Pumas spoiled the return of San Luis Potosi to Mexico’s top flight by beating the newly promoted team by a score of 2-0. After being dominated in the first half, Pumas was able to hold on, and with key substitutions, was able to turn the tide and get three points. Atletico San Luis at times looked surprisingly good but they failed to take advantage and then made key mistakes late in the game that allowed Pumas to “steal” 3 points.
The first half started and bolstered by the crowd, it didn’t take long for San Luis to take control of the game. A couple of opportunities came close to falling for forward Nicholas Ibañez, including one that had to be cleared by goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar, and Pumas defense looked constantly troubled.
Off a corner kick, a terrible play from Saldivar allowed San Luis a free header to Unai Bilbao, who hit the crossbar. Minutes after that, Pumas finally had a good offensive opportunity when an Alan Mozo long range shot went just inches wide.
As the first half progressed, Pumas got more possession and San Luis started to deflate in the heat of San Luis Potosi. Ian Gonzalez tried to change things, and he did so by going through Pumas’ defense and getting off a shot that Saldivar blocked. Another mistake by Pumas then allowed Gonzalez an even better opportunity that Saldivar had to miraculously save.
Pumas had a great chance when off the rebound of a corner kick, David Cabrera had a good low shot that just went wide. But after San Luis had another dangerous opportunity, the ref blew the whistle and Pumas went into halftime considering themselves lucky to not be trailing.
The second half started and almost immediately Pumas had their best opportunity of the game. Cabrera found Carlos Gonzalez, who went 1 on 1 against the keeper but goalkeeper Carlos Felipe Rodriguez won out in the end with a great stop into a corner kick.
Pumas had a good opportunity when they stole a ball near the San Luis area but Victor Malcorra took too long to shoot and his shot was blocked by a defender.
Controversy happened when a Malcorra cross looked to have been handled in the area but even with the VAR, the ref decided it was a corner kick.
Pumas had another great chance when Rodriguez failed to control a free kick but he was able to block the rebound shot from the Pumas attacker.
A mistake by the San Luis defense, who allowed the ball to bounce in the area, almost turned into a goal when Juan Pablo Vigon got to the ball and was able to get the shot off only for Rodriguez to block it.
Finally, after a great cross by Victor Malcorra, Carlos Gonzalez took advantage of a mistake by Atletico’s defense and he was able to chest the ball down and get his right footed shot off to score the 1-0.
Moments later, off a corner kick, another terrible mistake by San Luis gave Luis Quintana a free header to score the 2-0.
San Luis tried to get into the game in the final minutes including a close opportunity that was ruled offside.
Finally, the whistle blew and Pumas had taken their first three points of the season. While it might not have been the deserved result for most observers, Pumas got the three points they needed. Although they stumbled in defense, they were able to get the goals and will be improved when new signing Nicholas Freire gets his international pass.
Pumas will have their first home game of the season next week when they face Necaxa. Atletico San Luis will need to improve on their defense and on being able to finish their opportunities. Although it was a promising start, they will have a sour taste in ther mouth of losing 3 points they had within reach. They will stay in San Luis for their next week match and wait for the tough visit from Monterrey.