Pumas got their first home win against Cruz Azul since 2010 thanks to Nicolas Castillo strike, in a tough match that was changed by a controversial sending off in the first half. While Pumas had a man advantage for most of the game, they never were in control of the game, as Cruz Azul looked the better team for long stretches.
The first half was mostly unwatchable. Pumas and Cruz Azul stifled each other and there were no clear chances for either team. Then, in the 38th minute, Cruz Azul's Gabriel Peñalba got a dubious red card after a challenge that should've been a yellow card at most.
Still, Pumas didn't take advantage and Cruz Azul actually had the first real chance of the game when Cata Dominguez got a header off after a free kick that goalkeeper Alejandro “Pikolin” Palacios saved into the upper post.
Even with a man down, the second half followed the first, with Cruz Azul looking the most threatening. Several Pumas players underperformed; Jesus Gallardo, Pablo Barrera and Abraham Gonzalez having especially lousy performances.
The match, though, was up for grabs, and Nicolas Castillo scored a wonderful goal in the 64th minute. Off a throw in that was headed to the area, Castillo made a great turn and strike on a volley to fire the Universitarios into the lead.
Pumas had control of the match after that until the same Castillo received his marching orders for a second yellow.
In the closing stages of the game, Cruz Azul had some good chances that, unfortunately for them, fell to defenders who wasted them, as Pumas held on for their first victory of the season.
With the win, Pumas break a run of six years but can't be too happy with their performance. Up a man, it was inexcusable how they were outplayed in the game, especially when you take into account that Cruz Azul’s dominance mostly started after the red card. They will also have to suffer the consequences now that Castillo will have to miss the next game away in Leon, and although Matias Britos might return from injury, it will be the first game of the season for him and might not be physically fit enough to fill in for Castillo’s absence.
On the other side, though they lost, Cruz Azul looked good and will have the addition of new signing Matias Cauteruccio for their home game against a tough Monterrey side next week. Still in the end, results are what matters and Pumas today got three points off their city rival, a key home win for this team.