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Pumas spoil Nico Castillo’s return, give Miguel Herrera first Clásico Captialino defeat

Pumas defeat America 1-0 for their first win against their rivals since 2015

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

For the first time as Club América coach, Miguel Herrera suffered a defeat at the hands of Pumas UNAM, losing 1-0 at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario. In a match where the return of Nicolas Castillo to CU grabbed most of the headlines, it was his replacement, Carlos Gonzalez, who stole the show when he headed in the only goal of the game. The win means that Bruno Marioni has now gotten 7 out of 9 points since replacing David Patiño at the helm of Pumas.

The first half was a very even affair, with Pumas having more possession of the ball but America having the best chances, the result of some open spaced counters.

Alan Mozo, who had a great game, was constantly giving America trouble but Pumas couldn’t generate a truly great opportunity. A Mozo scramble in the area was as close as they came to score but it was cleared by America’s defense.

With all that domination, it came as somewhat a surprise that America had the best opportunity of the first half when a long ball to Renato Ibarra led to a volley into the path of Edson Alvarez, who forced Salvida to make a save. The near range volley was very close and had Saldivar not luckily been placed right in front of Alvarez, he wouldn’t have had a chance.

A couple of minutes later, another great opportunity was wasted when Castillo’s pass to Andres Ibarguen was faulty, forcing him to make a bad attempt at a shot that went wide. The score remained 0-0 at halftime.

The second half started in the best way possible for Pumas. Two minutes in and off a corner kick, Carlos Gonzalez headed in a goal after being left all alone by America’s defense.

With the score 1-0, America went on the attack which allowed Pumas some space. A Paul Aguilar long range shot went close to the post.

Pumas then almost doubled the lead when after a scramble in the area, the ball almost fell to the feet of Victor Malcorra, but goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin was able to reach the ball.

America had their best opportunity when Nicolas Benedetti went past the Pumas defense but couldn’t get past Saldivar, who made a great stop.

Moments later, Pablo Jaquez was wide open off a corner but headed the ball straight to Marchesin. Marchesin would later on make a great save off a Felipe Mora header in a free kick.

While America subbed on Henry Martin and went all out attack, outside of a Bruno Valdez ball which he couldn’t control in the area, they were unable to create another key chance. The final whistle blew and Pumas held on for their win.

It took three games but Bruno Marioni was able to do what David Patiño couldn’t in defeating America. Although this doesn’t erase the recent past defeats against America (especially the 6-1), it’s a nice boost for a Pumas team that seems to have turned things around after a bad start to 2019.

For America, the defeat might turn on alarms, especially after the team moves out of the Liguilla zone because of it. To make matters worse, their star signing Castillo had a terrible game and looked to have suffered either because of the hostile surroundings or because of the heat and altitude. America will need to improve and will count themselves lucky that their next rival will be Lobos BUAP at home. Meanwhile, Pumas will finish their group stage performance in Copa MX when they face Universidad de Guadalajara on Wednesday and then face a key match away to red-hot Leon.