Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Crucial Panama World Cup qualifying goal doesn't actually cross line

Crucial Panama World Cup qualifying goal doesn't actually cross line

Four years ago, Graham Zusi's famous goal in stoppage time against Panama eliminated Los Canaleros from the World Cup and extended a lifeline to Mexico, who won an intercontinenal playoff to qualify for the final tournament in Brazil.

While US football fans struggle to come to grips with their team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation, the party is yet to stop for "little" Panama.

In need of a win in order to finish above Honduras (who had just beaten Mexico) on goal difference, Panama suffered an early setback when Johan Venegas sent the already qualified Costa Rica 1-0 up on 36 minutes.

However, when the Costa Rica player went to collect the ball, a Panama substitute put the burners on and beat him to it, smashing the ball away in the process.

The equalising goal came into the box from a corner and deflected off of Gabriel Torres' backside before hitting the inside of the far post.

Panama's first goal against has been dubbed a "ghost goal", after Blas Perez appeared to have been blocked on the line.

The BBC reported President Juan Carlos Varela tweeted an image of himself signing off the public holiday shortly after the victory, writing: "The voice of the people has been heard". They'd cancelled out Costa Rica's opener with a highly controversial equaliser early in the second half, but, with the United States of America heading to a surprise defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, were set for a fifth-place finish.

Referee, Walter Lopez of Guatemala, decided that the ball had crossed the line and gave the goal.

Australia will now play Honduras in an intercontinental playoff next month while the U.S. will miss the World Cup altogether after going down to Trinidad and Tobago.

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