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Copa America 2016: Perez Brace Helps Panama Clinch Victory Over Bolivia 2-1

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Blas Perez scores twice to give Panama their first ever victory, as they beat Bolivia 2-1 in the group stage encounter on Monday.

Panama clearly dominated the first half with Perez giving them the lead in the 11th minute.

Cooper sent a through ball on to the left to find Quintero. The winger set it up for Perez, who pushed the ball into the net, beyond the reach of Bolivian goalkeeper Lampe.

Bolivia almost snatched the equaliser in the 19th minute. Smedberg whipped a clinical pass from a free-kick to find Duk at the centre, who headed the ball onto the corner but was denied by Penedo.

Panama maintained the pressure, controlling the midfield and had a chance to double their lead in the 27th minute. Quintero set it up for Perez at the near post but the striker’s first time effort was saved by Lampe.

Things looked better for the Bolivian side after the restart and they looked desperate to come back into the game.

Arce levelled the score in the 54th minute to bring back Bolivia into the game. An incredible set-piece delivery from Smedberg set the stage for Arce to fire a blinder into the top of the net.

Bolivia had the chance to go ahead in the 60th minute but Cummings came to Panama’s rescue. A goof up in the Panama defence unable to control a route one ball over the top gave Duk a sure chance to score with only the keeper to beat. Duk struggled to maintain composure and Cummings won the ball from behind to deny Bolivia a sure scoring chance.

Panama stepped up the gas and had the chance to edge past Bolivia in the 74th minute but was denied by Lampe. Godoy whipped in a brilliant lob through to find Quintero at the far post. The winger was swift to control and the ball and nudged a shot towards the near post, but brilliant reflex from the Bolivan keeper thumped the ball behind for a corner.

Both the teams battled neck to neck in the dying minutes but Panama had the last laugh with Perez scoring the winner in the 87th minute to seal their first ever Copa America victory.

Arroyo brilliantly set up Perez who had all the time to tap the ball into the empty net.

The Bolivian squad for today’s match has been announced

OPTA FACTS

Panama will be Bolivia’s 15th different opponent in the Copa America.

Bolivia have met a Concacaf Nation seven times in the Copa America, winning two (vs Mexico and USA) and losing three (two vs Costa Rica and one vs Honduras).

Panama will play their first Copa America. Indeed, their last continental competition was the Copa Oro 2015 when they finished third after defeating USA in a penalty shootout.

MATCHUP HISTORY

August 20 2008 – Panama 0, Bolivia 1
March 25 2011 – Panama 2, Bolivia 1
August 10 2011 – Panama 3, Bolivia 1

Part of the training in the Bolivian camp this morning

The Pananma squad has been announced.

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