Pumas won the second leg of their Copa MX Round of 16 series but it wasn’t enough, as the 2-1 win couldn’t make up for the 4-2 loss in the first leg and Santos went through with a 5-4 aggregate. Pumas took an early lead, but a terrible mistake by goalkeeper Jose Castillo and defender Diego Rodriguez gave Santos the tie and almost settled the series. The other key play was a goal by Pumas that was erroneously ruled offside. The goal would have given Pumas a 2-1 lead going into halftime but instead Pumas had to wait until the final five minutes to get the 2-1. Both teams will face each other again for the third time in two weeks when they face one another in a Liga MX matchup on Saturday in Torreon.
The game started with Pumas needing to score fast, and it wouldn’t take long for them to do so. A great drive by Ignacio Malcorra and Alejandro Mayorga was finished off when Malcorra made a cross back and Mayorga headed it past Santos keeper Carlos Acevedo for the 1-0.
A couple of minutes later, Juan Antonio Dinenno had his first big miss when Jesus Rivas sent him a perfect cross. Dinenno was wide open, but he did a terrible job heading it and it went wide. Santos had their first chance of the game when a cross almost found Octavio Rivero in the area, but Luis Quintana was able to dive and clear the ball. It wouldn’t take long for them to get close again when Eduardo Aguirre connected with a ball and forced Pumas keeper Jose Castillo to make a save. After Pumas totally dominated early, it seemed that Santos had evened the match. Then Pumas gifted Santos the tie with an incredible bad play. Castillo inexplicably decided to give the ball to Pumas defender Diego Rodriguez, who did a terrible job with the ball and lost it to Octavio Rivero after passing it back to Castillo. Rivero then found Aguirre, who easily shot it past Castillo for the 1-1 tie. It was an incredible blooper and just like that, the situation was back to how it started.
Pumas tried to get back on it, and Dinenno had a shot that went wide. Pumas should have scored the 2-1, but the lack of VAR went terribly wrong for Pumas. After a shot had forced Acevedo to make a great save, the rebound went to Pumas and in the scramble, Bryan Mendoza had scored but the goal was ruled offside. Replays showed that the call was wrong and it was never offside but since their is no VAR in Copa MX, the wrong ruling stood.
The second half had Santos score early with a shot by Aguirre but the goal was called back for offside, this time being the right call. Pumas then forced Acevedo to make a stop off a low shot from Dinenno. Santos then came close again when a long range shot hit the post. Pumas had a good chance when Malcorra got a ball in the area, but his right footed shot went wide. A couple of minutes later, a terrible foul by Santos’ Edgar Games to Bryan Mendoza’s right leg made Santos go down to 10 men after Games was red carded.
Because of that, Santos decided to sub out Aguirre for Diego Valdes, and they settled in to play the game down a player. Pumas countered by subbing out defender Rodriguez for Andres Iniestra. Pumas continued on the offense but not creating much chances. Pumas had a good opportunity but Alejandro Zamudio’s shot was saved by Acevedo. Octavio Rivera could have killed the game for Santos, but after making a play in the area his shot just went wide. Pumas finally was able to score when after a scramble in the area Quintana was able to cross it to Dinenno, who headed it past Acevedo for the 2-1.
Pumas went for it in injury time but in a another controversial play, a Pumas player went down in the area and no penalty was called. Replays showed that the ref might have been right. Off of a counter attack, Rivero had another chance but the ball went wide. Then from a long range shot, Dinenno hit the post in the final dangerous play for Pumas. Pumas came close but it was too late and they were out of the cup, mostly because of the bad mistake in the first half.
Although Pumas tried to come back after the first leg overall in the series, it was their own mistakes that doomed them, especially from goalkeeper Jose Castillo. In the first leg the key play was the red card that Martin Barragan should have gotten instead of Jesus Rivas that left Pumas down a man for most of the game. The whole play started with a terrible mistake by Castillo, who failed to get to the ball. In this game, the key play was the mistake that lead to Santos goal, which started because of the terrible decision to give the ball to Rodriguez, whose back pass was terrible and allowed Rivero to get the ball and send a pass to Aguirre for the easy goal. While Rodriguez did a terrible back pass, it was probably because of the surprise of getting the ball from Castillo.
Pumas is now out of the tournament and will have to concentrate on the league, and their young players lose a big opportunity to get playing time, Meanwhile Santos did their job, although they failed to kill the game in clear counter attacks. They will now have to play the winner of the Monterrey vs Celaya series.
Both teams will face each other in Liga MX in Torreon, as Santos once again is favored to go through against Pumas, who although is superlider, hasn’t been the best away team in recent times.