CONCACAF Gold Cup Preview: Dely Valdes targets improvement for Mexico clash
By Football News
Julio Dely Valdes wants his Panama side to improve in their CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final, even though they won 6-1 last time out.
Dely Valdes' men were convincing winners over Cuba in their last-16 tie on Saturday, setting up a meeting with Mexico - who scraped a 1-0 victory against Trinidad and Tobago - in the semi-finals.
Panama were 2-1 ahead at half-time, having been a goal down, but a goal spree in 20 second-half minutes ensured they racked up the highest-scoring quarter-final in Gold Cup history.
However, Panama boss Dely Valdes wants his side to be more professional, starting with their game against a Mexico side they defeated 2-1 in their opening game of the competition.
"The team could have scored another one, but there are things that we must improve because in some moments of the game, we had too much overconfidence," the 46-year-old told the official Gold Cup website.
"We have to be serious and the team has to demonstrate they are superior. It was a good game and they showed it."
Mexico needed an 84th-minute winner to see off Trinidad and Tobago in their last-eight clash, with Raul Jimenez getting the all-important goal.
While Jose Manuel de la Torre's side have not been profilic in the tournament - unlike Panama - they have been tight defensively, keeping two clean sheets and conceding just three times.
Two of those goals came against Dely Valdes' outfit in the group stage, and Mexico will need to avenge that loss if they are to take another step towards claiming their third consecutive Gold Cup.
But Miguel Layun, who supplied the cross for Jimenez's goal against Trinidad and Tobago, believes the relative inexperience of his team-mates may prove an issue.
"We had a really short time to prepare for this cup," he said.
"I think that’s really going to be the difference. It’s going to be a really interesting game."
Thursday's other semi-final sees the USA face Honduras, with the former having beaten El Salvador in the last eight while the latter overcame Costa Rica.