An offseason of uncertainty ended for both Tijuana and Pumas, and both teams played with the same kind of uncertainty in a match that ended in a 0-0 draw. Both sets of fans saw things they could enjoy from their respective teams, while both are still very much works in progress.
Tijuana started the game out on the front foot, applying pressure early on the Pumas end of the field but not getting much to show for it. Both teams underwent significant roster changes during the offseason, and it was evident as passes often went to players who were covered and players sometimes wound up occupying the same space and making the same run. Xolos had their first real chance in the 20th minute when Mauro Manotas went in one-on-one with Alfredo Talavera but Tala read him perfectly and stopped the shot.
Pumas got their first oppoerunity in the 23rd when Juan Ignacio Dinenno sliced through the Xolos defense and hit a cross far post, however a defender was able to get a leg on it before it found one of two onrushing Pumas players and knocked it to safety. A minute later, Jonathan Orozco was forced to make a diving save on a close range shot, tipping it out over the end line. In the 30th minute, Xolos hit Pumas on a counterattack, racing down the turf but the final shot by Fabián Castillo went straight into Talavera. In the 40th Pumas had a good chance again with a shot from Juan Pablo Vigon that Orozco stopped. On the resulting corner kick, Dinenno had a close range shot but couldn’t convert and Orozco was again able to make the save.
The second half started out with more of the same. Neither team was able to threaten much, and the few chances they did get were not very dangerous. In the 52nd minute Mauro Manotas made a dun into the box but his shot was easily stopped and cleared out of danger. A minute later Pumas got a rush, but the resulting shot was well wide. In the 63rd Xolos again had a good look when Vladimir Loroña whipped a cross into the box but Mauro Manotas couldn’t make contact with it and the ball rolled harmlessly out of play.
Pumas had a decent chance in the 67th when Facundo Waller was able to find his way through the Xolos defense and rip a shot inside of the box, but it went over the bar by quite a distance. A minute later Juan Iturbe drove from right to left at the top of the box and unleashed a shot that Orozco was able to turn wide of the goal. At the other end, Manotas was almost able to get his foot on a cross but Facuno Waller was able to knock it wide and out for a corner kick. In the 74th Pumas had perhaps the best chance of the evening when Vigon hit a shot that Orozco saved, and the rebound went to a wide open Waller who skied his shot at an open net.
Tijuana definitely had the better of the possession, but they also didn’t convert that into many opportunities throughout the match. Pumas was able to defend well but couldn’t hit the counter as often as they would have liked and were also unable to convert the few opportunities they had into anything meaningful. Xolos fans can however be happy with how Mauro Manotas played and should look forward to he, Fabián Castillo, and Miguel Sansores providing a much more dangerous front than last season’s iteration of the Aztec Canines. Pumas too can be happy with how well their defense was able to play, especially for the first game of the season in arguably one of the most difficult road trips they’ll take all season.
Xolos will head to FC Juárez on Friday to face Los Bravos while Pumas return home to host Mazatlán FC next Sunday.
Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Brayan Angulo, Gonzalo Jara, Víctor Guzmán, Vladimir Loroña; David Barbona, Christian Rivera, Esteban Pavez (Jordi Cortizo, 70’), Fabian Castillo Edgar López, 76’); Miguel Sansores (Fidel Martínez, 60’), Mauro Manotas
UNAM Pumas: Alfredo Talavera; Jerónimo Rodríguez, Johan Vázquez, Nicolás Friere, Alan Mozo; Erik Lira, Juan Pablo Vigon, Amaury García (Juan Iturbe, 65’); Facundo Waller, Carlos Gutiérrez (Ângel García, 87’); Juan Ignacio Dinenno
Scoring: Club Tijuana - None; UNAM Pumas - None
Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Jordi Cardozo (Yellow - 86’), Brayan Angulo (Yellow - 90+3’); UNAM Pumas - None