Panama defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 to secure the first FIFA U-20 World Cup finals victory in the country’s history and to seal their place in the Round of 16 for the first time.
Los Canaleros opened the scoring with a well-worked goal down the left flank. Jorge Mendez played in Ernesto Walker, who found Axel McKenzie with a short cut-back pass, and the Tauro forward finished from close range with his first touch.
Nawaf Alghamdi came up with a couple of saves to keep Saudi Arabia within touching distance, and those stops proved to be even more crucial as the game unfolded.
After the break, Green Falcons forward scored a superb equaliser for Saudi Arabia, bringing down right-back Saud Abdulhamid’s pinpoint long-range cross with his right foot before turning and hitting a left-foot volley past Panama goalkeeper Marcos Allen.
Panama threatened Alghamdi’s goal several times in the second half, with Tomas Rodriguez striking the post before they were finally able to restore their lead.
Angel Orelien’s powerful shot stung the palms of Alghamdi and substitute Diego Valanta was in the right place at the right time to tap into the open goal.
The result means that Panama advance to the Poland 2019 Round of 16, while Saudi Arabia will be heading home after three consecutive losses.