For the second time in the semester, Pumas made history, defeating Chivas in Guadalajara. Pumas hadn’t beaten Chivas in Guadalajara since 1982, until they defeated them 3-1 in the Round of 16 of Copa MX on September 26th. Some critics pointed out that since the game was in Copa MX, the streak was never really broken. But tonight Pumas did exactly that on goals by Martin Rodriguez and Felipe Mora, both of who missed penalty kicks in their Quarterfinal elimination of Copa MX against León.
While Chivas took the lead and had the better play for most of the game, their Coach Jose Cardozo (who had in the week said that Pumas wasn’t a big team like his old squad Toluca) made a baffling substitution by replacing Fernando Beltran for Michael Perez. Beltran had been among the best players in the game and Chivas play went down until Pumas took the lead.
The first half started with a Chivas team that seemed on point at home and overran a struggling Pumas. In one of the first dangerous play, Pumas defense cleared the ball straight into the path of Isaac Brizuela who opened the scoring with a great shot. Brizuela was left wide open by Alan Mendoza, who would struggle badly all through the first half.
Chivas kept at it and got close to a second goal when Edwin Hernandez hit the post off a free kick.
Against the run of play, Pumas tied the score when Alan Mozo made a great run and low cross that found a wide open Martin Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s shot was deflected in by Josecarlos Van Rankin.
The equalizer didn’t change the momentum of the game and Alfredo Saldivar had to make great dive to save a header by Jesus Godinez. Chivas had more of the possession but failed in the final third, while Pumas didn’t create anything besides a counter that Raul Gudiño came over to clear. The half ended with the tie but Chivas looked like the superior team.
The second half seemed the continue with a similar style, although Pumas came out better. Then coach Cardozo made the baffling substitution of Beltran, Chivas’s best player along with Alan Pulido, for Perez. After the move Chivas’ level of play started to falter and Pumas improved.
Then somewhat unexpectedly, Pumas got their second goal. Rodriguez made a great cross to Felipe Mora, who went past Jair Pereira and headed the second goal. Mora had been the villain along with Rodriguez in their Copa MX elimination but rose to the occasion.
After the goal, Chivas was hurt and Pumas played the best they did in the game. Carlos Gonzalez wasted a good opportunity and Mora hit the post for what should have been the third goal.
Coach David Patiño took out Pablo Barrera for David Cabrera and once again it seemed that they would start to sit back, a style that has gathered a lot of criticism from Pumas fans who argue it goes against the team’s history. Chivas send in Angel Zaldivar but it was Pereira who came the closest to scoring in the final minutes with a header that went just wide. Pumas held on for the 2-1 and finished all doubts that the 1982 streak was over with.
Chivas could have deserved a better result (at least a tie) but they paid for their inefficiency. as well for their coach’s lack of confidence. The Beltran substition is only explained in that he wanted a more veteran player in the final minutes. but it had the opposite result. Meanwhile, Pumas proved that they have the individual talent, even if the still show a lack of cohesion as a team. Fans will be happy with the result but not so much with the insistence in sitting back and holding on to the results. It was only the lack of ideas in the final third from Chivas, as well as a Zaldivar that looks to be in a slump, that failed to turn this situation into another America.
Both clubs will now go into the international break. When they return, Pumas will face another team that has caused them problems, Tigres, at home. Chivas will travel to Puebla and face bottom tier Lobos BUAP.