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Leon give Pumas first loss after controversial game

Leon defeats Pumas by a score of 2-0 in a match where Pumas went down to 10 players in a controversial way.

Leon v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Leon gave Pumas their first loss of the season when they defeated them by a score of 2-0 in a deserved but controversial loss. Pumas ended their undefeated streak in the same stadium and against the same team they had their last loss, in their final game of the Clausura 2020. Although Leon was the better team throughout the match, the game was marred when Pumas went down to ten players after Alfredo Talavera got a second yellow card. It was a dubious play that referee Cesar Ramos judged to be penalty kick even when replays showed it probably was the wrong call. Pumas will now return home to try to climb after falling from first place to fourth as they face bottom dweller Necaxa. Leon meanwhile will face the other bottom dwelling team as they travel to face Atletico San Luis.

The first half started with Pumas having the return of Juan Iturbe and Nicolas Freire to the starting lineup after picking up injuries in their match against Santos Laguna. There had been heavy rainfall in Leon hours before kickoff, but the field had been kept in good condition for the match. Leon had the first opportunities, first with an Emanuel Gigliotti shot that just went wide and later with a cross by William Tesillo that almost got deflected into the net by a diving Freire. Leon had the best chance when Angel Mena got the ball in the area from a cross by Yairo Moreno, and his shot hit the top post before being cleared by Pumas defense. It was a clear chance, and Leon had taken control of the game. Minutes after, Mena would make a great move in finding Gigliotti, whose shot was saved by Pumas’ keeper Alfredo Talavera. Later Talavera would get a yellow card for protesting. There was another dangerous chance when Fernando Navarro got the ball alone in the area but he failed to control it and Talavera was able to get to it and stop what would have been a clear opportunity. Pumas didn’t have a chance until the 25th minute but it was a good one. After a couple of passes, Favio Alvarez got into the area and crossed the ball over Leon’s keeper Rodolfo Cota and it fell to Carlos Gonzalez but he waited too long to shoot and later would fall in the area, but the ref waived the play and didn’t give a penalty kick. Slowly Pumas started to get more possession, although Leon still proved to be dangerous as they started to counter. Talavera made another great stop off a Gigliotti shot from close range and would later on would send a shot into a corner kick. In the ensuing play, Talavera would make another incredible stop when Luis Montes had a shot from close range that Talavera stopped before the rebound shot was blocked by Pumas defense. It was an incredible play with Talavera showing he is Pumas’ best player. Then after Angel Mena fell in the area, after a clash with Talavera, the ref Cesar Ramos gave a penalty kick and gave Talavera a second yellow. Replays showed that Mena seemed to have dived. The ref didn’t go to VAR and Juan Manuel Iturbe had to be subbed out so Julio Gonzalez could come in and take the goalkeeper spot. Mena converted the PK with a left footed shot for the 1-0 lead. The ref whistled for halftime and although it should have been a fair result for the way the game went, it was a totally unjust play after a bad mistake by Ramos.

The second half started with Pumas now in deep trouble without Talavera. It didn’t take long for Leon to score, but it was correctly ruled to be offside as it looked like Leon was going to continue to dominate the match. Later Gonzalez came up with a big save off of a shot by Montes, but it too was ruled offside for an earlier play. Gonzalez would step up again with a save from a left footed shot. Later a close range header from Gigliotti just went wide. Pumas needed to change things and subbed out Favio Alvarez and Juan Ignacio Dinenno for Juan Pablo Vigon and Carlos Gutierrez. Leon later would sub out Nicolas Sosa for Jean Meneses. After a couple of tries, Pumas had their first shot of the second half when Alan Mozo had his long range shot easily saved by Cota. Julio Gonzalez would come on big for Pumas again when he dove and took the ball out of a Meneses’ feet in the area, just before he got a shot off. Leon would finally get through when a great combination play that had Fernando Navarro crossing the ball to Jean Meneses, who didn’t wait for the ball to fall and volleyed it past Gonzalez for the 2-0. Pumas immediately subbed out Alan Mozo and Andres Iniestra for Facundo Waller and Bryan Mendoza. Leon subbed out Emanuel Gigliotti and Pedro Aquino for Joel Campbell and Ivan Rodriguez. Campbell almost made an impact he made a great play in the area and got off a shot that Gonzalez saved. Later William Tesillo was subbed out for Juan Ignacio Gonzalez. In the last minutes, Johan Vasquez would rose to head the ball wide in a corner kick as Pumas protested for a penalty kick but the ref didn’t give one.

Leon showed that they might be the team who is playing the best football in Mexico. They were overly superior to Pumas, and if they had better forwards than Nicolas Sosa and Emanuel Gigliotti they would have won by a bigger margin. Still although they were better, the match changed because of Cesar Ramos’ decision as Pumas couldn’t threaten at all after going down to ten players. The Talavera decision was very controversial, as the last time Talavera had been red carded it was by Ramos and it had been for an insult, the same thing why Talavera got his first yellow card. The fact that the penalty kick call was dubious at best and the yellow card was a total mistake leaves a lot to be desired in what was already a terrible weekend for referee decisions in Mexico. Pumas should improve as they face a struggling Necaxa at home before they face their biggest game of the season against America. Meanwhile Leon look to be at their best and should be heavy favorites against Atletico San Luis even when it’s an away game.