Pumas will hope to bounce back as they return home to face a struggling Atlas. After a surprising defeat away to Queretaro, Pumas will need to bounce back at home, where they haven’t lost in a year. They will have a great chance against an Atlas team that has lost all three of their matches and haven’t scored a goal. Still this kind of situations have sometime surprised Pumas just as it did against Queretaro.
Pumas had a great past season, there they got all the way to the final but lost against Leon. Still it was an historic season in which Andres Lillini got the interim job as head coach days before the start of it and ended up getting to the final after an historic comeback against Cruz Azul. Yet because of financial problems, Pumas had to sell their best player Carlos Gonzalez to Tigres but they were able to hold on to their other top striker in Juan Igancio Dinenno. Pumas had a good start with an away tie to Tijuana in which they were the better side and then they returned home to dominate Mazatlan FC for a 3-0 win. Unfortunately in the win, they lost Juan Ignacio Dinenno to injury. Because of it, they subbed in for Emanuel Montejano for his Liga MX debut and he ended up getting an assist and scoring the third goal. While it was a great debut for Montejano, there were still doubts how the offense was going to fall on a player who just made his Liga MX debut and those doubts turned into reality quickly. Against Queretaro, Montejano and all of Pumas struggled and although they were favored, they got a deserved 2-0 loss. Pumas will now need to bounce back and they will have a great situation to do so against Atlas and yet Pumas have fallen into the trap of underperforming in these types of game before. They will need to come out swinging and hope Montejano gets some help or they will struggle again.
Atlas season has been a total disappointment. In the off season they pinned their hopes on the signing of Julio Furch from Santos but unfortunately for them, he had a bad injury in the final pre season friendly. Atlas needed to sign a player to replace him and got Milton Caraglio, who had a history with Atlas but struggled in his last season with Cruz Azul and just isn’t at Furch’s level. Atlas started their season by losing at home 2-0 against Monterrey in a game where they were totally dominated. Atlas would then travel to Queretaro and in a poor game from both sides, they ended up losing 1-0 with a goal scored in the final minutes. Atlas would return home to face a tough Tigres who also dominated them and defeated them by a 2-0 score. So far Atlas has lost their three matches, been the inferior team in all of them, and have yet to score a goal. Now they will face a tough task against a Pumas team that plays at home and at under the noon sun. Coach Diego Cocca knows though that he might be playing for his job, and a wounded team is a dangerous one. Still it’s clear that Pumas is the favored side coming into Sunday’s game.
Pumas is the heavy favorite on Sunday, and yet they must be careful in order to come out on top. Even if it’s Atlas, Pumas still have their problems like not having much offense without Dinenno. While Pumas have been trying to fix this, including trying to sign Panamanian striker Gabriel Torres, it won’t be fixed for Sunday so they have to take that into account. You never know if Atlas is going to click, especially with the pressure they have. Still the situation is set up for Pumas to get a result, even more so than against Mazatlan. Should they not take advantage of it, the word crisis will start appearing in the mouth of their fans.
Game: Club Universidad Nacional A. C. vs. Club de Fútbol Rojinegros S.A. de C.V.
Date: Sunday, January 31st
Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Universitario (Ciudad de México, CDMX)
Referees: REF: César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, AR1: Michel Alejandro Morales Morales, AR2: Karen Janett Díaz Medina, 4TH: Jesus Rafael Lopez Valle, VAR: Oscar Mejia Garcia, AVAR: Gerardo Martínez Bravo
Television: United States - Univision, TUDN; Mexico -TUDN, Las Estrellas, ESPN2, Afizzionados; Argentina - Las Estrellas; Belize - ESPN2; Costa Rica - ESPN2; Dominican Republic - ESPN2; El Salvador - ESPN2; Guatemala - ESPN2; Honduras - ESPN2; Nicaragua - ESPN2; Panama - ESPN2