Pumas failed to take advantage of a great first half, and after a controversial performance from referee Jose Alfredo Peñaloza, lost to Tigres by a score of 1-0. Pumas gave one of the best performances of the season, but faltered as time went on, particularly after going down to 10 men. Tigres nearly failed to take advantage, but a historic late goal from Andre Pierre Gignac gave them the win and gave the Frenchman the title as all time goalscorer with Tigres.
At home and with a strong support from the home crowd, Pumas enjoyed a fearless start to the and quickly took control of the proceedings. Six minutes in, Pablo Barrera had perhaps the best opportunity in the whole game when he went alone against Tigres’ goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman, but his shot just went inches wide from the far post.
Pumas came even closer when a great combination play between Ignacio Malcorra and Carlos Gonzalez ended with Gonzalez’s slow shot beating Guzman but bouncing off the post.
Pumas was clearly dominating the game, and after a counter attack, Pablo Barrera’s pass was deflected by Tigres’ defense right to the path of David Cabrera, whose left footed shot was cleared by Guzman.
Minutes later, Eduardo Vargas got a yellow card for stepping on Idekel Dominguez, and although replays showed that it was a red card offense, Peñaloza didn’t call for a VAR review.
Pumas continued to dominate, but never came as close to scoring as their previous chances. In the final play of the first half, Tigres came close, but nobody arrived to connect off a free kick, in what turned out to be a sign of things to come.
The second half started, and it didn’t take long to see that things had changed and that Pumas had perhaps missed their opportunity. Two minutes in, Eduardo Vargas got to a cross and headed the ball right into the left post, in a very close opportunity to open the scoring. Later on it was Luis Quiñones who had a great opportunity when he got a ball in the area but his shot went straight into a sliding Pumas defender.
Tigres took control of the match, although not by much. Pumas started to get into the game, and once again, a long range shot from David Cabrera came close to going in.
In the 70th minute, the play that changed the game happened when Jeison Angulo and Enner Valencia battled for a ball. After Valencia went down, Peñaloza gave Angulo a second yellow card and thus a red card. Replays didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, especially compared to plays like Vargas’s non red card call, which was a lot worse.
With Pumas down to 10 men, it killed their offensive chances of winning the game. Pumas had to sit back and hold on against an attacking Tigres, who were obviously given a boost.
But despite Angulo’s sending off, Pumas came very close to scoring off a corner kick when Luis Quintana got off a header but it just went wide.
Just when it looked like Pumas was going to get a point, in the final minute of play, Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez was given time and space to get off a cross that found Andre Pierre Gignac, who headed in the 1-0. With the goal, Gignac became the all-time leading scorer for Tigres, leaving Tomas Boy behind a week after the (current) Tigres forward almost got into a fight with the now Chivas head coach. No time was left for any meaningful attack, and Pumas got their first loss of the season.
While Pumas had quite possibly the best 45 minutes of the season for them, the fact they failed to take advantage cost them in the end. Still, it can be said they did enough to get a point, and in fact, it can be argued that they were harmed by the bad decisions from Peñaloza. Pumas will need to turn the page quick as they face a visit to Tijuana to face Xolos. Tigres, meanwhile, will get the chance to celebrate a historic moment for Gignac as they go back home to face Necaxa.