Bahamas and Panama gave this World Beach Games - Qualifier El Salvador a truly brilliant opening, with a game with fourteen goals, drama, comebacks, and even a penalty kick shootout... And that was just the first game in the competition.
Bahamas stepped into the fight in full strength, and Panama found it impossible to counteract the inspiration of the Baha Boyz, who built a consistent 4-goal advantage during the first 12 minutes.
The 2017 Concacaf champions did not let that wide deficit take them out of the game, and got themselves ready to fight to overcome that disadvantage. And they brilliantly did, indeed, with a stunning 5-0 run to turn score around from 0-4 to 5-4. Gavin Christie, before the time ended, would come to Bahama's rescue, tapping in the 5-5 to put the Panamanian momentum to an end.
After one period clearly dominated by each team, the third one became a stroke exchange that had Bahamas ahead again, only to see Panama counteract to turn things around again. Lesley St. Fleur would balance things bag for the Caribbean side, with the 7-7 midway into the last leg.
The score would not move again despite very clear chances on both ends, and the battle progressed to extra time. Goal chances did not stop in the supplementary three minutes, but none of the teams would take advantage of them, so the penalty kick shootout became the only way to decide the first semi-finalist of this World Beach Games - Qualifier El Salvador.
During the shootout, Panama stayed perfect to grasp a win that seemed impossible only some minutes before, and grasped the first berth at the semifinals of this World Beach Games - Qualifier El Salvador.
Goals: 0-1: Thompson, min. 10 (1); 0-2: St Fleur, min. 6(1); 0-3: Butler, min. 4 (1); 0-4: Munnings, min. 1 (1); 1-4: X. García, min. 6(2); 2-4: Maquensi, min. 5 (2); 3-4: Munnings (og), min. 5(2) 4-4: Rafael García, min. 1 (2); 5-4: Del Rosario, min. 1(2); 5-5: Christie, min. 0(2); 5-6: Butler, min. 11 (3) 6-6: Maquensi, min. 9 (3); 7-6: Rangel, min. 6(3); 7-7: St. Fleur, min. 5 (3);
Penalty kick shootout: Galvez, goal; Williams, goal; Rafael García, goal; Francois, saved; Rangel, goal;
WORLD BEACH GAMES - QUALIFIER EL SALVADOR 2019
Saturday 3rd August
11.30 – Panama 7(3)-7(2) Bahamas
12.45 – USA vs Trinidad & Tobago
14.00 – Mexico vs USA (Women)
15.30 – Mexico vs Guatemala
16.45 – Bahamas vs El Salvador (Women)
18.00 – US Virgin Islands vs El Salvador