- Panama knock out Mexico from race for France 2019
- World champs USA ease past Trinidad and Tobago
- Top three at eight-nation championship to earn automatic qualification
Panama are one step away from maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ qualification after a stunning 2-0 win eliminated Mexico from the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in Cary on Wednesday.
Mexico had the better of the first half but Panama’s teenage goalkeeper Yenith Bailey was once again in inspired form, crucially saving a penalty in the dying moments of the opening period.
The match turned immediately after the restart as Karla Riley fired home a high-quality volley to give Panama the advantage. That left Mexico chasing the game and the Central Americans put the contest out of sight thanks to Lineth Cedeno’s strike in the latter stages.
The result lifts Panama, who were making their return to the tournament after 12 years, into their first-ever continental semi-final.
Mexico finished third in the group and will miss their first Women's World Cup since 2007.
In the late match, USA made it three wins from three to top Group A with a confident 7-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago.
There were doubles from Alex Morgan and Rose Lavelle as the Stars and Stripes posted seven goals by the hour mark amid heavy rain.
Group B will conclude on Thursday evening with Canada and Jamaica currently in pole position to win a semi-final berth.
The top three teams will qualify for France, while a fourth will meet Argentina in an intercontinental play-off next month.