Panama substitute booted ball away from Costa Rica to help send country to the 2018 World Cup

He really wanted to go to the 2018 World Cup...

On October 11th, 2017, Panama booked their place at the FIFA World Cup for the very first time.

The nation's 2-1 victory over Costa Rica - coupled with the United States of America's shock defeat to Trinidad & Tobago - saw them qualify for the festival of football out in Russia.

It really was one of the craziest nights in the history of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

And to make the whole thing even more bonkers, Panama's game that saw them reach the biggest footballing stage of all was littered with controversy.

In the second half of the match, Gabriel Torres was credited with an equalising goal, despite the fact that replays showed that the ball had not crossed the line.

Video: Panama's infamous 'ghost goal' vs Costa Rica

It was a horrendous error from the officials, one that could not be overturned due to the fact that goal line technology was not in operation.

Panama's Roman Torres - no relation to Gabriel - then grabbed a dramatic winner in the 87th-minute to send his country to the 2018 World Cup and eliminate the US.

The scorer of what turned out to be the game's decisive goal was far from the home team's only hero late on in the match, though.

GMS Giveaway


When the ball rolled out for a throw-in while Costa Rica were chasing a late equaliser, a Panama substitute - who was Jose Gonzalez, according to The Telegraph - sprinted over and proceeded to smash the ball into Row Z.

Take a look at the incident here...

Video: Panama sub wastes time by smashing ball into Row Z

If you're a Panama fan, it was pure genius. If you're Costa Rican (or American for that matter), it was nothing more than an act of petty unsportsmanship.

For the neutral, it was a truly remarkable incident and something that we haven't seen repeated on the international stage since.

Panama failed to pick up a single point at the 2018 World Cup, but they did at least score a goal in their games against England and Tunisia.

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