Pumas and America lived up to the preseason mode in their second match of the Copa GNP por Mexico that ended with a 0-0 tie. A very even and somewhat boring first half was followed by a terrible second half, in which there was only one shot on goal in 45 minutes. The tie places America as the leader of Group A with four points and Pumas ends up with their first point of the tournament. America will now face Cruz Azul on Saturday in a version of the Clasico Joven, while Pumas will close out on Sunday against Toluca.
The game started with the biggest news being the debut of Alfredo Talavera as Pumas’ keeper. Both teams came out with solid starting lineups with Pumas deciding to go with a lone striker, this time being Juan Carlos Dinenno. America had the same starting lineup than their game against Toluca, except for Goalkeeper Oscar Jimenez starting over Guillermo Ochoa. After a couple of tense early minutes, Pumas had the first chance when Sebastian Saucedo went alone through the wing and got a shot that just went pass Jimenez’s right post. Later off of a free kick, Saucedo once again went very close but the ball was deflected by the wall. Then after a couple of foul calls, America’s coach Miguel Herrera seemed to almost get in a fight with a member of Pumas coaching staff but it was placed under control. Then after a slide Saucedo, who had been the best player on the field, injured himself and had to leave the game. Juan Pablo Vigon came in for him. America had their first dangerous play when a cross almost got deflected into the path of Henry Martin, who couldn’t get to it. He would have had a tap in had he gotten to the ball.
The game was very evenly matched as America was nowhere near the level they showed last Friday and Pumas seemed a lot more cautious than how they did on Saturday. Then in play that should remind people of Alfredo Saldivar, Talavera gave a ball away but luckily for him the shot was deflected and it went straight to his arms. Without anybody on Pumas stepping up to replace Saucedo, America took control of the game but for all their possession, they couldn’t create much danger against a very defensive Pumas. The halftime whistle blew and both teams ended the very poor first half.
The second half started with America making ten changes (every player but the goalkeeper) just like their game against Toluca. Pumas only made two, the most notable being subbing in Carlos Gonzalez for Favio Alvarez. After a couple of very even minutes another Pumas player got injured when Nicolas Freire was forced to leave the game and Ricardo Galindo came in for him. The game turned very even and once again Pumas didn’t seem to be able to cope playing against a very young squad. The game continued to be very evenly matched and with incredibly poor play. It took almost to the 90th minute to get a dangerous chance, this time from Pumas, but it was ruled to be offside. In the final minutes, America started to apply pressure and in the final minute, America forced Talavera to make a stop. It was the only chance in 45 minutes. The whistle blew and both teams ended one of the worst performances in a Clasico Capitalino in recent memory.
Pumas and America definitely proved that both teams are in the middle of their preseason and very far from reaching an optimum level before the start of the league. America’s level decreased a lot from what they showed on Friday, although they did give a lot of play to the younger players on their team. Pumas meanwhile continues to be the most disappointing team of the Copa GNP de Mexico. Although it’s a much better result than Saturday’s 4-1 blowout loss, they might have played worse at times and once again they couldn’t handle a much younger squad than the one they were playing with. The point will help but with Cruz Azul still having two games to play, only getting a point makes it out as if they will not be going through to the semifinals of the tournament.