“El Clasico Capitalino”
Liga MX has many fabulous rivalries but few games inspire as many emotions as “El Clasico Capitalino”. Pumas UNAM and Club América met at the Estadio Olímpico on Sunday in front of almost 40,000 fans who showed up to Ciudad Universitaria to support their team. This game usually offers lots of action and stirs up negative feelings on both sides, unfortunately this time was a bit different. Fans of both teams come in knowing that this is a game that you do not want to lose. Sitting near the top of standings but having lost the past four matches against America, Pumas came into this game with something to prove. The visiting team, América, was not far behind in the table, came in to the game not wanting to lose their recent dominance over Pumas.
The first half
The best way to recap the first half of this game is both teams were trying not to lose instead of trying to win. lined up in a 4-2-2-2 with two defensive midfielders sitting very deep. The ball was stuck in midfield for most of the first 45 minutes. Both teams kept making errors and turning the ball over. There was no connection between the midfield and the forwards. Both defenses and keepers had little to do. The two attacking midfielders for América, Dominguez and Ibarra could not get it going. They missed at least 3 chances to make something happen. Up front for Pumas there was not much going on either; Nico Castillo looked lost for most of the first half, Jesus “El Vegeta” Gallardo tried to make something happen on the wing but he had very little support from his teammates. 21 minutes in Gallardo blasted the ball from outside the area that went just over the crossbar. Two minutes later at the 23rd Alustiza had his one and only chance but his shot went wide of the goal. Perhaps the best chance América had to score came at the 13th minute when Cecilio Dominguez had a great pass given to him in the box but Alfredo Saldivar made an amazing one-handed save. The half left fans wanting more and hoping that the second half would offer more intensity.
The second half
Pumas Coach David Patiño finally made a change to the offense and brought in Pablo Barrera to try and win the game by adding some speed and attack prowess to his team. Unlike Patiño, Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera stuck with his defensive-minded lineup waiting for Pumas to make a mistake and catch them off guard on a counter attack. Even though Pumas tried to go forward, América had the first big chance at the 58th minute. Oribe Peralta took on a pair of defenders and put in a perfect pass to Cecilio Dominguez who could not finish once again. Nico Castillo was way more active during the second half but hard defending from the América’s defense kept him in check. At the 65th minute, Patiño finally realized that Alustiza was just taking up space and decided to take him off for Abraham Gonzalez. 87 minutes in Pumas was awarded a free kick when Andrés Mateus Uribe kicked Nico Castillo hard and took him down. América was left with 10 men. Castillo took the free kick and hit well but Oribe Peralta cleared it with his head and sent it to the corner. The story of the second half was that Pumas kept trying to score by attacking on the wings and up the middle but the chances that they created were not very clear nor well executed. América kept their lines well organized and continued to try and counter attack.
Pumas couldn’t and América wouldn’t
For a “clasico” this game was a let down, the effort was there but it just didn’t live up to the hype and the expectations. América tried and succeeded in not losing the game, Pumas did the best they could to win in front of their home crowd but was ultimately unsuccessful. In the end the fans were disappointed but both teams came away with something; they remained at the top half of the table, neither one lost to their hated rival, and both teams came away with a point.