Pumas got back to winning ways as they qualified to the Copa MX Quarterfinals after defeating Lobos BUAP 3-0. In a game that was tougher than their last meeting, Pumas struggled to impose their style, but another mistake from Lobos BUAP goalkeeper Jose Canales, opened the opportunity for Pumas to take the game. Canales had gifted Pumas a goal in the home game clash with Lobos BUAP in the group stage, and tonight did so again in a free kick. Pumas will remain at home to face a tough match against Necaxa in the Quarterfinals of the Copa MX.
After struggling in Liga MX, Pumas had the opportunity to right their ship with a Copa MX Round of 16 match against Lobos BUAP. While Pumas has been using an alternate squad for the Copa MX, Erick Torres’s red card in the last game against Juarez FC meant that Pumas started with their best player, Nico Castillo. With Matias Alustiza being used as a starter against Juarez, this meant that Pumas would have their main striking duo for this game.
That said, Lobos came out to play and Pumas defender Alan Mozo had to clear a ball of the line in the first minutes of play. A couple of minutes later it was Alustiza who had a ball cleared off the line after getting the rebound from a shot that Canales stopped.
Pumas had most of the possession but weren’t creating much and surprisingly enough, Castillo and Alustiza were having off games. Lobos BUAP could have taken the lead with two plays that their forward, Amaury Escoto, failed to convert. He first send his shot wide in a one vs one with the keeper and he would later hit the post.
The second half started and Pumas were almost immediately given a lifeline. A free kick in the edge of the area was taken by Alan Mendoza and he scored the 1-0. While the shot was powerful, goalkeeper Jose Canales made a mess of it after totally getting deceived by the bending of the ball.
The Pumas goal, though, rejuvenated Lobos BUAP and they started to have their best moments of the game. Pumas constantly gave up corner kicks and goalkeeper Bernabe Magaña had to make a couple of good saves.
Knowing things weren’t good for Pumas, Coach David Patiño took out Brian Figueroa (who had a woeful performance) for Jesus Gallardo, in what turned out to be the key move. Gallardo immediately started creating dangerous runs and in the 73 minute he went past the Lobos defense and scored the 2-0. Gallardo’s goal settled things and Lobos never recovered.
The final minutes were all Pumas, and Alustiza was unlucky to not score off a free kick and then after being found wide open and hitting a powerful shot off the post. Alustiza would have his revenge in a counter attack when a cross found him wide open again and he slotted in the 3-0.
In the final minutes, Lobos’ Jeronimo Amione got a red card after a strong foul on Jesus Gallardo.
The win and performance in the second half will give Pumas fans a lot of satisfaction. But Pumas will need to improve to face a tougher team in Necaxa. The question is how will Patiño play the next Copa MX game and will he continue the path of using an alternate squad? With Pumas struggling and slipping every game from the top of Liga MX, it might be wise to maybe start looking into winning the Copa MX trophy as the main goal of this team.