Raul Jimenez (pictured) is shown spinning the ball on his finger at Mexico training session during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY – The Estadio Azteca has witnessed its fair share of spectacular goals, but perhaps there was none better than the one scored by Mexico forward Raul Jimenez against Panama in October 11, 2013.
On matchday nine in their final-round CONCACAF qualifying for Brazil 2014, Mexico was in search of a crucial win to remain fourth in the Hexagonal table.
With five minutes remaining in normal time, the Tricolor was locked in a 1-1 struggle with the Canaleros. It was at that moment Jimenez produced his magic.
With his back to goal, the then-Club America star chipped a pass to himself from Fernando Arce and swung in an overhead kick that beat Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo from 17-yards out, earning Mexico the 2-1 victory.
With Mexico hosting Panama once again in a World Cup qualifier on September 1, Jimenez reflected on his magical moment at training Tuesday.
“Yes, it brings me great memories, something that I will never forget,” the 26-year-old said. “We also hope to emerge with a win on Friday.”
Unlike four years ago, qualifying for Russia 2018 has gone more smoothly for Mexico. A draw against the Canaleros will see it qualify for a seventh straight FIFA World Cup.
“We have made strides to continue growing, to continue playing in a good way, but you cannot forget that the opponents also count,” finished Jimenez. “They play their role and they will come to the Estadio Azteca Stadium wanting to play their match in the manner that most suits them. We have to take that into account and play our game the way we have been doing.”
Mexico is the only unbeaten side in CONCACAF qualifying and sits atop the Hexagonal table with a 4W-2D-0L record.