Pumas failed to beat a FC Juarez team that had gone down to nine players, ending up with a 1-1 tie that although still has them on top of the leader board, have showed that Pumas is far from playing like a leaders. Pumas had played poorly in their two prior games but they went to a new level. Even with a two player advantage, Pumas could only score on a dubious penalty kick and then failed to continue with the lead. Pumas will now go to Monterrey, where they look likely to lose their first game of the season, while Juarez will return home to face another team in disarray in Chivas.
The game started with Pumas getting the return of Andres Iniestra, while Juan Pablo Vigon would miss the game because of illness. It didn’t take long for Pumas to pressure Juarez, and Eryc Castillo made a bad tackle on Jesus Rivas that got him and yellow card, but replays showed it looked like a red card offense. The referee went to the VAR and changed it to a red card, leaving Juarez with ten players and without a key player in Castillo. Then on the free kick, Jeronimo Rodriguez took the shot and hit the post. Later it was Carlos Gonzalez who threatened with a shot from a Carlos Gutierrez cross, but it fell right into the hands of Juarez goalkeeper Ivan Vasquez Mellado. Juarez had their first chance when Jesus Zavala got to a ball off a corner kick, but his shot went straight to keeper Alfredo Talavera. Pumas kept attacking, but couldn’t create any real chances. Pumas had their best chance when a cross to Juan Ignacio Dinenno found him in close range, but incredibly he headed it wide. After Carlos Gutierrez was brought down as the last player, the referee gave another red card, this time to Francisco Nevarez but it was ruled offside. The referee once again went to VAR, and it was overturned and Nevarez was red carded and Juarez now went down to nine players. Pumas had a great chance when a cross was headed by Gonzalez and fell in the area to Jeronimo Rodriguez, who made a terrible shot and it went out. The halftime whistle blew and incredibly Pumas hadn’t been able to take advantage of the two Juarez red cards as the match was scoreless.
The second half started with Pumas subbing out Jesus Rivas for Juan Iturbe. After a couple of tough minutes, Carlos Gonzalez got brought down by goalkeeper Vasquez and the referee gave a penalty kick. Gonzalez took the PK and converted it with a right footed shot for the 1-0 lead. It looked like Pumas had the win set up, but incredibly they gave Juarez a chance that they took advantage of. Maxi Olivera took a free kick and made a sensational left footed shot that went past Talavera to tie the game at 1-1. For the thousandth time, Pumas gifting a free kick had ended up costing Pumas. Pumas tried to go forward but did a terrible job. They subbed out Favio Alvarez for Sebastian Saucedo, who then proceeded to waste two good chances. Juarez had another free kick and got close again with a header from Dario Lezcano that just went wide. Pumas finally came close with a cross that Dinenno missed and Vasquez punched into a corner kick. Pumas almost got a good chance when a shot by Iturbe almost got deflected into the net by a Juarez defender. A long range shot from Nicolas Freire went close but wide as Pumas had no clear ideas on the offense. Pumas came close again when a low cross into the area just missed Gonzalez. Then Sebastian Saucedo fell in the area and a penalty kick was given but the ref went to the VAR and it got rightly called off because Saucedo had crashed into the defender. Pumas started to protest and ended up not getting a single chance after that and an embarrassing tie.
Pumas had been a surprising team as they sat on top of the leader board with one of the weaker squads. Unfortunately for them, the performances were not “leaders” material and they were more lucky than good. Their luck has apparently run out, and they gave the worst performance in 2020 at home. Also once again they tripped over FC Juarez, a team that has their number and who last time (Apertura 2019) they tied 1-1 and basically knocked the team out of the Liguilla. FC Juarez meanwhile gets a big boost of a result although their performance wasn’t the best and they benefited from Pumas terrible play for second straight week. The week before they also went down to ten players but Necaxa failed to get a tie and they held on for the win. They will now return home to face Chivas and they should be favored to win as Chivas has just fired their coach and have yet to score a goal in the tournament. Pumas meanwhile will go to Monterrey and it looks likely that the northern team will end their undefeated record and dropped them from first place.