Pumas played by far the worst game of the season, losing to Tigres 3-0 on a hat-trick by Andre-Pierre Gignac. The turning point was when Pumas went down a player after giving up a penalty kick when the game was 0-0 just before halftime. Tigres gets a big boost from the win, especially after their struggles in midweek when they needed a goal from goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán to get past Alianza from El Salvador in the Concacaf Champions League. Meanwhile Pumas gets wrecked a week from their clash against their main rival America as they continue their recent tradition of playing their worst games in Tigres’ Estadio Universitario.
With the return of Pumas of Juan Pablo Vigon to the starting lineup, the game started in Monterrey with Pumas going into the attack. Trying to counter it, Tigres got a longball that forced Pumas defender Johan Vasquez to bring down Enner Valencia, getting a yellow card just two minutes into the game. Tigres started taking control of the possession, as Pumas’ offensive push didn’t last long. After a couple of chances that ended up being offsides by Valencia, the game suddenly got more even. Tigres got a good opportunity when Andre-Pierre Gignac got a ball and went past defender Alan Mozo, but his shot went wide. Later it was Valencia who got a header and hit the post, but it was ruled offside. Tigres took control of the possession again, as Pumas looked totally flat on the offense. Pumas finally had their first shot on goal in the 35th minute when Sebastian Saucedo got a shot off, but it went wide. In the best opportunity to that point in the game, a free kick by Guido Pizarro found Valencia in the area, and his header forced Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar to make a great diving stop. In the ensuing corner kick, a header came close before the Pumas defense was able to clear it. The in last minute of the first half, Valencia made a move that forced Luis Quintana to drop him in the area, giving up a penalty kick and earning his second yellow card. Pumas had to cope with a PK and going down to 10 players in a game where they had already been dominated. Gignac took the penalty and placed it past Saldivar for the 1-0. The halftime whistle blew, ending the worst half of play for Pumas in 2020.
The second half started and it didn’t take long for Tigres to threaten. Gignac got a long range shot off that Saldivar had to make a great stop to prevent the score. Pumas subbed out Pablo Barrera for Nicolas Freire, knowing he needed another center back after not having Quintana. Tigres then had a great chance when Valencia went alone against the keeper and took him out, but his shot went wide. The referre went to VAR and judged that Saldivar knocked him down and gave another penalty kick. Gignac took it again and shot it past Saldivar.
A couple of minutes later, an incredible volley from Gignac went past Saldivar for the 3-0. In what could easily be the best goal of the tournament not only for Gignac but the whole league, he jumped and volleyed it with the back of his foot past Saldivar.
The game was over and Pumas was now trying to stop things from getting out of hand even worse. Pumas made moves by subbing out Saucedo for Ignacio Malcorra and Favio Alvarez for Juan Dinenno. Tigres made a substitution by taking out Valencia for Eduardo Vargas. About a minute later, Vargas had his first chance with a shot that Saldivar saved. Pumas had a couple of attacks with Dinenno leading the way, but none of them came close to danger. Pumas might have gotten some relief when Gignac had to be subbed out for Julian Quiñones. Raymundo Fulgencio had two good shots that were saved both times by Saldivar. Tigres had another chance when Javier Aquino got the ball in the area but his shot went wide.
The win could be a turning point for both teams’ seasons. Tigres should get a boost from the victory and the performance, especially after getting through to the next round in the Concacaf Champions League. There might be some worries however due to the fact that Gignac looked to be injured when he got subbed out.
Pumas meanwhile might get a huge hit to their season after the worst performance so far. In two weeks time, Pumas went from being the only undefeated team in Mexico and in first place to being in disarray as they face their biggest regular season game against America. While America will be coming into the game from a home loss by the same score (3-0) against Necaxa and with injuries and suspensions, Pumas will now be without Quintana and with the worries from their last performance being embarrassing. Tigres meanwhile will go to Puebla and probably be favored to continue their winning ways.