Dos Santos shines on Azteca debut for America
MEXICO CITY - Substitute Giovani dos Santos assisted one goal and scored another in Club America's 3-1 victory over Club Tijuana, in his Estadio Azteca debut playing for Las Aguilas.
Dos Santos came off the bench in the 44th minute, after striker Nico Castillo exited with what was confirmed later as a fractured fibula, and proceeded to be the difference-maker in Club America's win.
The 30-year-old Mexico international burst down the left, took the ball past defender Diego Braghieri and squared a pass for Renato Ibarra to put America up 2-1 in the 87th, just five minutes after Camilo Sanvezzo had leveled for Tijuana.
Deep into added time, Dos Santos latched onto a Roger Martinez through-ball and lofted the ball over Xolos keeper Gibran Lajud to score the third. The America fans sang Dos Santos' name as he walked off the pitch at the 1970 and 1986 World Cup final venue.
"I don't know who doubted [whether he could produce], I know him well, I know what he can do and today he showed it again," Club America head coach Miguel Herrera said.
"Nobody in this club doubted Gio's ability, that's why I put him on."
Dos Santos signed for Club America -- the club his father also played for -- on July 6, after LA Galaxy exercised a contract buyout on March 1.
Dos Santos hasn't started a game yet for the club, but scored the winning penalty in the Leagues Cup quarterfinal against Houston Dynamo on his debut.
The former Barcelona and Tottenham player said in a recent interview that he was at odds with the Galaxy staff over the treatment of an injury and Herrera has been easing him in at America.
"Like I said when he arrived: he need to be physically right. When he's physically top, he's a different kind of player," the former El Tri coach said.
Dos Santos' performance comes in a week in which goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin has left the club to sign for Porto, with Colombian midfielder Mateus Uribe set to follow the same path in coming hours, according to ESPN FC sources.
Dos Santos avoided the awaiting press after the game, but is likely to start next weekend against Toluca, with Chile international striker Castillo expected to be out for three months, according to Club America.