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Pumas celebrates return of fans with victory over FC Juarez.

Pumas grabs a win in front of fans in CU, downing Juarez 1-0 on a last minute goal.

Pumas UNAM v FC Juarez - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Pumas celebrated the return of attendance to their home stadium Estadio Olimpico Universitario with a 1-0 win over FC Juarez. It was an injury time win on a very lively day, as the boost of the fans helped the team improve. It was still not enough to say if it will turn things around however, as even with the victory Pumas is still in 17th place out of 18 teams. Pumas will now travel to Leon and face and improving team in a tough venue, while FC Juarez will have to wait until the weekend before facing a tough away match against Pachuca.

The first half started, and behind the cheer of the crowd Pumas started with a bang. A great shot by Alan Mozo would have been a great goal but it hit the post. It looked like FC Juarez had resisted the Pumas wave and they started to get possession, even getting a chance when a cross into the area forced Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talevera to scramble and take the ball off the feet of FC Juarez. Off of a corner kick, Pumas came close when Higor Meritao just missed connecting a second header. Off of a free kick, a cross by Alek Alvarez turned into a shot and FC Juarez’s goalkeeper, Hugo Gonzalez was forced to make a save on it. Later Juan Ignacio Dinenno rose to head a cross, but it was saved by Gonzalez. Dinenno had a good chance off a cross by Efrain Velarde, but he failed to reach the ball. Pumas continued to have more possession, but failed to do much with it and their attacks became more and more predictable. Then after a great counter attack that started in the other area, Pumas went on a four-on-four, sending a cross that Juarez defender Victor Velasquez headed into his own net, but the play was ruled to be offside. The halftime whistle blew and although Pumas had been the better team, it wasn’t enough to open the score.

The second half started with Pumas really hoping to be able to reflect their dominance in the scoreline. Pumas subbed out Jose Rogerio, who was injured, for Diogo de Oliveira. A minute in, Mozo got a good cross into the area but Higor Meritao couldn’t reach to volley it. FC Juarez subbed out Jose Esquivel and Alberto Acosta for Fabian Castillo and Adrian Mora. A minute later they had their best chance of the game when a cross into the area found a wide open Jaime Gomez, but his right footed shot went well wide in a wasted opportunity. Pumas wasted a great opportunity when off a counter, Diogo made a great pass to Dinenno, but he tried to go past Gonzalez who was able to get the ball off his feet. It was a good play by Gonzalez, but Dinenno should have done better. Minutes later a cross into the area found Dinenno, who headed the ball past Gonzalez but the goal was correctly judged to be offside. Alek Alvarez then got a strong right footed shot but Gonzalez was able to save it. It was then Gonzalez’ last move, as he stopped play to receive medical attention because of an injury. Unfortunately for him, he would have to come out with Felipe Rodriguez taking his place. Pumas then subbed out Alek Alvarez for Sebastian Saucedo. Pumas continued to dominate possession, but they weren’t able to create much against a very defensive Juarez team. In a very weird move after a free kick was called, Pumas’ keeper Talavera stepped up to take it and although it gave a rise to the fans, his kick was dreadful as it almost went into the stands. After a couple of minutes, Pumas fans in the stadium were finally able to do something they had been waiting a long time to do when Favio Alvarez was subbed out for Washington Corozo. The whole stadium booed as once again Alvarez came off after a subpar performance. Pumas also subbed out Higor Meritao for Cristian Battochio at the same time. There was controversy when after a clash in the area between Velasquez and Diogo, a foul was given to the Pumas attacker. Replays showed that Velasquez had been the more aggressive and Diogo even had a cut which needed treatment, but no penalty kick was given. Juarez then missed their best chance when after a great move by Castillo, he made a pass to Pedro Raul, who from close range missed with his left footed shot. It was called a corner kick, but it was a terrible miss from the striker. Pumas then missed a great opportunity off a corner kick, when Alvaro Ortiz got to the ball but failed to connect it from close range, only lowering it to Rodriguez. Juarez subbed out Diego Rolan for Flavio Santos. Then after Pedro Raul selfishly tried to get off a shot off instead of passing it to Castillo, it started a counter attack and after a great pass by Saucedo to Washington Corozo, Corozo made a great run through the Juarez defense and got off a right footed shot past Rodriguez for the 1-0 lead in stoppage. It was as late a goal as it could be, to the roar of the Estadio Olimpico crowd. Pumas held on, and for only the second time in the season, they got to claim a win.

While Pumas didn’t give a great performance, they got a deserved win in a match in which they at times looked more electric thanks to the push of their home fans. They were also able to finally get the win over an FC Juarez team that typically plays spoiler when they visit Estadio Olimpico Universitario and were minutes away from getting another tie. Still Pumas gets their second victory of the season and will hope to build on it, but it will be tough in an away match against Leon before returning home to face a key match against Tijuana. FC Juarez had a very defensive match, but it wasn’t enough to get a point and will be a letdown after their victory against Monterrey prior to the FIFA date, although their tie at home against Queretaro brought them down before this match. They will now have to travel to a tough away match on Sunday against Pachuca as their midweek matchup had been played in September.