Bruno Marioni will make his Liga MX debut as Pumas coach against the leader of the competition when Monterrey visit the Estadio Universitario on Sunday. Monterrey come into this match after a controversial victory over America, in which referee Fernando Guerrero made four dubious red cards calls (2 for each team). Monterrey will have Nicolas Sanchez back for the game after his suspension got overturned but will miss Aviles Hurtado, who scored the only goal in Monterrey’s win in their last game against Pumas in Ciudad Universitaria, Meanwhile, Pumas will get a boost from another away win against Atlas in Guadalajara in Copa MX on Tuesday.
After losing to Pachuca last Saturday, Pumas decided to fire coach David Patiño. While Patiño had a great season in which they finished third and won their Quarterfinal matchup against Tigres, it all came crashing down when they faced their biggest rival America and suffered their worst loss in the Semifinal by a score of 6-1. The embarrassment was too much for Pumas fans and it poisoned the good vibes the season had give them. To make matters worse, an injury to their forward Carlos Gonzalez exposed the team to their real level as they failed to win a single game in Liga MX. The awful performance against Pachuca made the fans criticism increase and the management decided to fire Patiño and go with Bruno Marioni. The ex Pumas star had been rumored to be in the radar for the Pumas job since last year. While Marioni had a good start, they will face a tough match against the leader Monterrey, who will be headed by his Pumas replacement Diego Alonso. Alonso came in after Marioni left for the Apertura 2004, as Pumas won their 2nd straight title.
Monterrey and their fans are running high. On Saturday, they got first place by beating defending champions America with two great goals from their forward Rogelio Funes Mori. Then during the week they announced the signing of Miguel Layun, who returns to Mexico after a failed six months in Villarreal. While it’s not clear where Layun will play, the addition is a benefit to the Monterrey squad, although maybe not for the National team. That being said, Layun will probably not be available for this Sunday’s game.
Monterrey hasn’t had the best of times in Mexico City but they will have the prime opportunity to change that against the Mexico City team that has struggled the most in 2019. Also, while Marioni’s debut should be a boost for Pumas’ team spirit, it might not be enough for a team that’s so superior on paper. The 12pm conditions of the field could be the best weapon, but so far it hasn’t done the Universitarios any good against a struggling Veracruz and a spirited Atlas. It will seem that Marioni’s debut will be a tough one and fans should wait until next week’s match against the struggling Queretaro, to see the reality of his tenure with the team.
Date: Sunday, February 3
Time: 10:00am Pacific, 12:00pm Central, 1:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Universitario, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Univision Deportes Network (US-Spanish), Univision (US-Spanish), TDN (Mexico), Canal de las Estrellas (Mexico)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)