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Pumas get win off the feet of a wonderful debut for Marco Garcia.

Pumas get off to a great start in the Apertura 2020 with a 2-1 win over Pachuca.

Pumas UNAM v Pachuca - Torneo Clausura 2020 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

A dream debut for Marco Garcia helped Pumas get a 2-1 win against Pachuca in their first game of the 2020 Clausura. It wasn’t an easy win for Pumas, but they were able to hold on against a surging Pachuca and start the campaign with the home win. It’s a good sign for Pumas in continuing their solid home campaign from last season. Pumas also had a solid debut from their various signings, but they will have to turn things around quickly as their next game is away on Thursday against FC Juarez. Pachuca meanwhile got things going too late, and will now have to improve for their home debut against Chivas.

Pumas and Pachuca started in an offensive way, with both having chances early on. With all of their new signings (except for Leonel Lopez) starting, Pumas tried to take control of the match. Pachuca however was able to even things out and at times looked a little better than their rivals. Favio Alvarez almost had a great goal in his Pumas debut when he took a long range shot from the midfield, but it was saved. Luis Quintana went heroic when he took a goal away from Franco Jara. Then Pumas took the lead when Sebastian Saucedo made a great play in the area, getting off a rifle of a shot to score the 1-0 past Pachuca’s keeper Alfonso Blanco. Pachuca felt the hit, and Pumas started to control the match after the goal. They came close again when an Alan Mozo cross was just out of reach for Carlos Gonzalez. Later on though, Pachuca started to bang on Pumas’ door but they weren’t able to create a solid chance as Pumas tried to clear the ball. In the final minutes, Pablo Barrera almost scored a great goal after going past two Pachuca defenders, but his shot was blocked by Blanco.

The second half started with Pachuca needing to tie and Pumas hoping to take advantage. Pachuca almost took advantage of a bad back pass from Pumas, but Jara sent his shot wide. Pumas subbed out Sebastian Saucedo for Ignacio Malcorra, who got booed by the whole stadium. Malcorra almost assisted on a goal, but his cross was miraculously cleared by Oscar Murillo. Had he not dived for it, Carlos Gonzalez would have had a tap in goal. Pachuca came back, and Pumas’ keeper Alfredo Saldivar had to make a diving stop off of a shot from Raul Lopez. Pumas subbed out Juan Pablo Vigon for Marco Garcia, a 19 year old player making his debut. Two minutes later a cross from Malcorra was headed back by Gonzalez. After a shot was blocked the ball fell to Garcia, who got a shot past Blanco for the 2-0. It was a dream debut for the player, as he made his first goal minutes after going in to his first game. Pachuca almost scored their first goal when Colin Kazim Richards made a great play in the area, but Franco Jara didn’t react fast enough and missed a ball that would have been a tap in goal. It was almost the same play minutes later when Richards once again made a great play in the area and passed it to Jara, whose shot was blocked by Saldivar. Later a good cross from Rubens Sambueza was headed just wide by Richards. Although Pachuca was trailing, they were totally in control of the match now. Richards almost had another chance but Vasquez bumped into him and he chose to dive instead of shooting the ball. Pumas came close again with an Alan Mozo shot that just went barely wide. Then finally all the pressure by Pachuca paid off when Romario Ibarra got taken down by Andres Iniestra in the area and a penalty kick was given. Franco Jara took it and converted for the 2-1. The referee gave six minutes of extra time and Pachuca went all out, especially through the right side where Mozo was having a deficient defensive game. Pachuca had a couple of close calls in stoppage, but Pumas was able to hold on for the win.

While it’s just the first game of the season, the win for Pumas is a great start especially because it might be an indicator that Pumas will be a solid home team. Pumas good home record was key in the team almost getting to the Liguilla last season, even when they had a weaker squad than many teams. Unfortunately for them it also looks to be the case this season, so getting results at home should be key. Pumas also has a great preview if Marco Garcia pays off. Besides Garcia, Jesus Rivas also made his debut after he got subbed in for Pablo Barrera, meaning Pumas looks like it will start paying attention to their youth teams. All in all, a good afternoon for Pumas.

Pachuca meanwhile didn’t have a good start on the season although it improved later on. The best news was the debut as a Pachuca player for Colin Kazim Richards. On the other hand, Franco Jara had a terrible game and Pachuca didn’t look much improved from last season under new coach Paulo Pezzolano. It should still take some time for him to mesh with the team, but they will have a tough home debut against the much hyped Chivas. Meanwhile Pumas will travel to Juarez where they will have one of the best chances to get an away result of the season. They should hope things continue to look promising as they show if they are for real or just a strong home side.