Pumas made a big step toward qualifying to the next round of the Copa MX competition after crushing Lobos BUAP 4-1 in a game where they were the superior side and should have won by more goals. Both teams came out with mostly bench players in relation to the teams they normally use in Liga MX. While they had some defensive miscues and Lobos BUAP played them evenly in the first half, overall it was all Pumas and they were the deserved winners. By resting their players, Pumas should have a fresh team that will remain in Mexico City for Sunday’s game against Chivas. Meanwhile, Chivas have a midweek game in the Dominican Republic and will have to make the journey back for a tough Sunday game in the altitude and heat of Mexico City.
Pumas came into this game with a streak of two defeats, including a loss at home against Veracruz. Prior to that defeat, Pumas were undefeated and top of the Liga MX table. The defeat was followed by a bad performance in Tijuana, who defeated them 4-1. Against Lobos BUAP, they were looking for a win to place them atop the group and basically guarantee them a spot in the next round of the competition.
Pumas took control of the match early on and took the lead off an Alan Mendoza header. Abraham Gonzalez was left alone after a corner to send the cross in the area, and Mendoza came in wide open to score it.
A couple of minutes later and against the run of play, Lobos BUAP was able to tie it. Carlos Treviño was given time to hold the ball and he made a great long range shot to tie and shock everybody.
Pumas didn’t back down and went forward. Kevin Escamilla almost did one better than Treviño but his long range shot hit the post.
Pumas kept dominating but it was a gift from Lobos that gave them the lead. Alan Acosta, who had a great game, sent a strong cross straight to goalkeeper Jose Canales. Canales couldn’t hold the ball and left it straight into Mauro Formica’s feet and he scored the 2-1. After the goal Lobos had their best run of the game as they looked to tie but couldn’t before halftime.
The second half continued with Pumas having most of the ball. Things would pay off when Alan Mendoza got brought down in the penalty area. New signing Erick “Cubo” Torres took the opportunity to score his first goal with Pumas and he was able to convert the 3-1.
Pumas then started to dominate and Escamilla had a shot miraculously saved by a sliding defender. After more numerous chances, Cubo Torres was brought down and Pumas had a second penalty call. Torres took it once again, but this time, Canales made a good stop to deny him and Pumas.
A couple of minutes later, a counter attack finished with a great play by Formica to give to Mendoza and put the 4-1 score. Mendoza had some defensive mistakes but overall was the man of the match with two goals, as well as being the player that got the penalty kick call that Torres converted.
Nearing the end of the game, Torres had an opportunity for his second when he went in alone with the keeper and went past him, but didn’t connect in time and allowed Lobos defense to arrive and clear the ball for a corner. Pumas held on and Lobos looked finished after the fourth goal. The 4-1 was a clear and deserved victory for the better team.
The win places Pumas on top of the group and almost through to the next round of competition. It is still not a sure thing, though, since their next game against Juarez FC can make the group finish in a three-way tie. Still, their +4 goal difference means that they have the advantage against both teams, especially since this was Lobos’s last game, which mean they will remain at 0 in the goal differential department.
Moving forward, Lobos know their main objective was always their game against Veracruz on Saturday, while Pumas should have the advantage of remaining in Mexico City for Sundays game against Chivas.