Pumas got back to their winning ways in Liga MX after beating struggling Veracruz by a score of 2-0. Pumas dominated for most of the game, but a good performance from Veracruz goalkeeper Sebatian Jurado and a bad job of finishing kept the score at 0-0 at halftime. Desperation started to set in and Pumas struggled in the second half, but a marvelous first goal by Pumas set things back to normal and Pumas got the win in a game that probably should have ended with more goals for the hosts. Pumas will now travel to face a Morelia team that has just fired it’s coach while Veracruz will go back home to try to get their first win after 31 games against newly promoted Atletico San Luis.
Pumas came to the game heavily favored and they wasted no time trying to make their mark. A minute into the game, Carlos Gonzalez got a ball in the area but his low shot was blocked by a defender. In the third minute, Gonzalez once again got to a ball in the area and his close range shot was brilliantly saved by Jurado. Off the ensuing corner kick, the ball fell in the area to Juan Pablo Vigon, whose shot was off.
After a good cross by Jeison Angulo was deflected right to Vigon, he was able to get his shot off but it went into the crowd, wasting another great chance. Pumas continued to dominate, as it was one way traffic but Veracruz started to look better defensively, stopping Pumas attacks while not having any offensive presence. Vigon showed it wasn’t his day when he got the ball in the area but his left footed shot wet wide. After that, a great combination play between Gonzalez, Vigon and Ignacio Malcorra forced Jurado to make another great save off Malcorra’s shot.
A great effort from Gonzalez to get to the ball and cross surprised both Pumas attackers in the area and neither could reach it. Pumas had totally dominated, but the lack of a goal gave to total desperation as fans and players seemed to get anxious because of the futility in the area. The halftime whistle blew and boos rained down from the crowd as Pumas had totally dominated but had failed to score.
The second half started with Pumas going into the attack, but it almost cost them dearly when they lost the ball and gave Veracruz their first real opportunity. Cristian Menendez got a ball in the area and left it for Bryan Carrasco to get a shot off inside the area, but it went wide.
Pumas had their first chance when a great cross by Malcorra barely got cleared by a Veracruz defender before Vigon could arrive in the area. Veracruz started to get more chances as Pumas had their worst minutes in the game. One of the key moments of the game happened when David Cabrera got subbed out for Juan Iturbe, who turned out to be one of the pivotal players for Pumas eventual victory.
Veracruz had their best opportunity in the whole match when Menendez went alone against Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar, who had to make a great stop before the ball fell to another Veracruz attacker, whose shot went straight to a Pumas defender.
Then Iturbe got brought down just outside the area in what would lead to a Pumas free kick. Ignacio Malcorra took the free kick and made a wonderful shot that went over the defense and into the top corner for the 1-0.
The goal changed the game by ending the small rally that Veracruz had, and Pumas once again took over. Carlos Gonzalez pressured the Veracruz defense to almost get the ball, forcing them to clear to a throw in. Then after a play that had numerous touches from Pumas, Malcorra had a good cross that Gonzalez arrived to and sent it back in the area to a wide open Jeison Angulo, who from close range shot it through Jurado and into the net for the 2-0 lead. While Jurado made a great play in getting to the shot, it was just from too close and too strongly hit by Angulo to score his first goal in Mexico.
A great run by Iturbe allowed Pablo Barrera to get the ball, but his shot went wide. Pumas head coach Michel looked to be satisfied with the result, and he took out Pablo Barrera and Gonzalez for Kevin Escamilla and Felipe Mora as he started to look at Friday’s game against Morelia. Still, Pumas continue to go on the attack especially through Iturbe. The Paraguayan had a lob that went over the keeper but also over the crossbar, and Felipe Mora also had a shot that just went wide, and there really was no clear chance of getting the 3-0. Pumas still got the win with a very deserved result.
While the results looks as too small a margin for such a dominant play from Pumas, getting the win at home and another three points. The win stops their two game losing streak and gives Pumas some breathing room as it ends the negative momentum they had coming in. They will now have an away match against a Morelia team that fired their coach, Javier Torrente, on Sunday. Meanwhile Veracruz continues to suffer as they extended to 31 games their non win streak. Also, the failure to get the win means that Veracruz hasn’t won a game in a full calendar year. They will have a big opportunity to change things when they face Atletico San Luis at home but failure to do so, leaves few opportunities to snap it in the horizon.