Coach Bruno Marioni defeated Argentina’s biggest football idol when Pumas won their Quarterfinal match against Diego Armando Maradona’s Dorados by a score of 3-0. With almost a complete A-squad on the field, Pumas was able to prevail over the Ascenso MX, which had the ambition but hit a wall in terms of talent. Although not an easy win, an own goal and a great performance from substitute Juan Manuel Iturbe led Pumas to the victory. They will now wait the winners of tomorrow’s game between FC Juarez and Veracruz to try for a ticket to the Copa MX Final
The game almost started with a surprise when a Dorados drive almost caused a Pumas own goal after Luis Quintana dived to deflect a ball that went inches wide of the goal.
Unfortunately for Dorados, they wouldn’t be so lucky when it came to their area. In a Pumas attack, Felipe Mora headed the ball back, and Dorados’ defender Luis Jerez tried to chest it to his keeper, only for the ball to go in and open the scoring.
After the goal, the game started becoming what most people expected, with Pumas dominating the possession. They came close again when first Felipe Mora and then Carlos Gonzalez got stopped by Dorados’ keeper Gaspar Servio. Servio stopped Mora’s shot but then gave the ball away to a Kevin Escamilla, who passed it to Gonzalez. His shot barely got deflected by Servio with his foot.
Pumas again came close when, in a counter attack with 3 vs 2, Brian Figueroa’s shot went just wide from the top post. The rest of the half continued with Pumas having complete control of the game.
The second half started with the same rhythm of play from the hosts. In the early minutes, Carlos Gonzalez missed a sitter as his shot went just past the left post, in a play he should have done better with.
Pumas continued to dominate but after the Gonzalez miss, they started to play sloppy, including allowing a Dorados counter that went wide. Still, things changed when Marioni subbed on Juan Manuel Iturbe for Gonzalez. With Iturbe, Pumas started to be more dangerous and it would pay off with a great individual play from him. After stealing the ball, Iturbe went past a Dorados defender, going alone against Servio and scoring with a left footed shot for the 2-0.
After the goal, Dorados went into the offensive and came close with a shot, but apart from that, they didn’t really threaten the Pumas goal.
In the final minutes, off a corner kick the ball was headed to Felipe Mora, who pounced on the ball and placed it past Servio and the post for the final score of 3-0.
This win is a big boost for Bruno Marioni’s team, who had gotten into a funk in the Liga MX and will now probably be turning more attention to the Copa MX, especially since their Semifinal rivals will be either Veracruz or FC Juarez, two teams they should be favorites against. Marioni also confirmed his interest in the cup by fielding a more veteran team, including the striker partnership of Mora-Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Dorados failed but had a good run for an Ascenso MX team, with Maradona continuing to prove skeptics wrong. Although it was a bitter return to the site of two of his first round appearances from the 1986 World Cup(where oddly enough he failed to score despite facing arguably two of Argentina’s easiest opponents in that tournament), Maradona can now concentrate on the league where his team is in a better path.