatize the defeat and they just had to work for the matches to come.

This hexagonal round of the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean, classified three teams directly to the World Cup Brazil 2014, while the country is in the fourth position, they are entitled to go to a playoff with New Zealand winning the elimination round of Oceania. (Prensa)

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Panama vs. Honduras Tonight In FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying

Sports SectionIn a game in which the boys will be separated from the men, today Panama will clash with Honduras in the third game of the Hexagonal.

The Rommel Fernandez stadium will be painted red to support La Roja in their goal of winning their first game in a Hexagonal before Honduras at 9:00 pm tonight.

Panama, currently at third place in the Hexagonal with 2 points, is coming off of their 1-1 draw against Jamaica.

Honduras, with 4 points and in first place, just played Mexico to a 2-2 draw at home.

Honduras has an advantage over Panama in the playoffs. In eight games played, the Hondurans have five wins, one draw and two defeats.

The teams played in 2012.

Panama surprised Honduras 2-0 in San Pedro Sula with Blas Perez scoring both goals.

In the home game they tied 0-0 in the Rommel.

Panama suffers two absences: the coach Julio Dely has been suspended one game by FIFA, and Alberto Quintero will miss the game due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

The Honduran Carlos Costly and Panama's Armando Cooper are in doubt, due to injury. The American Jair Marrufo will be the referee. (Siglo)

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Jamaica vs. Panama, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Luis Henriquez salvages point for Los Canaleros

Sports SectionBy Jeremiah Oshan - Defender Luis Henriquez scored a 66th minute equalizer as Panama pulled out a 1-1 tie on the road against Jamaica on Friday in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The goal, which came on a blast from about 20 yards out, was assisted by Blas Perez.

Both teams are now have two points through two matches, which was tied with Mexico for second place when the match ended.

Until the equalizer, Jamaica seemed to be on their way toward to a win that would have put them atop the Hexagonal. Bristol City's Marvin Elliott scored a 23rd minute header off a Rodolph Austin corner kick. It was Elliott's first international goal in just his third cap.

Despite the game being played in Kingston, Panama were the aggressor for much of the match. They had more than 60 percent of possession and outshot the hosts 10-9.

Panama will next host Honduras on March 26. While Jamaica's next match is the same day in Costa Rica. (sbnation.com)

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