Gimenez bursts onto UCL scene with a bang
Talk about making a good first impression. Team Mexico starlet Santiago Gimenez scored twice in his UEFA Champions League debut on Wednesday, helping Feyenoord defeat visiting Lazio 3-1.
The result leaves the reigning Eredivisie champs atop Group E with 6 points from three games. Atletico de Madrid follows with 5 points, the Italians are next with 4 and Glasgow Celtic are bringing up the rear with 1 point which it earned from Wednesday’s 2-2 home draw against Atleti.
The Dutch club had gone 1-0-1 in its first two group stage games (defeating Celtic 2-0 and losing 3-2 in Madrid), both of which they played without Giménez, their leading scorer.
The former Cruz Azul star missed Feyenoord’s first two UCL games while serving a two-game suspension handed down as a result of a red card earned during a loss to Roma in a UEFA Europa League quarterfinals match last season.
Gimenez – joint top scorer in the Eredivisie with 13 goals from nine games – quickly demonstrated that the Champions League stage was not too big for him.
The 22-year-old striker appeared to have put his side ahead in minute 25 when he chased down a lead pass behind the defense and popped the ball past the goalie, but the goal was ruled out for offside. So five minutes later, Gimenez gathered a pass from Mats Wieffer at the top of the box, spun to his right, touched the ball to his left foot and zipped a low shot inside the left post.
Gimenez was Johnny-on-the-spot in minute 74, banging home the rebound of a Quinten Timber close-range shot to put Feyenoord ahead 3-0.
With his double, Santi became the fifth Mexican to record a brace in a UCL match, joining Hugo Sánchez, Carlos Vela, Raúl Jiménez and “Chicharito” Hernández who did it three times.