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Pumas stumble in their Copa MX debut at home to Atlas

Atlas beats Pumas 1-0 and get three key points, while Pumas now gets into troubling territory.

Pumas v Veracruz - Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Pumas went down in their Copa MX opener by a score of 1-0 against an Atlas team who has won their two games played so far in 2019. Just like their Liga MX opener, Pumas looked like a lethargic team, with not many offensive ideas. Meanwhile, Atlas looked solid defensively and dangerous at times on offense. The game looked set to be a tie but a mistake by Pumas goalkeeper Miguel Angel Fraga allowed Rodolfo Rivera to score a goal. Atlas will now go back to Guadalajara to prepare for their home debut in Liga MX against America, while Pumas will have to travel to Necaxa for their matchup on Saturday.

Pumas and Atlas came to their Copa MX debut in two different situations. Atlas had given their fans a positive result with an away win in Queretaro, while Pumas had wasted a great opportunity to start the season on the right track with a draw at home against Veracruz. Both teams went with the typical Copa MX lineup of going with lineups loaded with young players and some veterans to gel the group. Pumas had most of the ball in the first half but the game was very even with Pumas not getting any clear chances to score besides a Felipe Mora header that went straight into Atlas’ keeper Jose Hernandez.

Then the best chance of the game fell to Atlas when Juan Pablo Vigon got a great opportunity and almost scored because of an awful play from Goalkeeper Fraga. Defender Pablo Jaquez miraculously cleared almost off the line and saved a sure goal against Pumas. The rest of the half was more of the even match from both sides.

The second half continued with a Pumas team that tried to be more offensive but failed to create much danger. The offensive triad of Mora, Brian Figueroa and Gustavo Rodriguez looked even more toothless than what Pumas looked on Sunday against Veracruz.

In the middle of the second half, goalkeeper Hernandez almost gave away the ball to a Pumas attacker but instead was able to clear the ball to an Atlas player, who immediately started the play that would lead to the only goal of the game. The ball went to Jesus Isijara, who took the opportunity when Fraga went to try to win the ball (in a terrible mistake of a play), and lobbed it past him and into the path of youngster Rodolfo Rivera, who scored with the open net.

After the goal, Atlas came close to a second when Isijara hit the post with a long range shot. Pumas had a header from Rodriguez go a little close to the post but never really threaten and the loss was deserved.

For Pumas fans this is another tough pill to swallow as they lose a key game at home for their Copa MX campaign. Even worse is that the start of the Pumas plan of relying more on Pumas youth teams to fill their squad. Many of those Pumas players had terrible performances tonight, including players like Alan Mozo who had already shown better things the season before.

For Atlas it’s the total opposite. Their youth players responded a lot better and they are off to a winning start in their two fronts. After their Liga MX games on the weekend, Atlas will rest next week in Copa MX, while Pumas will go to Guadalajara to face Universidad de Guadalajara in their Copa MX debut, in a game that will now be a must win for them if they plan to go through to the next round in the Copa MX.