Raul Jimenez ''Hat-Trick'' Completes Heroic America Comeback Over Santos
Mexican National Team hopeful Raul Jimenez led Club America to a thrilling come from behind 5-3 win over Santos Laguna in the first leg match of the Clausura 2014 quarterfinals. Santos at one point held a 1-3 lead but three unanswered goals from Raul Jimenez and one more from Rubens Sambueza gave the Mexico City side the upper hand in the quarterfinal series.
It was Club America who came out and dominated the match from the opening whistle. Miguel Layun on the left wing and Rubens Sambueza along with Osvaldo Martinez through the center looked to set up Luis Gabriel Rey and Raul Jimenez in the box.
The Santos defense seemed to just want to survive the opening onslaught from the host as they could not grab a hold of the ball.
In the 11th minute of play right wing back Paul Aguilar sent in a low cross that should have been cleared away by the visiting defense. Santos' Ribair Rodriguez had the ball stolen away from him by America's Luis Gabriel Rey, he then turned and shot on goal. The ball was saved by Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez, but the rebound was taken by Osvaldo Martinez to open the scoreboard.
Following the goal the visiting side seemed to settle down into the match. By the 20th minute of play, it was the Laguna side who were the team that were dominating the match. In the 25th minute Rodolfo Salinas got up and headed in a Juan Pablo Rodriguez cross to tie the game.
The visitors took their dominance over to the second half of the match. Only two minutes after the second half whistle Carlos Darwin Quintero was finishing off a Jesus Escoboza play that set him with a wide open goal. Six minutes later a third for the away team came in as Ribair Rodriguez headed in a Juan Pablo Rodriguez free kick cross similar to the first goal.
When it all seemed lost for the home side the Raul Jimenez show started; In the 58th minute Jimenez gave America a live-line if only for the return leg. Jimenez headed in an Oswaldo Martinez cross to cut the deficit to one goal. Jimenez was at it again in the 80th minute this time heading in a Luis Angel Mendoza cross.
In the 86th minute Jimenez with his back-heel managed to give America the lead. And a long distance shot from Rubens Sambueza that was deflected found its way past Oswaldo Sanchez to round up the scoring.
The return leg will be next Saturday night in the Territorio Santos Modelo Stadium. The away goal rule is in effect and Santos Laguna will require a two goal win to tie the aggregate score to advance.