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America and Pumas battle in exciting draw

The Clasico Capitalino ended with a 2-2 draw after an exciting performance.

via @ClubAmerica

America and Pumas gave the best performance of a Clasico so far in the Apertura 2020 as the rivals tied 2-2. Pumas held on with 10 players against an offensive America to get a point in a game that fans would lament them losing a lead twice. America meanwhile ended their three straight Clasico weeks undefeated, but with only one win as fans will complain of not being able to get a win against a team down to 10 players. Still it was a better match than the other Clasicos (America vs Chivas, Monterrey vs Tigres, and Cruz Azul vs America) and both teams looked like future Liguilla participants. Pumas will stay in Mexico City as they face Toluca in the return to Liga MX after the FIFA date. America will have a tough return to the FIFA date when they travel to Leon to face the first placed team.

The first half started with Pumas not having Carlos Gonzalez and Nicolas Freire (tested positive for COVID-19) as well as Alfredo Talavera (In Europe with the national team), while America was without Guillermo Ochoa, Paul Aguilar, and Emmanuel Aguilera (all out with injuries). America had the first opportunity in the game when Giovani Dos Santos got a left footed shot in the area that was easily saved by Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez. America missed a great chance when off a free kick, Gonzalez came out to get to a cross but missed the ball. It fell to Henry Martin who had a a wide open net, but his shot went wide in an awful miss. Pumas had their first opportunity when Juan Iturbe found Facundo Waller in the area, but his strong left footed shot was saved by America’s keeper Oscar Jimenez. Later Henry Martin got the ball in the area and tried a bicycle kick, but the ball went wide. America had another opportunity when after a couple of bounces in the area the ball fell to Nicolas Benedetti, and he got a shot that went wide. America had a great opportunity when Martin got the ball in the area, but his shot went straight into Gonzalez’s arms. America had been the better team but had wasted their chances. Pumas would finally make them pay when Carlos Gutierrez made a pass into the area that went through players from both Pumas and America and right into Juan Pablo Vigon. Vigon made a good move and shot it past Jimenez for the 1-0 lead. Pumas had been suffering all game long but in their second opportunity, they converted, unlike America.

Minutes later, Andres Iniestra had to battle for the ball with Dos Santos and accidentally hit him in the face, causing Dos Santos to bleed with a possible injury to his nose. Pumas had a good opportunity in which Juan Ignacio Dinenno shot and forced Jimenez to make a save, in a play in which the better option was for him to pass it to one of two Pumas players in the area. The play would be big when after a couple of minutes, Martin was able to get a ball in the area and find Benedetti, who shot it past Gonzalez for the 1-1 tie.

America once again picked it up and Dos Santos came close to scoring when his shot got deflected, just going inches wide. America came close again when Federico Viñas went past Iniestra and got a left footed shot that hit the post. The halftime whistle blew and America had been the superior team but Pumas kept it close at times.

The second half started with neither team making a substitution. Pumas had the first chance when off a free kick, Jimenez failed to clear the ball and Luis Quintana shot the ball, but Viñas was able to clear the ball off the line although a foul was called on Dinenno. Jimenez got a cut in the face in the play, becoming the second America player to suffer one in the game. America had their first chance when Dos Santos got into the area, but Gonzalez dove to take the ball off his feet. Pumas answered and in a big way. Alejandro Mayorga made a great run through the America defense and then crossed the ball to Juan Manuel Iturbe, who headed the ball past Jimenez for the 2-1 lead.

America almost answered back when Ramon Juarez headed a ball just wide off a cross. Pumas came close again when Mayorga made another great run and got a shot off with his right foot that forced Jimenez to make a save. America subbed out Giovani Dos Santos for Leo Suarez. America came close when off a free kick, Richard Sanchez took a good opportunity that forced Gonzalez to make a great save. In the ensuing corner kick, Leo Suarez got the ball in the area but even though he was offside he took too much time, so Gonzalez was able to get to the ball and clear it from his feet. Pumas made the first substitution by subbing out Juan Pablo Vigon for Erik Lira. America took a free kick and the ball looked to crash into the wall but replays showed that Andres Iniestra handled the ball when it crashed. The referee went to VAR and gave the penalty kick. Iniestra also got his second yellow card on the play, and thus Pumas went down to ten players. Federico Viñas took the PK and converted it with a left footed shot for the 2-2.

Pumas subbed out Iturbe for Leonel Lopez as they tried a last attack as they had everything against them now. Still Pumas came close with a header by Johan Vasquez coming close to going in. America tried to take advantage of the extra player and subbed out Henry Martin for Roger Martinez as well as Benedetti for Andres Ibarguen. America came close again when a shot was deflected, forcing Gonzalez to make a save. In the ensuing corner kick, a shot by Leo Suarez forced Gonzalez to make the stop but he gave a rebound straight to Sebastian Caseres, who got his shot into the stands in a bad miss. Pumas made another move by subbing out Carlos Gutierrez for Bryan Mendoza. America went on the offense for the last minutes, but Pumas held on and got the 2-2 tie.

America and Pumas both gave a good performance, although their fans will probably not be happy with the results. Pumas fans will be mad at having the lead twice and having America come back twice. They will also be mad that Andres Iniestra, the new enemy this season for most, would be the one to “ruin” the game for the team with the PK and the red card. America fans will be mad that they couldn’t get the win even when America had a player and have the better squad. Still the result overall was just because America had been slightly better overall but Pumas did even the match, especially in the second half. They also didn’t sit back even down a player. Pumas will now be favored when Liga MX returns to action by facing a struggling Toluca while America will have it tough against a Leon side that is in first place and playing the best out of all teams in Liga MX.