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Gold Cup disgrace
by Paul Kennedy, July 10th, 2009 7AM



[GOLD CUP] Chaos reigned at the Gold Cup Thursday night at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

In another blow to Mexico's reputation, the Tri had to settle for a 1-1 tie with Panama and had Coach Javier Aguirre ejected in a sideline incident with Panamanian Ricardo Phillips.

The former New England Revolution winger was one of three players red carded in a game that needed more than 10 minutes of stoppage time in the second half.

span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">Update: Aguirre was suspended three matches for his actions. In addition, the Mexican Football Federation will be fined $25,000 for the behavior of its bench personnel, who engaged in "serious irresponsible behavior" against Phillips and others that precipitated an unruly reaction from the partisan crowd at Reliant Stadium.

The teams exchanged early goals as Giovani Dos Santos fed Miguel Sabah for Mexico's goal in the 10th minute and Blas Perez equalized in the 29th minute.

The first half ended on an ugly note when Panama's Armando Gun and Mexico's Miguel Luis Noriega were ejected following an altercation, but that was tame compared to the trouble at the end of the second half.

Aguirre appeared to stick out his leg as if to trip Phillips as the Panamanian went by the Mexico bench late in the game.

"It was an imprudent act on my part," Aguirre said. "I sincerely regret it. It was a product of passion. The Panamanian team deserves an apology as well."

Aguirre claimed he was simply trying to get the ball but he was red carded along with Phillips, who shoved the Mexico coach.

A barrage of beer cups and other objects were thrown on the field at Phillips as he left the field and later Mexican supporters tossed at an injured Perez.


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