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Leon gives Pumas first home loss of the season

Pumas lost for the first time in almost a year at home as their season struggles continue.

Pumas UNAM v Leon - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Leon sank Pumas’ chances after getting a 1-0 victory on Sunday. The game ended a year-long undefeated run from Pumas at home, as once again they gave a lackluster performance while Leon improved somewhat, and it was enough for them to get the victory. Leon will now return home to face a hot Cruz Azul, while Pumas will travel to Guadalajara to face Chivas.

The first half started with Pumas coming out with only one forward in Gabriel Torres. The good news was that their top striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno was healthy enough to be on the bench, but the bad news was that Emanuel Montejano is going to be out because of injury for the next three weeks. Meanwhile Leon had their top squad including the return of William Tesillo from suspension. The first chance of the game fell to Pumas but Torres’ shot went wide. After a couple of even minutes, they had another chance with a long range shot by Favio Alvarez that went well wide. Leon had their first good chance when Victor Davila rose alone to head a corner kick cross, but his header went wide. A minute later, Angel Mena got to the area and got off a right footed shot that went wide in what was the best opportunity in the game so far. Pumas had another chance when Juan Pablo Vigon got off a left footed shot that was saved by Leon’s goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota. Leon had a great opportunity when a pass by Luis Montes found Davila in the area, but he couldn’t control the ball well and Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera got the ball from his feet. Pumas had the best chance when Carlos Gutierrez got a cross into the area and Torres dove to head the ball, forcing Cota to make a great save for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner kick, Pumas came close again when a header was dropped by Cota, but Torres shot off of the rebound was deflected by Leon’s defense. Finally Gutierrez got a shot in the area that forced Cota to make a save. Pumas had a good finish to their first half, but it was not enough to open the score and the game went scoreless at halftime.

The second half started with Leon subbing in Fernando Navarro for Andres Mosquera. Leon had a great opportunity when Luis Montes got off a shot that was saved by Talavera. Pumas then had the return of Juan Ignacio Dinenno as he was subbed in for Favio Alvarez (Alan Mozo was also subbed in for Jesus Rivas). Leon answered back by subbing out Fernando Gonzalez and Victor Davila for Ivan Rodriguez and Joel Campbell. Leon had a good opportunity when Jean Meneses got the ball in the area, but his shot was deflected by Pumas’ defender Johan Vasquez. Leon had a great opportunity when Yairo Moreno got a great left footed shot in the area but Talavera made a great stop. Leon had definitely the better start to the second half. Then a great pass found Angel Mena, who went past Nicolas Freire and lobbed the ball over Talavera for the 1-0 lead. Pumas almost responded when a cross found Juan Pablo Vigon, but his header hit the post. Pumas then subbed out Gabriel Torres and Carlos Gutierrez for Bryan Mendoza and Juan Manuel Iturbe. Pumas subbed out Facundo Waller for Leonel Lopez in their last move of the game. After a good combination, Iturbe got into the area but his shot was saved by Cota. Leon would then sub out Angel Mena and Jean Meneses for Nicolas Sosa and Osvaldo Rodriguez. Later Vigon got off a shot from outside the area but it went wide. Pumas fought but they really had no idea, and in the final minutes they had no clear opportunities as their unbeaten run at home ended.

Pumas missed having an undefeated run of a full year at home by two days. Their last loss was in February 23, 2020 when they lost 2-1 to Morelia, a team that is now Mazatlan FC. It was a matter of time, as Pumas continues to be one of the poorest teams in Mexico in level of play. The return of Dinenno will give some hope to Pumas for the future, but as expected he had a subpar match in his return from injury. Leon meanwhile will hope to get a boost from the victory. Even though they got the result, their level of play wasn’t a big improvement although the abnormal field conditions for Mexico probably hurt the team. The will now have a tough match at home against a Cruz Azul team that is on the rise. Pumas meanwhile will travel to Chivas, were they will once again will be the underdogs as their level is clearly the worst it’s been since Coach Andres Lillini arrived.