Colombia into Copa quarters after romp while Brazil rolls

ATLANTA: Timothy Weah’s crazy moment left America’s Copa America campaign in limbo on Thursday as the hosts suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Panama.

Juventus winger Weah was sent off in the 18th minute after a tumultuous clash with Panama’s Roderick Miller in Group C at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Although Folarin Balogun gave the United States the lead four minutes after Weah’s dismissal, Panama’s extra man advantage eventually paid off and the Central Americans fought back with goals from Cesar Blackman and Jose Fajardo to win.

Defeat means the U.S. will almost certainly have to win or draw against mighty Uruguay in their final group game next Monday to advance to the knockout rounds.

US coach Gregg Berhalter said after the loss that Weah’s red card was the defining moment of the match, describing Weah’s actions as “stupid”.

“Obviously the game-changing event is the red card and it puts us in a difficult position, but that’s what we expected from them,” Berhalter said.

“I can’t fault the group’s effort, especially after taking a man down. The guys went at it and we were close to getting a point. But it’s a shame because there was more to this game and Timmy’s stupid decision leaves us.”

Weah, meanwhile, took to social media to apologize for his red card.

“A moment of frustration had irreversible consequences, so I’m very sorry to my teammates, coaches, family and fans,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I sincerely apologize to everyone. My love for this team goes beyond football and I’m very sad and angry at myself for putting my brothers through what they went through tonight.”

Berhalter’s side could have taken the lead in the 81st minute after Weston McKennie’s superb run and cross found substitute Ricardo Pepi at the far post. However, Pepi’s gentle header fell into the arms of the Panamanian goalkeeper, Orlando Mosquera, making it 1-1.

That miss proved costly as Fajardo emphatically swept in Abdiel Ayarza’s low cross to put Panama 2-1 up with seven minutes remaining.

In a frantic finale, Adalberto Carrasquilla was sent off after he cynically hacked US captain Christian Pulisic in the dying minutes as Panama held on for victory.

“This is football at the end of the day. We know what we signed up for, and we’re playing in the Copa America, we knew it would be a fight,” American midfielder Tyler Adams said afterward.

“Kudos to Panama, they did their job and got the result. Obviously, I think that moving forward, we have to control our emotions in certain situations.

“The team fought for everything after we got the red card. Definitely can’t fault the effort. But by winning the first game, we still put ourselves in a position that we all have to fight for in the next game.”

Adams said Weah apologized for his hasty dismissal after the match.

“You never want to get a red card under any circumstances,” Adams said of Weah. “He’s not that kind of person.

“He apologized to the team. And you know, just respect the rest of the team because they fought for every single ball, every single matchup, every single minute, and we still created chances, even down to 10 men.”

Uruguay faced Bolivia in Thursday’s late game in Group C.

Leave a Comment