A spokesperson for Canada Soccer confirmed on Thursday that Canadian winger Richie Laryea said a Panamanian player spat at him in the dying minutes of the World Cup qualifying game at BMO Field.
Laryea, who did not speak to the media after the game, stopped the game in the 89th minute as he tried to make a throw-in at center field on the east side of the stadium. Moments earlier, Panamanian winger Edgar Barcenas had recovered the ball and returned it to Laryea before stepping back.
Laryea suddenly dropped the ball and threw his hands up in the air as the fans sitting behind him rose in anger.
Canadian captain Steven Vitoria immediately rushed to US referee Armando Villarreal in protest, then looked for assistant referee nearby, while another Canadian player protested. Laryea began to wave a finger at Barcenas face as the players gathered as the Panamanian winger protested his innocence.
The game finally continued without any penalty.
The bad blood continued after the final whistle with Laryea still smoking. The Toronto FC player, who eventually had to be pulled out by his teammates, could be heard on television asking a match official to review the video.
Canada was the antagonist earlier in the game, triggering a scrimmage in the 45th minute when Doneil Henry, one of the Canadian substitutes, stayed put as neighboring Barcenas stepped back in an attempt to take a corner. Panamanian defender Eric Davis came over and attempted to move the kneeling Henry away. prompting Canadian star Alphonso Davies and others to step in.
The confrontation finally pushed the two benches to empty but no penalty was imposed.
“Look, these are two teams (whose) dreams are at stake. Their countries’ hopes and dreams,” Canada coach John Herdman said after the game when asked about the dispute. both teams. “And that’s what we instilled. in this group.
“It’s life or death for us. We will fight. We will fight to the end for this country… Our goal is bigger and stronger than any other CONCACAF team. We haven’t been to a World Cup since 1986. These teams have. So when you try to take that away from us, we get there – everyone, the bench, the players, the substitutes, the whole squad. We are all together. “
“It is not pleasant to see and I do not endorse what is happening,” he added. “But at the same time, our country needs us to fight. We cannot back down at any time now. This group of boys is one. They will rise as one and we will fall as one. I think you’ve seen this new Canada. We’re not going to be the peacekeepers, we’re not going to let people step on us. We are here to fight and fight for this country’s dream of reaching (the 2022 World Cup in) Qatar. At any rate. “
Villarreal distributed five yellow cards in the evening, four in Panama and one in Canada.