Diaz hat trick fires Panama into CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal

Ismael Díaz blasted a hat trick in the space of nine second-half minutes as Panama marched into the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 4-0 win over Qatar on Saturday.

Panama will face the winner of the quarterfinal between the United States and Canada, which will be held on Sunday in Cincinnati.

Guest team Qatar had to shuffle their pack, at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, with six players suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards and Panama proved to be too strong for the Asian champions.

The Canalmen took the lead in the 19th when Eric Davis whipped in a great cross from the left and Edgar Barcenas buried a header into the far corner.

The goal rush for Diaz started in the 56th minute when he was fed a perfect through ball by the impressive Adalberto Carrasquilla, burst in from the left and cleverly slotted into the near post.

Diaz made it 3-0 with a poacher’s finish after Carrasquilla’s drive blocked and after a brief scramble the ball fell to the Panama striker, who picked his spot for his second.

The hat trick was completed when, after smart exchange with Jose Fajardo, Diaz burst away from the Qatari defenders and fired home with confidence.

Later on Saturday, Mexico take on Costa Rica while Sunday’s other quarter sees Jamaica up against Guatemala.

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