Pumas wasted their last opportunity to make the Liguilla as they only tied at home against FC Juarez. The momentum changed when Pumas’ best player got injured and Victor Ignacio Malcorra missed a penalty. Now, Pumas need nothing short of a miracle to qualify as they need to beat Pachuca away and for a combination of results to go their way.
With Pumas needing the win, they started attacking from the start. Pumas came close to scoring first with an own goal scare from Juarez before from the ensuing corner kick an Alan Mendoza shot just went wide.
Then in the first offensive play from Juarez, Felipe Mora looked to have handled the ball but the ref went to VAR and judged not to have been a penalty kick. Juarez then had a great chance when a Juarez attacker found Diego Rolan in the area for what should have been a tap in, but Rolan fell prior to connecting with the ball and whiffed it.
Pumas took to the offense again and came close several times but the Juarez defense was able to clear the crosses to Gonzalez. Then Pumas finally broke through when after a cross, Felipe Mora got to it and headed it back, leaving it for Gonzalez to just walk to the ball and score with a strong shot for the 1-0.
Pumas almost doubled their lead when Malcorra got a great chance that was cleared by Jose Esquivel in what should have been a goal.
The second half started with Pumas going all in. Minutes in Pumas had a scary play in which Carlos Gonzalez got brought down by the goalkeeper and had a bad fall. The penalty kick was given but Gonzalez had to leave the game with an injury that looked serious. Ignacio Malcorra stepped up but did a terrible kick, which changed the game completely. Juarez’s keeper Ivan Vazquez Mellado had gone to his left and it should have been an easy penalty to make had Malcorra looked up, but his shot was straight to him.
Then against the run of play, Jose Esquievel made a great run and got off a great shot to tie the game 1-1.
Pumas kept going into the attack and took the opportunity to sub on Juan Manuel Iturbe for Alan Mendoza. Later it was Pablo Barrera who tested Vazquez Mellado but the keeper made the save.
Pumas had a chance when Malcorra’s cross fell into Barragan but he made a bad move instead of getting his shot off. After a great cross by Alan Mozo, Barragan got a header in it but hit the post, another great opportunity wasted. Finally, off a free kick, Pumas hit the post again and then a Mora shot was saved by Vazquez Mellado.
Later on, it was Juarez who in a 2 vs 1 counter attack, Leandro Carrijo. hit the post.
At the end, Pumas basically gave away their chances of making the Liguilla. While Pumas went into the attack, the shift in momentum and the loss of Gonzalez were holes too deep to get out. Malcorra, who Pumas fans had an antagonistic relationship with before the game, has probably cemented his place in Pumas history, and barring a miracle, it will be notorious. Coach Michel Gonzalez will now have to place all their eggs in beating Pachuca and having a combination of results go their way. The reality is that Pumas is probably out and Michel Gonzalez first season in Pumas ends in a mixture heartbreak and failure.