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Pumas rescues a point in Puebla but it’s not enough to get to Liguilla

It was a case of dueling long range shots as Puebla and Pumas tied 1-1.

Atletico San Luis v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX
Pumas coach Michel Gonzalez might fall short of making it to the Liguilla after today’s result.
Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Although they were able to get a point after trailing, Pumas missed a great chance to get to the Liguilla zone when they failed to get a win away to struggling Puebla. The 1-1 tie leaves Pumas behind Morelia and in danger of going behind Atlas and Monterrey in the chase for the final Liguilla spot. Pumas will have a must win game in their final regular season match at home against Juarez. Puebla will travel to Morelia, and are already out of Liguilla contention.

The game started and minutes in, Puebla missed a great chance when Pablo Jaquez left the ball for Lucas Cavallini, but his shot was terrible. Puebla looked to have scored but Cavallini was judged to have handled the ball (correctly) after his shot was blocked by Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar.

Pumas’ first chance came off a free kick, with Alejandro Mendoza coming close but just wide of a score. Later it was Martin Barragan who came close to connecting well with an Alan Mozo cross, but he wasted it.

Puebla had a great chance when Cavallini had a shot in the area, but a diving save from a Pumas defender cleared the ball. Saldivar fixed a mistake when he made a good save of a shot by Cristian Tabo after he had given him that opportunity by clearing the ball straight to him. Puebla had another chance from Tabo when, off a counter attack, he sent a left footed shot wide.

The halftime whistle blew and Pumas was very lucky to go to the second half without trailing.

The second half started with Pumas going on the offense, with a long range shot by Kevin Escamilla that was saved and another bad miss from Martin Barragan on a header. Pumas decided to go even more offensive when they subbed on Juan Iturbe for Escamilla. Then against the run of play of the second half, a bad clearance fell to Puebla’s Jorge Zarate and he got off a rocket of a long range shot to score it past Saldivar for the 1-0.

Desperation set in for Pumas, and they subbed on Felipe Mora and Bryan Mendoza for Pablo Barrera and the struggling Barragan. Off a Ignacio Malcorra cross, Bryan Mendoza came close to scoring but his shot was too strong and went wide.

Pumas had a lot of the possession, but like most of the season away from home, they failed to create much danger with it. After a corner kick, Pumas almost had a good chance when the ball bounced around the area but Nicolas Freire fell on the ball and handled it. Then off a bad clearance of the ball, Iturbe got off a rocket off shot that left Puebla’s keeper Nicolas Vikonis standing still for the 1-1 tie.

Iturbe almost came close to scoring again when his long range shot got stopped by Vikonis, but he left the rebound to a Pumas attacker who crossed it to Carlos Gonzalez, who got called for a foul that ended the danger. Gonzalez came close again with a header that just went wide.

In a incredible counter for Puebla, Matias Alustiza went one-on-one against the keeper but Saldivar made a great play to take the ball from his feet. Even with all the pressure in the final minutes, Pumas could only get one point from Puebla.

Once again, Pumas’s level of play severely declined away from home. Puebla was struggling, and although Pumas turned it on in the second half, they gave away 45 minutes and were lucky to not have gone trailing at halftime. Pumas will need to turn it up in their final two games and it might not be enough after not getting the three points in Puebla. Puebla is out of the Liguilla and can only play spoiler in a tough away match against Morelia.