Hat-trick hero Raul Jimenez: 'About time' for Club America surge

The 22-year-old striker scored three goals in 30 minutes, leading America to a 5-3 victory over Santos Laguna in the first leg of a Liga MX quarterfinal.

The writing seemed to be on the wall for Club America after Ribair Rodriguez made it 3-1 to Santos Laguna in the 54th minute of the Liga MX quarterfinal first leg Wednesday, but three goals in 28 minutes from Raul Jimenez helped the Clausura 2013 champion to an unlikely 5-3 victory in the Estadio Azteca.

And with a two-goal lead to take into Saturday's second leg in Torreon, the 22-year-old Mexico striker believes the manner of the victory can propel America to great things in the playoffs after an inconsistent regular season.

"It was about time, the right moment to do it," Jimenez told reporters after the game. "We have the goal and objective of winning, of reaching the final and becoming champions."

America's comeback in the eight-goal thriller was described as "heroic reaction" by coach Antonio Mohamed, whose job was considered to be under some pressure.

Santos Laguna manager Pedro Caixinha was visibly irate on the touchline and in his postgame news conference, slamming the individual errors he said cost his team the game. But the Portuguese coach was also adamant that the second leg will not be easy for America.

"This hasn't ended yet, this is halftime," he said. "We have 90 minutes and I believe that the players know that they can turn (the two-goal deficit) around."

In Wednesday's other quarterfinal, Leon drew 1-1 at home to Cruz Azul, with Marione Pavone opening the scoring in the fourth minute for La Maquina and Jose Maria Cardenas equalizing for La Fiera in the 21st.