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León to remain on top after holding on in away win to Puebla

Leon held on after a going down to 10 players to get a 2-1 win in Puebla.

Puebla v Leon - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Leon had a late scare but held on to defeat Puebla 2-1 and will continue to be in 1st place in Liga MX. They had a tough game after only playing 4 days ago against America, but were able to get an away win against a Puebla team that came out inspired. They were also able to hold on even when they went down to 10 players. Now Leon hopes to close out the season with their last home game being against tough Santos Laguna while Puebla will travel to Guadalajara for their last away game of the season, when they face Atlas.

The first half started without a crowd. Earlier in the week, Liga MX had allowed Puebla to have fans but government authorities stepped up to say there wouldn’t be fans allowed after the increase of COVID-19 cases in the state. The game also started without VAR because the truck with the equipment was caught up in traffic. Surprising Puebla had the first opportunity when a shot by Pablo Gonzalez forced Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota to make a save. Leon had their first opportunity when a good pass by Angel Mena found Emmanuel Gigliotti, but his shot went wide. The good news for the game came when the VAR truck finally arrived. Puebla came very close to scoring when Santiago Ormeño made a great header that forced Cota to make a great save to send the ball into the top post. Leon came close again when Jean Meneses got to a bouncing ball in the area but his shot went wide by inches. Leon was controlling the game but didn’t create much danger. Later, after a small clash, Osvaldo Martinez looked to have injured himself and had to be carted out. Puebla had to sub in Omar Fernandez to replace him. The halftime whistle blew and although it had been spirited at times, the game overall had failed to live up to expectations, especially with Leon.

The 2nd half started and once again Puebla came close to scoring first with a shot from Maximiliano Perg that went wide. Later, it was Ormeño who had a great chance but his left footed shot was saved by Cota. It looked like Puebla was going to continue to dominate but in the first attack of the 2nd half, Leon made the most of it. A great cross by Osvaldo Rodriguez, was headed by Emmanuel Gigliotti, and although it hit Puebla’s keeper Nicolas Vikonis, the ball still went in for the 1-0. Puebla made another move when they subbed out Pablo Gonzalez for Daniel Ramirez. Leon later had a great chance for the 2-0 when Luis Montes found a wide open Angel Mena in the area but his shot went over the bar in an incredible wasted chance. Mena had his redemption when after a great play in the area by Gigliotti, who made a move that left a defender and Vikonis in the ground, was finished with a pass to wide open Mena. Mena got to the ball before a defender and got his right footed shot into the empty net for the 2-0. Leon seemed to wake up and Montes came close to scoring a great goal when he lobbed the ball from almost the half line and it went over Vikonis but also wide. Puebla finally answered back when a great pass found Ormeño but instead of shooting, he tried to take on Cota and the keeper was able to knock the ball off his feet. A minute later after a foul by Christian Tabo, Pedro Aquino stepped up and looked to headbutt him, which forced the ref to give him a straight red card. Leon was now forced to play with 10 players and it looked like a lifeline was given to Puebla. Leon immediately subbed in Joel Campbell and Nicolas Sosa for Gigliotti and Mena while Puebla subbed in Amury Escoto for Emanuel Gularte. A minute later, a great cross by Puebla was headed in by Daniel Ramirez although the ref went to check on the VAR for a supposed foul. Replays showed their was no foul and the goal stood for the 2-1 and Puebla looked to be more than into the game. Puebla came close again when a shot by Escoto was saved by Cota. Leon came close again when Joel Campbell made a great play in the area and got off a shot that hit the post. Leon came close again this time by a mistake by Puebla when Daniel Aguilar headed the ball back and went inches from scoring an own goal. Puebla then came the closest to scoring so far when a great pass by Daniel Ramirez would have given Tabo a tap in goal but he failed to reach the ball after arriving with the wrong foot to connect it. Leon subbed out Meneses and Jose Ramirez for Fidel Ambriz and Andres Mosquera. Puebla had pushed Leon into their area but it seemed to be too little too late. Minutes later the ref blew the whistle and Leon had hold on to get the 3 points.

Leon didn’t play as well as they had in past games but they were able to get the 3 points and got a deserved win. They will hope to close out things against Santos and Toluca but as they are only 1 point away from clinching first place in the Liguilla, it seems they have it all but wrapped up. Puebla meanwhile gave a good performance but once again at home, they fell short. Still, they faced strong opposition and were able to at times be the better team during the night. However, they are just outside the repechaje zone and will have a tough time to try to make the Liguilla.