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New York Red Bulls defenders Michael Murillo, Fidel Escobar struggle in Panama’s loss to England

Panama's Fidel Escobar, right, and England's Raheem Sterling battle for the ball during the group G match between England and Panama at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod , Russia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Victor Caivano)

Playing in their country’s first World Cup appearance will provide lasting memories for Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar.

But there’s few positives the New York Red Bulls defenders can take from Panama’s 6-1 loss to England in a Group G match at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday.

After positive performances in their World Cup debut, despite a 3-0 defeat to Belgium on Monday, Murillo and Escobar struggled for Los Canaleros, who were eliminated from advancement to the knockout round.

Though to be fair, there was plenty of blame to be shared in the lopsided defeat.

Both were in Hernan Dario Gomez’s unchanged starting XI and both also played the full 90 minutes. It was Murillo’s last action in Russia after the left back was booked in a second consecutive match and will serve a one-game suspension in Panama’s final group stage match against Tunisia Thursday at Mordovia Arena in Saransk.

John Stones ran around a pick to free himself of Murillo to latch onto a Kieran Trippier corner and beat Jamie Penedo with an open header to put England in front, 1-0, in the eighth minute.

Murillo responded well, stripping Harry Kane of the ball in the 14th minute and two minutes later spun around Raheem Sterling and walked a tightrope along the touchline to send a ball to Edgar Barcenas, whose curling attempt was just wide of the far post.

Escobar knocked over Jesse Lingard inside the box resulting in the first of two Kane penalty kicks to put the Three Lions in front, 2-0, in the 22nd minute.

Like Murillo, Escobar had a couple of positive moments in the second half, sliding to win the ball from Jordan Henderson and then beating Raheem Sterling in a race for the ball, resulting in a foul by the Manchester City forward.

As he did against Belgium, Murillo snuck in for a scoring chance, but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford got to the ball first before a collision.

Five minutes later, Murillo pulled down Sterling after a poor first touch, essentially ending his first World Cup experience.




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