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Pumas battles back while down a player to get draw against Necaxa

Pumas and Necaxa tied 1-1 in a game where Pumas played most of it down a player.

Pumas UNAM v Necaxa - Torneo Guard1anes 2020 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas had to battle back from picking up a red card and allowing a Necaxa goal, but persevered in the end and got the 1-1 tie. Overall, Pumas was heavily favored and on papar it’s a bad result against the bottom dwelling Necaxa but in the game, Pumas battled back and at times dominated even when they were down a player and a goal since early in the first half. Necaxa meanwhile came within reach of a great result, but once again showed their struggles as they lost possession even with an extra player. Pumas will now have the biggest game of their season when they travel minutes away to Estadio Azteca to face their biggest rival, Club America. Necaxa will have a visit to Guadalajara to face improving Atlas.

The first half started with Pumas having their normal starting lineup but without a key piece as goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera missed the game because of his red card against Leon. Julio Gonzalez took his place in the starting lineup. Necaxa surprised everybody by having a clear chance when Fernando Arce Jr got a free header but sent it wide. Necaxa continued to surprise as Pumas looked inconsistent. Then things turned horribly for Pumas when off a counter attack, Favio Alvarez made an incredibly stupid play in taking down Claudio Baeza and got red carded. With Pumas down to 10 players for another consecutive game, it didn’t look good against a struggling Necaxa who was playing well. Then in the ensuing free kick, Necaxa made an even bigger statement when David Cabrera took an incredible free kick to score the 1-0. Cabrera, who had been with Pumas up until this season, made a great goal and showed up his old team. Pumas was reeling and minutes later Gonzalez had to make a great stop on a close range deflection from Johan Vasquez off a cross by Alejandro Zendejas. Pumas had their first opportunity when Alejandro Mayorga got a shot off that forced Necaxa’s keeper Luis Malagon to make a save into a corner kick. Pumas started to even the match more although they were still failing to create dangerous opportunities. Martin Barragan seemed to have scored for Necaxa, but he was rightly judged to be offside. Pumas had one of the best chances when Necaxa lost a ball allowing Juan Ignacio Dinenno to go one-on-one against the keeper, but Jair Pereira did a good job of getting back and preventing Dinenno from getting a shot off. The halftime whistle blew and although Pumas had gained a lot of possession, they were still in a big hole because of the Alvarez Red Card.

The second half started with Necaxa taking off the already yellow carded, Fernado Arce for Raul Sandoval. After a couple of minutes of even play, Pumas had the first opportunity of the second half when Mayorga had a long range shot that Malagon had to make a great save to stop from going into the net. Necaxa though had the closest chance when Zendejas found a Idekel Dominguez, whose header just went wide. Later after a foul, Alan Mozo got a yellow card and almost immediately got subbed out for Juan Pablo Vigon. Dinenno later got an opportunity after making a move in the area, but his shot went well wide. Pumas subbed out Juan Iturbe (who threw a big tantrum because of it) for Facundo Waller. Later Nicolas Freire made another dumb foul just outside the area and got a yellow card. Then Freire would make amends almost immediately. Off a corner kick, Freire rose to head the ball and force Malagon to make a great save. Juan Pablo Vigon though would get to the rebound and make a great low cross into the area that Dinenno was able to get to and score it past Malagon from close range for the 1-1. Pumas had battled hard and Necaxa had decreased their intensity. Though Necaxa came close with a counter that they wasted. Necaxa tried to answer as they subbed out Alejandro Zendejas for Juan Delgado and Martin Barregan for Lucas Passerini. Off another corner kick, Pumas had a good chance when Vigon got to the ball and got off a shot that Malagon brilliantly saved. Pumas came close again when a cross by Carlos Gutierrez ended up hitting the top post. Pumas continued to pressure and they looked to have a chance for a penalty when Carlos Gonzalez fell in the area but the ref rightly said it wasn’t. Pumas kept pushing but time ran out and the game ended in a tie.

Pumas didn’t have a great result but they could look happy at battling back and getting a point. Still the situation was of their own doing after Favio Alvarez’s reckless play. Pumas need to improve as they face their second consecutive game where they finished with 10 players. Their luck has seemed to run out somewhat, but they should improve next week with the return of Talavera. Yet the Clasico against America is always tough and it may be the toughest match for Pumas of the remaining games in the Apertura 2020. Necaxa meanwhile continues to struggle and although it a positive result as they got their first point in a while, they failed to take advantage of a key situation. It seems they are primed to bounce back against Atlas, but they still are leaving a lot to be desired with their performance game after game.