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Uriel Antuna scores hat trick as Mexico steamroll Cuba

LA Galaxy midfielder makes statement

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup-Mexico at Cuba Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico’s opening Gold Cup match was one long celebration as Tata Martino’s team steamrolled Cuba 7-0 before a boisterous crowd at the Rose Bowl Saturday night.

Uriel Antuna set the tone two minutes in with a scrappy goal, as a cross from Jesus Gallardo dangerously bobbled yards from the goal line, finally rebounding off the post before the LA Galaxy swept the ball into the net.

A player who wasn’t even supposed to be there, Untuna was added at the last minute as a replacement for Club America defender Jorge Sanchez and looked every bit like someone who wants to stick around. Moments before the half in the 44th minute, Antuna smartly anticipated a last-minute tackle and once again smacked into an empty net to give El Tri a 4-0 lead, with Raúl Jimenez and Diego Reyes also getting on the board.

Jimenez and Alexis Vega padded to the considerable lead, and in the 80th minute Antuna become the first Mexican player since 2015 to net a hat trick with a tap-in at the back post.