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Monterrey win and send Pumas back to reality

Monterrey defeats Pumas 1-0 and sends Pumas to last place.

UNAM Pumas and Monterrey clash in CIudad Universitaria, Mexico City
Rafael Hernandez

David Patiño lost his first game in this new tenure as Pumas coach as Rayados de Monterrey went three points clear of second placed America to confirm their status as table leaders. The win puts a stop in Pumas’ momentum that looked to rise after an away tie against Necaxa and a home win against Liguilla-bound Leon. Monterrey looked to be the better side and were able to win without star Rogelio Funes Mori and with stars Carlos Sanchez and Dorlan Pabon coming off the bench. The win guarantees a Liguilla spot for Rayados.

Pumas was enjoying the most positive spell all season. Although still without star striker Nico Castillo, Pumas new tenure under Patiño had been mostly positive. That said, the starting lineup showed some of the same problems as Pumas had to rely on Mauro Formica, an attacking mid, as center forward. The experiment proved to be unsuccessful. Monterrey started as the better team but Pumas soon enough turned the tide. Pumas was definitely benefiting from the heat and altitude as Monterrey is known to suffer when playing in Mexico City. Maybe because of this, Monterrey’s Coach Antonio Mohammed had rested some of his best players and were playing with an alternative squad that was good enough to hold Pumas scoreless. A Formica header was the only true dangerous chances in a slow first half.

The second half started with Monterrey being the most aggressive and better team. The start proved to be key as Jorge Benitez missed a header and Efrain Juarez also missed a good chance. Then after an attack by Pumas, Monterrey went on the counter and the only starter of their main offensive trident, Aviles Hurtado, shined. Hurtado got a pass by Alfonso Gonzalez, left Mendoza in the dust and then crossed it into Jorge Benitez’s path, but Gerardo Alcoba got there first, only to let the ball straight into Hurtado's path for him to score the only goal of the game.

Monterrey had some chances but it was mostly Pumas with the ball. Kevin Escamilla had a long range shot blocked by Monterrey's goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez. Gonzalez made another great save off a shot by Mauro Formica.

While Pumas had the ball, it looked like Rayados was going to hold on for the win and they did. Pumas never looked in control and Monterrey looked like they got the win while never going into second gear because of the conditions.

This win is a big result for Rayados. After having their first defeat of the season against Puebla on Wednesday, they go clear four points from America, who shockingly lost at home to Necaxa. They were also able to win with a squad that showed how big their depth is. Overall, they were the better squad and won in tough conditions without their best team out there. On the other hand, Pumas fell hard and Patiño had his first tough loss. His experiment of Formica as the center forward didn't pan out and it's not understandable why he didn't correct the situation. Pumas now goes back down to being tied in last place with Queretaro. Monterrey, meanwhile, will now face the biggest clash of next week when they face America in Monterrey, while Pumas will go to Puebla and try to move out of last place as they are already eliminated of a Liguilla place.