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Pumas jeered as they lose at home to Tijuana

Xolos beats Pumas 2-0 and climb up to 3rd place temporarily

Pumas and Xolos have a minute of silence before the game for earthquake victims in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Rafael Hernandez

The firing of Coach Francisco Palencia didn't change anything for Pumas as they once again fell at home, this time to Xolos of Tijuana 2-0. With the return to league play of Chilean national teamers Nico Castillo and Marcelo Diaz, starting for the first time during new coach Sergio Egea's tenure, Pumas was expected to improve at home but did anything but. After a sluggish first half where they had the ball but never really threatened, Pumas went down to an early second half goal by Gustavo Bou. Although the urgency increased and led to Pumas doing their best all game after the goal, they failed to create many opportunities and were lucky not to be down more goals. In the final play, Xolos scored the second after a wide open net opportunity was created when the Pumas goalkeeper went to the opposite team area on a corner kick. The goal and defeat caused the whole stadium to jeer the team, something that is uncommon with Pumas fans.

After a week break because of international play, Pumas went back into league action. Last Sunday they had a somewhat solid win in Copa MX against Celaya, in a game that had been postponed because of rain from Thursday. Joffre Guerron, the best player that day, was rewarded with a start against Xolos but he failed to grab the opportunity and was one of the weakest player in that first half (he was subbed out at halftime). Pumas had control of the ball but they really never threatened and seemed to be playing at a very slow speed.

Alan Mendoza failed to cleanly hit the ball after a Xolos keeper Miguel Lajud had gone out and cleared a ball right to him and Joffre Guerron failed to control a ball that should've been headed. Neither of them, however, were chances that people would have deemed truly dangerous.

On the other side, Juan Manuel Iturbe had a great chance that Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar stopped after he went right through the middle. Pumas had two young center backs in Pablo Jaquez and Luis Quintana and they struggled all day.

Pumas subbed on Bryan Figueroa for Guerron. Figueroa, like Guerron, had a great game against Celaya and like Guerron, would have an awful game today. The second half started with Xolos having the ball and then scoring an early goal. Once again Pumas center backs, as well as defender Jose Antonio Garcia, who earlier should have had a penalty call against him, all combined to allow Gustavo Bou time and space to let out a good shot from just outside the area to open the scoring.

After the Xolos goal, Pumas urgently pushed up but to no avail. Nico Castillo, Pumas best player by far, had one of his weakest game ever with the team and didn't have a single clear chance. Meanwhile Figueroa had some opportunities that he wasted. Lajud made some saves but overall most of the danger Pumas created was wasted by Pumas’ mistakes instead of by the Xolos keeper.

In the last play of the game, Pumas keeper Saldivar went up to try to head the ball in but the Xolos defense cleared it to Luis Angel Mendoza. Mendoza honored his nickname (Quick) and went right past Marcelo Diaz to get an open net goal and the 2-0. After the whistle blew, the whole stadium jeered Pumas. While this is not the first time the team has been disappointing at home, jeering the team is not something done much by the Pumas crowd, even less by the whole stadium.

The 2-0 loss at home to Pumas is another setback that show that this season is all but finished. The big problems look to be that Castillo and Diaz are not enough to help a very weak squad. The few veteran players of the team have shown not to be good enough to help the young players, whose quality is dubious to say the least. Pumas will now have to go to Guadalajara to face Chivas, a team they haven't defeated in Guadalajara since 1982. Xolos gets a huge boost as they go back home to have one of their biggest games of the season against America.