Pumas were clearly the better side as they made a winning debut at home, getting a 3-0 victory over Mazatlan FC. Pumas was the better side all game, taking control over a Mazatlan FC team that just as expected struggled mightily in the heat of the 12:00 PM game time in Mexico City. Unfortunately for Pumas, the win might have had a costly price as star striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno got injured, although new striker Emmanuel Montejano couldn’t have had a better debut. Pumas will now travel to Queretaro and face the local team next Sunday, while Mazatlan FC will return home to face a tough match against Santos on Friday.
The game started with Pumas going with an offensive lineup, including starting with Juan Iturbe instead of Favio Alvarez. After a couple of minutes, Facundo Waller would get off a great left footed shot past Mazatlan’s keeper for the early 1-0 lead. It was a great goal, and the first of 2021 for Pumas. Minutes later, Juan Ignacio Dinenno seemed to have gotten injured and dropped into the ground stopping the match. In what was terrible news for Pumas’ season, he had to be subbed out and Emanuel Montejano was subbed in, making his Liga MX debut. Montejano is a prime prospect, but it will be a tough test to replace Dinenno, especially since he didn’t get time in Liga de Expansion as Pumas inexplicably kept him playing with the U20s.
Pumas would come close off of a corner kick when Nicolas Freire rose to head a ball but it went wide. Pumas continued to pressure Mazatlan, who looked totally uncomfortable because of this. Yet later Mazatlan started showing signs of life and totally surprised everybody when Efrain Velarde got off a long range left footed shot that hit the post in a play where Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera would have had no chance to get to the ball had it gone a couple inches over. Later off of a corner kick, Erik Lira rose to head the ball and forced Vikonis to make a great save. Then Mazatlan’s Luis Angel Mendoza made a good move to get off a shot that Talavera was able to save. Pumas was able to hold on and take a deserved 1-0 lead to halftime.
The second half started with Pumas hoping to keep their lead while Mazatlan looked to bounce back. Pumas controlled the first minutes of the second half, but didn’t have a shot on goal until Waller had a shot that went wide. Pumas had a good opportunity later when Juan Pablo Vigon got a shot in the area that forced Vikonis to make a good save. Then after a great play by Carlos Gutierrez in which he got the ball and went past all of Mazatlan’s players, he got into the area and got off a great shot past Viknonis for the 2-0 lead. Mazatlan tried to respond by subbing out Fernando Aristeguieta (who had a very poor match) for Luis Rey. Minutes later they had another chance, but Gutierrez lost the ball as he got into the area. Pumas subbed out Facundo Waller for Leonel Lopez. A minute later Pumas would make them pay when after a terrible defensive display by Mazatlan on a corner kick, Emanuel Montejano made his debut an incredible experience. Mazatlan FC defenders failed to clear the ball off of that corner kick, leaving the ball bouncing in the area where Montejano dove for the ball and got off a right footed shot past Nicolas Vikonis for the 3-0 lead. Mazatlan panicked after the goal and made four substitutions. Efrain Velarde, Jose Ortiz, Gael Sandoval, and Israel Jimenez got subbed out for Candido Ramirez, Mario Osuna, Nestor Vidrio, and Carlos Vargas. Mazatlan looked to have an opportunity when Osuna got a shot off but it went wide. Pumas subbed out Juan Pablo Vigon and Carlos Gutierrez for Sebastian Saucedo and Angel Lopez. Pumas continued having more of the possession and totally dominated the match to get the 3-0 victory.
Pumas had a convincing start at home to their season. With Pumas coming close to a year without losing at home (strangely enough their last loss at home was against Morelia, the team that became Mazatlan FC), it was great news that they continued to be strong in home games. Unfortunately for them, losing Dinenno is a very bad news. While Montejano made a great start and is one of the top prospects in the organization in recent times, he still is a rookie and will be having a tough task in replacing Dinenno. There is also the fact that with him playing, Pumas will now need a new replacement for a substitute forward on the bench which Pumas doesn’t seem to have. Yet for now, Pumas looks like they are once again in the right path for at least a good season. Meanwhile Mazatlan FC looked terrible. They were completely dominated and outside of the shot by Velarde, they never threatened to score. Even after Pumas lost Dinenno, Mazatlan was never the better team and overall it was as bad a performance from a team in the recently started Clausura 2021. Pumas will now face Queretaro in what looks to be one of the best opportunities in the season to get an away win, while Mazatlan faces Santos in a game where they will not be favored for a result even when they are at home.