Gold Cup: Ugly scenes as Mexico beat Panama in semi-finals

The Panama players pose with a banner that translates as "Concacaf thieves. Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt"
The Panama players pose with a banner that translates as "Concacaf thieves. Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt"

Players clashed and items were thrown from the stands as Mexico won a controversial Gold Cup semi-final against Panama to set up a match with surprise finalists Jamaica.

Mexico came from behind courtesy of two penalties - late in normal time and extra time - to win 2-1 in Atlanta.

Panama's Luis Tejada was sent off in the first half.

At the end of the match, Panama players charged at the officials, who were escorted from the pitch by security.

Mexico will win a seventh Gold Cup if they beat first-time finalists Jamaica at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

Panama see red

Luis Tejada is sent off
Luis Tejada was sent off in the 25th minute

Already the underdogs, world number 62 side Panama's task was made even harder when forward Tejada was dismissed for a reckless tackle on Mexico's Francisco Rodriguez in the 25th minute.

The Panama players surrounded American referee Mark Geiger in protest.

However, despite their numerical disadvantage, Panama opened the scoring when Roman Torres, who scored the winning goal against Mexico in the semi-finals in 2013, out-muscled Francisco Javier Rodriguez to head home in the 57th minute.

Tempers flare

Mexico and Panama players clash
Mexico's first penalty - deep into injury time - caused a melee

Beaten 2005 and 2013 finalists Panama were seconds away from another final appearance, but were denied when Torres was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area.

This sparked further aggressive protests from Panama players, with fans throwing debris on to the pitch.

Players from both teams confronted each other on the sidelines and had to be separated.

Mexico's Andres Guardado scores the winning penalty
Andres Guardado scored the winning penalty midway through extra time

After a 10-minute delay, Andres Guardado scored his spot-kick to send the game into extra time.

Mexico were awarded another penalty towards late in the first period of extra time when Javier Orozco was fouled by Harold Cummings and Guardado scored the winner.

At the end of the match, further objects were thrown from the stands as the Panama players confronted the referee, who was led off by security.

After the game, the Panama players posed in the changing room with a banner that read "Concacaf thieves. Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt"

BBC Sport attempted to contact Concacaf but were unable to reach them on the telephone for a response.

Officials led off the pitch by security
The match officials were led from the pitch by security at full-time

'Vile robbery'

After the game, Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez said: "I'm shocked. At one moment in the match I thought of retiring from football. I won't because of the group [of players] I have.

"It's the first time this has happened to me, it's hard, I was saying to myself 'I don't want to carry on any longer in football because this was a vile robbery'."

His counterpart, Miguel Herrera, said: "The first [spot kick] was not a penalty but that's not my fault, the fact is we didn't deserve to win the match because we didn't play at all well.

"That's football and it's not ideal. The first wasn't a penalty but the chance fell to us and we made the most of the circumstances (but) we're quite bothered to have won in this manner, playing badly."

Jamaica await

Jamaica became the first Caribbean side to reach the Gold Cup final with a surprise 2-1 win over favourites the United States at a sold-out Georgia Dome.

Darren Mattocks nodded home the first goal in the 31st minute, with Giles Barnes scoring a free-kick five minutes later.

US captain Michael Bradley pulled one back early in the second half but the hosts were unable to break down a stubborn Jamaican defence again.

"We cannot have a party now. We still have one more match," said Jamaican coach Winfried Schaefer. "Bob Marley comes after the match."

Jamaica players celebrate
Jamaica reached their first Gold Cup final with victory on Wednesday