Toluca gets a 1-0 victory over Pumas, who had a legitimate goal called back for offside. Pumas should have taken a 1-0 lead that would have changed the game, but referee Luis Enrique Santander went to VAR and called back the goal for a supposed offside from a player that didn’t take part in the play. Toluca grabbed the late win as Pumas continue to fail to get results, although this time it was because of outside forces. Pumas will now return home for a Liga MX final rematch against Leon while Toluca will have a tough visit to Cruz Azul.
The first half started with Pumas starting with two forwards for the first time in 2021, one of them being Gabriel Torres in his first start in Liga MX in only his second game. Toluca came with the typical starting lineup including Rubens Sambueza, who was playing his 400th game against the team that brought him to Mexico. As expected the first minutes had Toluca dominating possession as Pumas sat back. After 15 minutes, Toluca had the first opportunity, and it was a dangerous one. Alexis Canelo got past his defender in the area and got off a left footed shot past Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, but his shot hit the post. Pumas had their first chance when Facundo Waller got a long range left footed shot that just went wide. Toluca had a great opportunity when Michael Estrada went on a one-on-one against Talavera, but incredibly his shot went wide, wasting the best opportunity so far in the match. Minutes after that Toluca had taken complete control of the game as Pumas tried to sit back and counter. In one of those counterattacks, Waller came close to scoring after getting into the area and getting by defender Miguel Barbieri before his shot was blocked by Jorge Torres Nilo. Toluca answered almost immediately with a shot by Canelo was blocked by Talavera. The rest of the half was very even, and the score was scoreless at halftime although Toluca was clearly the better team.
The second half had Toluca trying to finally get on the score board after all their dominating of the possession. Pumas. After a couple of minutes, a great pass by Favio Alvarez found Juan Pablo Vigon, who got into the area and shot it past Luis Garcia for the 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for Pumas, the goal was ruled offside in a travesty of a call after going to VAR. Apparently to Luis Santander, Emanuel Montejano was offside even when he didn’t participate in the play and him being offside was dubious to say the least. It was a terrible decision from a ref who has been mediocre for most of his career. Pumas improved after the goal even after being robbed, and was dominating possession for the first time. Pumas subbed out Emanuel Montejano for Juan Iturbe while Toluca subbed out Kevin Castañeda for Enrique Triverio. Toluca had their first good opportunity when off a corner kick, Diego Rigonato was wide open but his volley went wide. Pumas subbed out Gabriel Torres (who failed to live up to expectations in his first start) for Bryan Mendoza. Pumas would have an opportunity when Vigon got a shot off, but it was saved by Garcia. Toluca responded with a great cross by Sambueza that found Canelo in the area, but his shot also went wide. Pumas had another chance when a shot by Alvarez was deflected by the defense. Toluca subbed out Raul Lopez for Rodrigo Salinas. Pumas then subbed out Favio Alvarez and Facundo Waller for Angel Garcia and Jose Cobian. Late in the half, Salinas got through and sent a cross into the area that found Alexis Canelo, who got his shot past Talavera for the 1-0 lead for Toluca. Pumas tried to respond with a long range shot by Iturbe but it went well wide. Toluca got the win and the three points in a game marred by a bad decision from the referee.
It’s tough to get a diagnosis of the game after Pumas should have taken a 1-0 lead. Pumas played a bad first half but picked it up in the second, and the goal would have changed the situation. Toluca meanwhile gets a win but not only where they lucky because of the ref decision but also after they lost possession in the second half and were minutes from finishing with a scoreless tie. Pumas will now have a tough home game against a Leon team that is also struggling but has a better squad. Toluca meanwhile will have to travel to face Cruz Azul where they will not be favored if they play like they did in the second half.