Jaimen Ayovi (pictured) points to the sky after scoring one of his two goals in Club Tijuana's 4-2 CONCACAF Champions League win over the visiting LA Galaxy on March 18, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
TIJUANA, Mexico – Club Tijuana scored three goals within the opening 30 minutes and withstood a furious late rally to beat the LA Galaxy, 4-2, in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series at the Estadio Caliente on Tuesday.
As a result, the Xolos became the first team to advance to the semifinals, 4-3 on aggregate, and will face either Cruz Azul or Sporting Kansas City.
It took Tijuana just 56 seconds to erase a 1-0 deficit from its defeat at StubHub Center last week, as Jaimen Ayovi scored the first of his two goals. The Ecuador international pounced on a shot by Dario Benedetto that deflected off a Galaxy defender and beat goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Unofficially, the goal is believed to be the fourth fastest in CCL history. The mark was set at 23 seconds by Daniel Cruz of FC Dallas against Tauro FC on September 14, 2011.
Ayovi added his second in the ninth minute, breaking the Galaxy offside trap to double the Xolos’ lead.
Benedetto made it 3-0 in the 26th minute, when the Argentine won the ball from Galaxy defender Leonardo and then struck into the lower right corner of the net from 13-yards out.
It was the first time this year that Tijuana scored three goals in a game, never mind in a single half.
LA pulled a goal back through Robbie Keane two minutes after the break. Landon Donovan played a free kick to Omar Gonzalez, who headed across the face of goal for the Ireland international to knock home and cut the aggregate deficit to 3-2.
With that strike, Keane became Los Angeles’ all-time leading CCL scorer with six goals, one more than Jack McBean.
Richard Ruiz seemingly put the game away for Tijuana in the 82nd minute, bouncing a low half volley inside the far post from 12-yards out to give Xolos a 4-1 lead on the night and 4-2 on aggregate. Cristian Pellarano started the sequence with a chip forward that was headed on by Benedetto.
Keane wasn’t ready to concede to defeat, though, scoring his second goal of the match in the 85th minute. Donovan fed a sublime ball into the left side of the box and Keane finished clinically from 14 yards.
The LA captain tried for a hat-rick, but hammered a left-footed full volley over the crossbar from the top of the 18-yard box in the 90th minute.
As stoppage time was winding down, Donovan delivered one final pass into the penalty area, but goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo corralled the cross.
Shortly afterwards, the host was celebrating its first-ever CCL semifinal berth.