In the first Liga MX game of 2021, Puebla and Chivas finished with a 1-1 draw. In a very even match, Chivas wasted a penalty kick, Puebla took the lead, and Chivas bounced back to get a fair draw. Chivas will now return to Guadalajara to make their 2021 home debut against Toluca, while Puebla will travel to Mexico City for a tough match against Puebla.
The first half started with Chivas coming in severely hampered. With Jose Juan Macias out because of COVID-19 and Isaac Brizuela out because of injury, Alexis Vega joined them with an injury keeping him out of the starting Lineup. The first opportunity of the game came when Omar Fernandez got off a shot that forced Chivas keeper Raul Gudiño to make a save. Chivas had their first opportunity when a great run by Uriel Antuna was almost finished by Oribe Peralta, who connected with a bicycle kick but the ball was saved by Puebla’s keeper, Antony Silva. Chivas had a great opportunity when Antuna made a run into the area, but he was brought down and penalty kick was given to Chivas. To the surprise of everybody, Jesus Molina took the PK and although he looked to have fooled Silva, his shot went wide. Many people questioned why Oribe Peralta didn’t take it, and it wouldn’t take long for this mistake to be punished. After a good cross by Jesus Paganoni, Santiago Ormeño rose to head the ball past Gudiño with a great goal for the first goal of the game, first goal of the Clausura 2021, and importantly for Puebla, the 1-0 lead. Chivas had been the superior team but not by much and were now trailing. Chivas tried to come back but weren’t able to and Puebla held on to take the lead to halftime.
The second half stared with Alexis Vega, injury notwithstanding, getting subbed in for Alan Torres. Chivas started swinging and after a couple of minutes, Miguel Angel Ponce got off a left footed shot past Silva for the 1-1 tie. Oribe Peralta was subbed out for Cesar Huerta, who made his return to Chivas. Also Jesus Ricardo Angulo was subbed out for Cristian Calderon. Calderon and Huerta almost combined to score when Calderon passed Huerta, who tried to backheel a shot past Silva. Although it went past the Puebla goalkeeper, he slowed the ball down enough to be able to get to it. Huerta hit Chivas’ second bicycle kick of the night but his shot went wide in what would have been a great goal had it gone in. Calderon also had a great opportunity when he rose alone in the area, but his header went straight to Silva’s hands. Puebla subbed out Christian Tabo for Amaury Escoto while Chivas subbed out Fernando Beltran for Sergio Flores. Later Puebla subbed out Santiago Ormeño for newly arrived and an ex-Chivas player, Guillermo Martinez. Puebla had a good opportunity when Escoto got into the area, but Hiram Mier was able to clear his pass. Chivas subbed out Uriel Antuna for Zahid Muñoz. After a bad clearance from Silva, Alexis Vega took a half-court shot but it was saved by Silva. The ref almost immediately blew the whistle and the game ended 1-1.
Chivas may not have had the best result, but they played well especially given the circumstances. Without Jose Juan Macias and with an injured Alexis Vega, they didn’t have much of an attack and yet more than held their own in the match. Oribe Peralta hustled and along with his last few games in 2020, he has probably played at his best since his joining of Chivas. Chivas should improve although they might have so time without Macias up until he’s cleared of COVID. The best news was the play of Cesar Huerta in his return to Chivas as well as a couple of players like Beltran and Calderon, who finished well and look to have kept that level. Puebla meanwhile made a good start under new coach Nicolas Larcamon. With a couple of players making their debut with the team, they held their own against Chivas and took the lead. The best news is that it seems that Ormeño has kept his level, scoring a great goal. It will not be a surprise if he finally gets a call up to either the Mexico or Peru National team. Puebla will have to improve when they face a tough visit to Cruz Azul, as they face their last coach Juan Reynoso. Chivas meanwhile will get to play their first game at home against Toluca in a game they will probably be favored.