Pumas came close to having a deja vu performance but held on to beat a 10-man Leon by a score of 2-1. For the second consecutive week, Pumas went up a man, but this time they were able to held on, although they needed a couple of key saves from goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar. Chilean forward Felipe Mora scored twice to give Pumas the victory after falling behind 1-0. The away victory is a boost to Pumas, who was coming from a nightmare result against America in the league (after getting tied even when they were up a man) and a loss against Necaxa in the Copa MX. They will know turn to the Copa MX, where they play a do or die game against Tampico Madero, where only a win and a combination of results will keep them alive in that competition.
Pumas came to this game reeling after an embarrassing performance against their rival America. In that game, America got two red cards and Pumas took a 2-1 lead with a two-man advantage and wasted it. The game was not only bad because of the result (2-2) but the fact that even when they were up two players, they sat back, defending for their lives and creating no danger even when they were 11 vs 9. The last minute equalizer was a gut punch to their fans. Then on Tuesday they proceeded to lose against Necaxa in Copa MX.
But Pumas went away to Leon and played well offensively. They had a couple of close opportunities, including a ball cleared off the line in a controversial play that should have been penalty kick for Pumas because of handball. However, the great offensive work didn’t translate to a good defensive display. Without injured defender Alejandro Arribas, Pumas’s backline was again their weak spot and Leon took the lead when Luis Montes scored of a cross. The Leon player had made a good cross to the penalty area where the two Pumas center backs had left Montes wide open.
The game continued with Pumas having most of the ball, but Leon looking the most dangerous side because of Pumas’ defensive struggles. Then just before halftime, Carlos Gonzalez combined with Felipe Mora, who shot it past the keeper to tie the game.
The second half had a Pumas team that was revitalized but Leon still looked the more dangerous team. Then against the run of play, Pumas took the lead when Leon defenders failed to clear the ball and it fell to Mora, who tied the score.
More good news came for Pumas when Leon’s Pedro Aquino got red carded. That said, once again the man advantage failed to help Pumas, and Leon, like America, seemed to be the team up a man as they pushed them to defende themselves.
Mauro Boselli headed a ball that hit the post but it was incorrectly ruled offside. Then Alfredo Saldivar had to make two great saves to keep Pumas in the lead. To their credit, this time Pumas looked to have more control of the ball and even created some chances, the best being a long range shot from David Cabrera that goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota saved.
The final minutes had Leon having control of the ball and once again Pumas’ counter attack game was awful. In the final minutes, Cabrera got a red card to balance the game out but it was too late and Pumas held on for the win.
This away victory should help a Pumas team that needed the emotional boost, although it should still worry them how poorly they managed, once again, a man advantage. Even more troublesome is how badly the defense looked, and if Saldivar hadn’t stepped up, Pumas would have drawn again. With the week off, this should help them settle things before they face Tampico Madero in their Copa MX game that will decide their Copa MX tournament.