LA Galaxy youngster Uriel Antuna scored a hat trick as Mexico manhandled Cuba in a 7-0 win in Group A action on Saturday at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
With a supportive crowd behind them at a near-capacity Rose Bowl, Mexico overmatched the Caribbean side to open up tournament play in style.
Antuna, on loan with the Galaxy from Manchester City, was the final addition to Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s 23-man roster that experienced several injuries in the buildup to the match.
“I was surprised I was going to get the start,” Antuna told Univision after the match. “But I just took advantage of the situation, [Martino] showed great confidence in me.”
Antuna’s first tally came in just the second minute for El Tri‘s fastest goal ever in a Gold Cup match.
Wolverhampton Wanderers star Raul Jimenez doubled the lead in the 33rd minute when he slipped through the middle of the Cuban defense for an easy strike.
Antuna netted his second right before halftime after Jimenez’s cross bounced off a Cuban defender for an easy setup.
“We had a great match, we took the initiative from the beginning,” Jimenez told Univision after the match. “The first goal helped us, it opened up with the match.”
Chivas striker Alexis Vega added the sixth in the 74th minute for his first international goal. Antuna then capped off the night with his third in the 80th minute with another tap-in rebound.
“From the second goal, I told myself I would go for the third,” Antuna said. “It was a great victory, it was all a team effort.”