Pumas’s struggles in 2019 continued as they lost 2-1 at Necaxa on Saturday night. Necaxa was the better team and deserved the win at home in their Liga MX debut. Pumas was without forward and best player, ex Necaxa Carlos Gonzalez, who was injured along with Juan Iturbe. Gonzalez’s absence really exposed Pumas as a team without much offensive ideas, and they have looked very weak without him. Necaxa meanwhile eve dominated the game at times.
The first half stared and Necaxa came out firing. Brian Fernandez had a couple of opportunities that he wasted but Pumas defense looked like butter, as Necaxa looked like knife going through it. Necaxa opened the score when Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar deflected a shot right to the middle and the path of Cristian Calderon, who tapped it in for the 1-0.
Pumas went up the attack but besides a couple of headers, they didn’t come close. The hosts then had the best opportunity when a wide open Martin Barragan blew his header.
Pumas might have had a penalty when Carlos Guzman seemed to have deflected a ball with his arm from Pablo Barrera but anything but a lead at halftime would have been unjust to Necaxa.
In the second half, Pumas improved with Brian Figueroa coming in for Alan Mendoza. Pumas had a couple of chances but none were clear. Still, they had more of the possession and were looking better.
Eventually, it was kind of surprising that Pumas tied the game with a header by Felipe Mora. Figueroa made a great cross and Mora came in between a Necaxa defender and Necaxa’s keeper Hugo Gonzalez to tie the game 1-1.
The tie lifted Necaxa who went on the offensive. Chilean Pedro Campos made his debut for Necaxa and set up a pass to Brian Fernandez for a goal that was called back for offside. The ref went to the VAR, who showed that Campos wasn’t offside and Fernandez goal was allowed for the 2-1.
After the goal, it was Necaxa who came the closest to getting a tie for most of the rest of the game, and in the final play of the game, Mora had a header saved in the line by keeper Gonzalez in what could be the save of the weekend. It would have been an unjust result as Necaxa was the better team.
Necaxa has now had a great start in both Copa MX and Liga MX, with wins in both of their debuts. Meanwhile, Pumas’s struggles continue, as they now have lost in both Copa MX and Liga MX. They have also looked terrible on offense without Gonzalez. To make matters worse, they looked bad defensively with both of their keepers (Saldivar, Miguel Angel Fraga) having bad performances that have led to goals and losses.
Necaxa will remain in Aguascalientes to face America in Copa MX on Tuesday and then will travel to Puebla to face Lobos BUAP on Sunday. On the other hand, Pumas will go to Guadalajara to face Universidad de Guadalajara in a key Copa MX game on Wednesday and then will go home to face Atlas, a team that already beat them at home this 2019.