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2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League, League A
  • Raúl Jiménez (8', 85' PEN)
  • Edson Álvarez (70')

Raul Jimenez nets twice as Mexico handles Panama in Nations League

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Two goals and an assist from Raul Jimenez fired Mexico to a 3-0 victory over Panama on Friday to confirm El Tri's place in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals next June.

Jimenez opened the scoring in the 8th minute in a scrappy game in Estadio Rommel Fernandez, set up a Edson Alvarez's tap in in the 70th and sealed the win with a late penalty.

"I'm happy with the result, because historically we don't do well here [but] the goals went through for us," Jimenez said.

The win improves Mexico to nine points from its three Group B Nations League games and means El Tri will be in June's semifinals, while struggling Panama, who was booed off the field by its own fans, is in second place, above Bermuda only on goal difference.

Mexico coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino praised his team's performance, which has won eight of its last nine competitive matches.

"It's been a good year. I have a pretty clear idea of how we are playing and with the inclusion of several young players to the team," Martino said. "There is still much to improve. We hope to have a 2020 that leaves us with the same feelings as 2019."

Mexico took the game to Panama and ended up winning comfortably, although the game was punctuated by a total of 33 fouls, which disrupted the flow.

"Things didn't go our way, but this means we have to work harder, because the squad knows things aren't done yet," Panama captain and Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres said. "We have to get better if we want to achieve our dream of the World Cup [in 2022]."

Jimenez finished a swift Mexico move that started with goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and ended up with Rodolfo Pizarro setting up Roberto Alvarado, who laid the ball off for the Wolves striker to net from inside the penalty area.

"I'm still learning, I always want to improve, being the best forward and player," Jimenez added. "Over [at Wolverhampton] I am perfecting it, I'm doing well and can do more. You always have to enjoy it, for me it's always a proud moment to play as if its my last game."

Panama didn't create much in the first half, but Mexico had to wait until midway through the second period to extend its lead, with Jimenez firing in a low cross from the right for Ajax's Alvarez to steer in.

Jimenez wrapped up the scoring from the penalty spot, after Uriel Antuna had been brought down.

Mexico's final game in the group stage of the Nations League is on Tuesday against Bermuda in Toluca.