Pumas got their first win in more than a month as they defeated Toluca 1-0 this Sunday. It wasn’t the prettiest of efforts, but Pumas got things done in an even match that was broken open by a goalkeeper’s mistake. With the win Pumas temporarily jumps to second place, which they will hope to keep for next week but depends on the result from Monday’s Leon vs America match. They will now have to look to next week’s tough away match against Pachuca, while Toluca will return home to face struggling Tijuana.
The first half started with the surprise that Pumas didn’t start with Carlos Gonzalez on top, with Favio Alvarez taking his place instead. The first opportunity was for Toluca as red hot Michael Estrada had a chance in the area, but his shot went wide. Alan Mozo later responded with a shot that was easily saved by Toluca’s goalkeeper, Luis Garcia. Later Estrada came close again, with a free header that went wide. Toluca had another opportunity when a shot by William Da Silva was stopped by Pumas’ goalkeeper, Alfredo Talavera. After a couple of even minutes, Pumas had a chance but it was easily saved by Garcia. Pumas came close again off a corner kick when Iturbe’s cross almost got deflected in by Toluca’s defense. The final minutes of the first half had Pumas attacking and pushing Toluca, who seemed to be running out of gas. Still it wasn’t enough, and the halftime whistle blew with the score remaining 0-0.
The second half started late because referee Luis Santander took too long to get back. Pumas hoped to continue the pressure as how they finished the first half. Pumas had the first opportunity when Alvarez found Juan Pablo Vigon in the area, but Toluca’s defense was able to clear the ball. Toluca answered back with a better chance when a mistake by Johan Vasquez allowed Alexis Canelo to head the ball, but Talavera was able to block his header. Pumas then had a good chance when Alvarez was allowed to get off a shot in the area, but his shot went wide. After a couple of very even minutes, Toluca had a good chance when Canelo got off a shot that forced Talavera to make a save. Pumas then made their first move when they subbed out Carlos Gutierrrez for Carlos Gonzalez. Toluca meanwhile subbed out Michael Estrada for Enrique Triverio. Toluca looked to get close with a shot by William Da Silva, but it went wide. Pumas then subbed out Juan Iturbe for Facundo Waller. Then in a totally surprising play, Pumas grabbed the lead. After a header by Gonzalez, Facundo Waller got to the ball and got off a cross that turned into a shot straight to Luis Garcia. Unfortunately for him as he got on top of the ball, it rolled under him and into the net and although he tried to hide it, it clearly went over the line for the 1-0. Toluca subbed out Diego Gonzalez for Alan Medina, as they needed to get back into the game. Pumas had a good opportunity, but Juan Ignacio Dinenno took too long so both his shot and Carlos Gonzalez’s shot were blocked by defenders. Toluca then came close but a shot by Canelo was accidentally blocked by teammate Triverio. Pumas then subbed out Favio Alvarez for Gerardo Moreno, while Toluca subbed out Raul Lopez and Antonio Rios for 16-year-old Isiaias Volante and Kevin Castañeda. Toluca came close when a good free kick by Ruben Sambueza connected with Haret Ortega, but Talavera was able to make a good save.
Pumas got a solid win, although it wasn’t their best performance. Still at times they were the superior team and although overall it was a very even match, they got the advantage from Luis Garcia’s mistake. Pumas will need to improve, but things should pick up once Carlos Gonzalez gets back to being 100% after suffering from COVID-19. They will have a tough test against Pachuca but at second place with 27 points, it has been a surprisingly positive victory. Toluca meanwhile get their first loss under new coach Carlos Morales. They held their own against Pumas for large stretches of the game, but they must be disappointed in the loss and with the fact they seemed to suffer from the climate for large parts of the match even when they play at the same time. They will now have a key match at home against Tijuana, in which they should be the favorites.