Cruz Azul looked like it would continue its dominance over Pumas and nearly got away with it, but a freak golazo gave Pumas the 1-1 tie. Pumas once again continued their streak of stumbling against Cruz Azul and gave one of the worst second halves of the season, but got the point off of a great individual play. Pumas will now stay at home as they rest during the midweek league games, facing Santos Laguna on Sunday. Cruz Azul will stay in Mexico City and go back to Estadio Azteca for their tough matchup against Monterrey on Wednesday.
Cruz Azul had the better of the game early on, with Jonathan Rodriguez getting a good chance that was ruled offside. Off of a cross, Milton Caraglio had a great chance but he inexplicably headed it back to nobody instead of towards the goal. Later off of a free kick, Cruz Azul had the best chance of the first half when the ball fell to Pablo Aguilar, who had the ball in front of Pumas’ goalkeeper and shot the ball into the post. Pumas had a great opportunity when Carlos Gonzalez got the ball in the area, but his shot went straight to Jesus Corona, Cruz Azul’s keeper. After, Cruz Azul should have gotten a good opportunity however Caraglio once again mis-headed it. The ball then got to Rafael Baca, whose shot Saldivar saved. In the final minutes of the first half, Pumas finally started to play better and get decent opportunities. Off of a free kick, Victor Malcorra made a great shot that Aguilar cleared off the line. On the ensuing corner kick, the ball fell into the area and Nicolas Freire got a shot off that just went wide of the post by inches. Pumas had finished the first half as the better team.
The second half started, and the Pumas dominance of the first half ended almost immediately as Cruz Azul got control of the ball and made them pay. A pass in the area found Jonathan Rodriguez, who got his shot past Saldivar to open the scoring. Pumas needed to bounce back and although the had control, they looked totally ineffective until Carlos Gonzalez got a good header that unfortunately went straight to Corona. As the second half went on, it was Cruz Azul who got control of the ball and would have the best chances on the counter. First it was off a free kick header from Julio Cesar Dominguez that Saldivar had make a great stop on. They then had their best chance when a combination play left Edgar Mendez alone in the area, but his shot was blocked by Saldivar in another great save. Pumas hadn’t threatened at all and Cruz Azul was dominating. It looked like the win was inevitable but then Juan Iturbe changed things in a surprising way. Iturbe had the ball and looked to have made a cross, but it swerved and turned into a great shot that went past Corona to tie the game. It was a great goal, but Corona should have done better on it but was surprised by the intended cross that turned into a shot. The goal galvanized Pumas, but it came way too late to mount another good opportunity and the game ended as a 1-1 tie.
Pumas should fee lucky to get out with a point after an acceptable first half but a terrible second half where they allowed a goal early and never showed much in trying to get the tie. The goal was a total individual act that didn’t even look as it was the intention to make a shot. Still, it’s a relief that Pumas broke the dominance Cruz Azul had on the team. Cruz Azul meanwhile must feel disappointed in the result after their improvement with the Leagues Cup title on Wednesday and their better level of play on Sunday against their city rivals. Still it’s a good sign under their new coach Roberto Dante Siboldi, when most felt the team would collapse under the chaos that his arrival caused. Cruz Azul will need to turn things fast when they face Monterrey on Wednesday while Pumas will get a rest that won’t amount to much since unlike other teams, they will not get a week extra but just a mid week game and will have to go back to normal and play on Sunday against the leaders Santos Laguna.