Pumas gave a terrible performance this afternoon as they faltered against a not overly superior Atlas in a 0-0 tie. In what was one of the worst games so far this season, both teams performed poorly although Atlas was the better side. Pumas never even forced Atlas’ goalkeeper Camilo Vargas to make a save as they showed that without Juan Igancio Dinenno, they don’t have the offensive power to threaten. Pumas will now have to travel and face Monterrey while Atlas will return home to face “brother” Santos.
The first half started with Pumas making changes from their loss to Queretaro. Jesus Rivas and Erik Lira left their spots for Favio Alvarez and Leonel Lopez (although it was Carlos Gutierrez who was moved down to Rivas position). Atlas meanwhile made no changes. After a couple of even minutes, Atlas had the first opportunity when Diego Barbosa got a long range shot that forced Pumas’ goalkeeper, Alfredo Talavera, to make a save. The game was very even but surprisingly it was Atlas who were the slightly better team. There was a controversy when it looked like Barbosa had handled a ball in the area but the Ref went to VAR and it was ruled no penalty kick. Atlas had a good opportunity off a corner kick when Anderson Santamaria got wide open but he inexplicably missed the ball as he tried to head it, wasting a good opportunity. There was a scary scene when Milton Caraglio crashed into Gutierrez and it looked like both players were injured. Atlas had the best chance of the game when Victor Malcorra made a cross that found a wide open Renato Ibarra, whose header just went wide. The halftime whistle blew and to the surprise of most, Atlas had been the better side.
The 2nd half started as Pumas needed to improve, but they made no substitutions even after their poor 1st half. Pumas had their first attempt with a long range shot by Jeronimo Rodriguez but it went well wide. Atlas almost had a good chance when Ibarra almost got to a ball before Talavera and it forced him to send the ball into a corner kick. Pumas subbed out Facundo Waller and Leonel Lopez (both with poor performances) for Erik Lira and Angel Garcia. Atlas would answer by subbing out Renato Ibarra for Javier Correa. Pumas improved somewhat with the changes but later, Atlas would improve as well. Favio Alvarez and Juan Iturbe, the worst players on the pitch, were subbed out for Amaury Garcia and Jose Cobian. Pumas almost responded immediately off a free kick when Emanuel Montejano lowered the ball for Juan Pablo Vigon but he made a terrible shot that went well wide, wasting their best opportunity of the game. Atlas made a move by subbing out Jairo Torres for Luciano Acosta. After a corner kick, Emanuel Montejano fell badly trying a volley, and seemed to hurt himself. He had to be subbed out for Jacob Morales. Atlas made their final move by subbing out Angel Marquez for Pablo Gonzalez. There were no more opportunities and the disappointing match ended a scoreless draw.
Pumas was a total disappointment on Sunday. Not only did they fail to win, giving Atlas their first point of the season, but their lack of attacks for a 2nd straight game means that their plan of going with lone forward in Montejano is not good enough. Worse yet is the fact that Montejano might miss considerable time because of injury after having to leave the game. It looks like Pumas is going from a team that went to the final to a team that will be lucky to make the repechaje. Atlas meanwhile, have improved somewhat from being what was the worst record in Liga MX last season, but they still failed to create much danger for Talavera and things aren’t going to get easier, although they did get a very tough point on the road. Next Saturday, they will have to improve against Santos, but they have a better chance than Pumas, who anything but a loss away to Monterrey should be a surprise.