With two goals by Nico Castillo, Pumas defeated Atlas 3-1 in their first home game of the season to place themselves at the top of the league standings. For the most part, Pumas dominated in what some people feel is the most solid performance from them in at least a year. Castillo is now tied at the top of the goal scoring charts with four goals, and Pumas looks to be turning things around from a last place finish last season. Now they will face their toughest challenge yet, against city rival Club America next week.
Pumas made their home debut with a pretty big crowd. The partisan crowd was supportive after their surprising day one win against Pachuca. Pumas lived up to their potential as they took the lead early on. Jesus Gallardo, who had a great game, sent a long cross that Castillo was able to lower and hit past the keeper.
Pumas continued having the ball and Atlas failed to trouble Pumas at all. Then the Universitarios scored a second when Stiven Barreiro failed terribly to control a ball. He proceeded to gift it to Castillo, who went alone towards the keeper, then passed the ball to Matias Alustiza to score the 2-0. Alustiza played last season at Atlas and asked for forgiveness to the crowd.
Pumas continued to dominate the rest of the half and Atlas only created one chance that an Atlas player missed terribly.
The second half had an Atlas team that looked completely different from the first. Atlas had more of the ball possession but all they could manage was a header by Milton Caraglio that went wide.
Pumas started to once again control the game and Mauro Formica came close to scoring over the Atlas keeper. Then Leiton Jimenez dropped Nico Castillo in the area for a penalty kick. Castillo converted it for a 3-0 lead and his second goal of the game.
After that, Pumas looked to have settled it and Gallardo pushed the Atlas keeper to a save with is leg.
But after a free kick foul by Pumas, Atlas scored their goal. Ravel Morrison hit a marvelous free kick to give his side some late game hope.
In the end, it was Pumas who came closer to scoring again after a Pablo Barrera shot was saved by the keeper and Castillo failed to arrive to the rebound.
The win is a great sign for Pumas. Pumas showed that offensively they are going the right direction. Castillo and Alustiza look to be one of the best forwards combination in Liga MX. Defensively, they improved a lot too, although Atlas didn’t really show great skill when attacking. That said, Pumas totally dominated the game and were clear winners.
Pumas will now have a tough test against America and will really need to keep the momentum going . Atlas, on the other hand, looked terrible, and coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz might be the first to be on the hot seat. They will really need to go all out at home against a tough team, Toluca. For now, this result perfectly encapsulates both of the teams performances so far in the season.