Saturday night in Guanajuato, Club Leon received a visit from Pumas, two of the most erratic and inconsistent teams of the season. Both were trying to get a win and establish some momentum. Pumas came into the game in ninth place, while Leon was in eleventh. A win would put them in contention for a spot in the Liguilla.
Pumas lined up in their now familiar 4-2-3-1 and Leon came out lined up in the same formation. Being the home team, Leon right away claimed the ball and started going at Pumas, who decided to sit back, defend, and try to counter.
Eight minutes into the game, Ivan Rodriguez put in a great through pass to Luis Montes, who put it in the back of the net with his left foot.
Pumas tried to get bak in the game but were producing nothing in offensively. Barrera, Gallardo, and Gonzalez were the men tasked with creating offense and getting the ball to Nico Castillo, but none of the three could get it going and Castillo was left to go at it alone.
Pumas had a corner and a free kick but nothing came from these chances. At the 27th minute, a ball was put in from the left wing and the Pumas defense failed to clear it. The ball landed at the feet of Elias Hernan Hernandez, who curled in a beautiful shot with his left foot leaving the goalkeeper no chance. Leon were comfortably up 2-0.
At the 38th minute, a Pumas defender took out Boselli with a hard foul. A few minutes later, Montes retaliated by fouling Barrera hard. Montes was given a yellow card. Coach Diaz went after the ref, arguing for fair treatment, but lost his temper, was given a red and was tossed from the game. The half ended with a bit of controversy but Leon was comfortably ahead.
Pumas coach Patiño finally realized that Gallardo was not being effective and brought on Alustiza to try and create some offense. Pumas tried but they could not get it going. The offensive rhythm they had early on in the season is gone and their defense was letting them down. In the 57th minute, Montes once again made a great play and put in a pass to Boselli, who made it count by putting the ball in the back of the net.
Boselli showed why he remains one of the best strikers in Liga MX despite his age and Leon were up 3-0.
Mendoza and Alan Acosta were brought on by Patiño to replace Gonzalez and Barrera, but it was too little too late. Pumas had no fight left in them and limped to the finish line. The ref could have added 20 minutes at the end of the game and Pumas still would not have scored a goal. Pumas were very lucky that Leon did not score more goals in this game.
Leon > Pumas
All the momentum and power that Pumas was showing at the beginning of the season is gone and Patiño has no answers. Barrera has been as inconsistent as always, and Gallardo is showing nothing but inexperience. Nico Castillo is left to take on all the defenders on his own and is also forced to get down field to try and make something happen. The defense is looking leaky and error prone, while the goalkeeper is no better. On the other hand, Leon is looking solid. They are starting to build some momentum, and this win puts them closer to a Liguilla spot. The only thing that went wrong for Leon tonight was Hernandez going out injured at the 73rd minute. For Leon’s sake and “El Tri”, lets hope it is nothing serious. Pumas head home and receive a visit from Toluca next week, while Leon has a tough away game in Mexico City against America.