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Pumas shock Leon to grab first away victory of the season

Pumas get a 2-1 victory away to Leon to climb up closer to the Repechaje zone.

Leon v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX Photo by Leopoldo Smith/Getty Images

Pumas got a surprising away victory against Leon by a 2-1 score. It was Pumas’ first away victory of the season in a match where at times they were dominated by a Leon team that missed opportunities and wasted a good chance to climb up spots. Pumas will now return home to face last place Tijuana, while Leon will travel to face Puebla on Saturday.

The first half started with Pumas making a couple of moves in the starting lineup, with Washington Corozo, Leonel Lopez, and Cristian Battochio all getting the start as well as Ricardo Galindo, who took the place of the suspended Alan Mozo. After a couple of even minutes, Leon came close when Elias Hernandez got off a cross into the area that Efrain Velarde almost deflected for an own goal. Later on a corner kick, a second play forced Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera to make a great save from close range. Pumas had their best chance with a four-on-three that finished with a terrible shot from Erik Lira. Leon started to gain possession, looking more dangerous as Pumas had to scramble defensively with this new lineup. Leon came close again when a shot from Elias Hernandez went wide in a play where he should have done better. Later Talavera came up big with a save off a strong shot from Stiven Barreiro. Then against the run of play, a great cross into the area from Sebastian Saucedo found Juan Ignacio Dinenno, who connected with left footed shot past Rodolfo Cota for the 1-0 lead. Pumas held on at halftime, and to the surprise of everyone, took the lead into the dressing room.

The second half started with the home team hoping to come back, while Pumas hoped to remain in the lead. Pumas subbed out Ricardo Galindo for Higor Meritao. Pumas wasted a great opportunity when Corozo had a left footed shot that went wide. Had he passed, he would have left Dinenno with a great opportunity to score. Talavera came up big with a save off a shot from Leon. Then after a series of rebounds on the ensuing corner kick, Leon played the ball perfectly for Victor Davila to get a left footed shot past Talavera to make it 1-1. Pumas protested about an offside, but replays showed Efrain Velarde placed everybody onside in a terrible mistake from a player who has been disappointing in his return to say the least. Leon came close again when a ball in the area found Hernandez, who got past a Pumas defender and lobbed the ball over him but also the goal. Leon came close again when a cross into the area was headed by Osvaldo Rodriguez, but Talavera was able to save the shot. Pumas subbed out Washington Corozo and Leonel Lopez for Favio Alvarez and Marco Garcia. After a ball was sent into the area and deflected into the goalkeeper’s hands, it looked like Talavera had responded to a Leon player getting in the way with a slap. Talavera got a yellow card but more importantly was that the deflection could have been a handball as the ref went to see it in the VAR. The ref deemed that neither action was worthy of a penalty kick and said to play on. Pumas then subbed out Christian Battochio for Diogo de Oliveira. Then after a great run, Marco Garcia surprised everybody by getting into the top of the area, hitting a left footed shot past Rodolfo Cota for the 2-1 lead for Pumas. Pumas should have made it 3-1 when a two-on-one had Diogo and DInenno against Bareiro but Diogo kept the ball long enough to lose it against Bareiro when he had a wide open Dinenno in the area. Leon scrambled for the tie and in the final play may have had a good chance when the ball fell to Angel Mena, but his shot went wide. It turned out to be the final play and Pumas was able to get the surprising victory.

Pumas got an unexpected but promising victory. Few people would have thought that Pumas would get their first away victory in Leon, a good team and the site where they lost the 2020 Apertura final. There might be talks about it not being deserved as Leon had a lot of the possession, but they failed to create despite being given numerous chances. Pumas was able to strike at the right time with two late goals in each half. With Pumas improving in their play, they have a prime opportunity on Sunday at home when they face last place Tijuana in the second game at home with fans in the stands. Leon meanwhile will have a big letdown after getting a great away victory in Monterrey. They will have a tough match to bonce back away to Puebla but they need to pick things up if they want a chance to skip on the repechaje.