Panama left the USA’s hopes of qualifying for the Copa America knockout rounds hanging by a thread on Thursday after scoring a shock 2-1 victory over the host nation.

A stormy Group C battle in Atlanta saw both sides finish with 10 men as Panama came from behind to snatch a victory which reignites their Copa campaign after an opening loss to Uruguay

Although Folarin Balogun fired the US into the lead with a screamer from the edge of the area after 22 minutes, Panama got back on level terms only minutes later after Cesar Blackman’s strike.

As the game wore on, however, Panama’s one-man advantage began to take its toll on the weary US side.

The US might have snatched the lead in the 81st minute after Weston McKennie’s fine run and cross found substitute Ricardo Pepi at the far post. Pepi’s tame header fell into the arms of Panama goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera, however, to leave it at 1-1.

That miss proved costly, as with seven minutes remaining, Jose Fajardo swept in an emphatic finish from Abdiel Ayarza’s low cross to put Panama 2-1 ahead.

A fractious finale saw Adalberto Carrasquilla sent off after a cynical hack on US captain Christian Pulisic in the dying minutes as Panama hung on for the win.

“That’s soccer at the end of the day. We know what we signed up for and playing in a Copa America, we knew it was going to be a fight,” US midfielder Tyler Adams said afterwards.

“Credit to Panama, they did their job and they got the result. Obviously, I think moving forward, we need to control our emotions in certain situations.

“The team fought for everything after we got the red card. Definitely can’t fault the effort. But by winning the first game we’ve put ourselves still in a position that we have all to fight for in the next game.”

Adams said Weah had apologized for his rash dismissal following the game.

“You never mean to get a red card, under any circumstances,” Adams said of Weah. “He’s not that type of person.

“He apologized to the team. And you know, just respect to the rest of the team because they they fought for every single ball, every single duel, every single minute, and we still created chances even after going down to 10 men.”

The defeat means the USA may well need to beat South American heavyweights Uruguay in their final group game next Monday to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Uruguay play Bolivia in Thursday’s late game in Group C.