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Pumas drop out of Liguilla zone thanks to goalkeeping howler

Pumas lost 1-0 at home against Toluca and have a big drop in the standings.

After a big win in Chiapas, Pumas went back to losing ways at home and dropping a key game against Toluca. The defeat, combined with Santos’ win, meant the Universitarios drop out of the qualification zone for the Liguilla. Pumas played well but a terrible mistake by goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar gave Toluca the lead.

Despite Pumas boasting of a strong record at home so far under coach Francisco Palencia, their last home game was a devastating derby loss to America. Pumas, though, looked to have turned things around and were the most dangerous team to start the game. Jesus Gallardo, who scored twice against Chiapas, was having another impressive outing and came close to opening up the score, only for Alfredo Talavera to thwart his effort away.

The whole complexion of the game changed when Saldivar did a terrible blooper that allowed Carlos Esquivel to grab the breakthrough. Saldivar pushed up the field, and while having two Pumas defenders at his side, he mishit the ball and sent it straight to the path of Esquivel, who immediately lobbed the ball into the net to score.

Pumas did post a reply, however, and had some chances to level, including a great defensive play where Talavera made three stops consecutively to hold the lead at 1-0. They also received a generous no penalty call in their favor from the afternoon’s ref.

The second half continued with Pumas having more chances but rarely producing danger. With forward Nicolas Castillo still injured, Pumas clearly looked less menacing on the attack.

Toluca should have doubled the lead, but the bad job from the refereeing crew continued when a Fernando Uribe goal was wrongly ruled offside.

Matias Britos then had Pumas’ best chance of the game on a 1 v 1 against Talavera but hit it straight to the goalkeeper, as Toluca held on for the 1-0 win.

During the middle of the week, the games postponed because of the referee strike will be played and Pumas will go away to Guadalajara to face Atlas on Wednesday, a direct rival in the fight for a Liguilla place. It will be a tough game, especially because Atlas will be coming from a great away win in Queretaro (4-1). Toluca,meanwhile, will return home to face a struggling Cruz Azul side.