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Jul 21, 2021 at 2am UK
FT(HT: 2-0)
Frank (76')
Norburn (26'), Ettienne (30')

Preview: Panama vs. Grenada - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's CONCACAF Gold Cup clash between Panama and Grenada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Panama need a big win and a lot of help in their final group match at the Gold Cup against Grenada on Tuesday from Exploria Stadium.

La Marea Roja lost 3-2 to Honduras on Saturday, while Grenada were officially eliminated with a second successive 4-0 defeat.

Match preview

Panama's Adolfo Machado celebrates scoring his side's equaliser against Brazil on March 23, 2019© Reuters

The Panamanians have been the model of consistency at the group stage of the Gold Cup, progressing to least the quarter-finals at each of their previous eight tournaments, but that streak is in serious jeopardy this time around.

Panama seemed to be in control versus Honduras on Saturday, leading 2-1 at the half, but they got complacent in half number two and conceded two goals in four minutes, and they now have just one point from two matches.

While very attractive to watch, the wide-open attacking football style may not have been the most successful formula for Thomas Christiansen and his team in their first two games against two teams with many offensive potencies.

They have no choice now but to throw caution to the wind and try to score often against Grenada in their final match, as they need Qatar to lose their last game, and they need to win by at least five goals themselves if they want to keep their quarter-final streak intact.

Since losing their final group stage match at the 2018 World Cup, 2-1 to Tunisia, the Panamanians have never lost a match when scoring first, although they have not won a game when conceding the opener since their final World Cup qualifier in 2017 versus Costa Rica, coming back to win that game 2-1.

After allowing four goals in their opening fixture of this tournament, Grenada followed that up with another poor display against Qatar, losing by the same scoreline.

Perhaps the best news for them heading into their final group match is that this will be their last game of this competition, a tournament that has shown them how far they still have to go to be competitive in this region.

Grenada had only 36% possession in their second match at this tournament as they were outshot 21-5 and allowed nine shots on target, so the fact that they only allowed four goals might be a minor miracle in and of itself.

Manager Michael Findlay backed his side following their 4-0 defeat to Honduras, saying that they were full of confidence and that their future was bright, but after suffering a second lopsided defeat, one has to wonder if that confidence has been shaken.

If they can find a way to earn their first-ever victory at the Gold Cup on Tuesday, it will be considered a successful tournament, but history is not on their side as they have lost all eight matches that they have played at this competition, and they have been outscored 33-1.

Panama CONCACAF Gold Cup form:
  • D
  • L

Panama form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L

Grenada CONCACAF Gold Cup form:
  • L
  • L

Grenada form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Panama manager Thomas Christiansen pictured in 2018© Reuters

Panama right-back Eric Davis scored from the penalty spot for a second successive match, while 25-year-old Cesar Yanis scored his first international goal in a losing effort to Honduras.

Christiansen made one change to the back four on Saturday, with Roderick Miller replacing Richard Peralta in the starting 11.

Their third-highest all-time leading goalscorer, Gabriel Torres, has yet to see the field in this competition.

Jamal Charles came on as a substitute versus Qatar, with the third-highest goalscorer in Grenada history now without a goal in his last six games.

Findlay went with the same back four as he did in their opener, and it produced the same result, while Jason Belfon got the start in goal, but he could not fare any better than his predecessor Reice Charles-Cook.

Midfielder A.J. Paterson has been one of the lone bright spots for this team at this tournament, playing the full 90 minutes of both matches, while Dejon Noel-Williams started as the lone striker versus Honduras, but he could not get the service needed to have any quality chances.

Panama possible starting lineup:
Mejia; Palacios, Peralta, Cummings, Davis; Cooper, Yanis; Rodriguez, Machado; Blackburn, Fajardo

Grenada possible starting lineup:
Belfon; Sterling, Pierre, Paul, Ettienne; Charles-Cook, Norburn, Paterson, McQueen; Lewis, Charles

SM words green background

We say: Panama 3-0 Grenada

Given what the Panamanians need to do in order to have a chance to advance, do not expect to see them show any mercy to the Spice Boys in this game.

Grenada came into this tournament losing to a team seeded 20 places below them in the FIFA World rankings in Montserrat, and they have only fired five shots on target in their two group games in this Gold Cup.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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