Pumas got their first league victory of 2019 when they defeated Querétaro away by a score of 2-0. Bruno Marinoni continues undefeated after three games, and Pumas had their best performance so far, as they held on against a Querétaro team who sits at last place after losing all six of their Liga MX games. The win is boost to a Pumas team that has picked up steam, as they now face their toughest game against the rivals América on Sunday.
The game started very even with Querétaro having most of the ball, but Pumas held their own. Pablo Barrera opened the scoring with a great goal in the first real opportunity for Pumas. Just inside the area, Barrera dribbled past a defender and sent a rocket from his left foot off the right post and into the net. After the goal Querétaro picked it up, and Alan Mozo had to clear a cross that came close to being an own goal. Still Pumas improved after that and was having the better play, coming close to making it 2-0. A cross was headed by Carlos González and hit the upper post, it came back awkwardly and González couldn’t reach well for the rebound and sent it wide. Querétaro thought that they had tied the game when Ayrton del Valle headed a ball past Pumas keeper Alfredo Saldívar, but it was ruled correctly as offside (from the player that made the cross, not Ayrton). Camilo Sanvezzo made the last great opportunity, forcing Saldívar to make a save with a left footed shot. Pumas had a couple of good counter attacks that never materialized because of bad crosses or incorrect last touches, so at halftime it remained 1-0.
The second half had a more desperate Querétaro at the attack. Pumas came close after a corner kick went past everybody, but after that it was mostly Querétaro who had the possession. They came close to a tie after a Sanvezzo free kick was mishandled by Saldívar, who left the rebound for a Querétaro player to crash it into Saldívar’s left leg. Querétaro kept having most of the ball but were never able to create much danger except for some mistakes by Pablo Jaquez, who had trouble clearing the ball. Still Pumas kept defending well and in a counter attack were able to clinch the game. Juan Iturbe came in for a Felipe Mora who hadn’t had a good performance today. Iturbe then had a counter attack where he sent a powerful left footed shot past the Queretaro goalkeeper. In almost the ensuing play, Martín Rodríguez also came close to scoring one but failed to control the ball in the area. Pumas held on to get all 3 points.
While Pumas looks to be still struggling in certain areas, the first victory of the season is great news as Pumas faces a key week. On Wednesday they will have their last Copa MX game of the group stages at home when they face Universidad de Guadalajara, although they sit in prime position with a tie clinching them the group. Then on Sunday they face their toughest test of the season when they play rivals América. Not only would it be a tough game but it’s their first match since Américacrushed them in the semifinals by a score of 6-1. Pumas are improving at the right time after the struggles that took down Coach David Patiño. Meanwhile Querétaro continues to struggle as they lost their 6th straight game and although they have improved in this past two games, it hasn’t been enough and there are rumors swirling of it possibly being coach Rafael Puente, Jr.’s last game at Querétaro‘s helm.