Monterrey completely dominated Pumas, but might be disappointed in only getting a 1-0 win out of the match. Monterrey got control of the match from the start, and only great goalkeeping kept the game at only a one goal lead. Pumas went down to 10 players but after halftime and Monterrey took their foot off of the pedal, something Coach Javier Aguirre will not be happy with leaving a game that was put on a platter for a big win. Monterrey will now have to travel to face Santos, while Pumas will have another away match, this time in Toluca.
The first half started with Pumas not yet giving newly arrived Gabriel Torres the start and going with just Emanuel Montejano up top. The big change was the return of Alan Mozo after suspension as well as Erik Lira to the starting lineup, while Juan Manuel Iturbe went to the bench. Monterrey meanwhile came in with Ake Loba starting and Dorlan Pablon surprisingly being on the bench. The game was special as they honored the death of Jose Francisco Avilan Cruz, ex Monterrey coach who passed away this week.
Monterrey had their first chance of the match when Daniel Rios got off a shot that forced Pumas keeper Alfredo Talavera to make a save. Rayados came close again when off a free kick, Maxi Meza forced Talavera to make an incredible save after his great shot almost got into the top corner of the goal. Talavera had to come up big again on a header from Nicolas Sanchez. Monterrey had another chance when a cross was almost reached by Loba. The play would finish with a shot by Jesus Gallardo that forced Talavera to make another save. Later they would have an incredible miss after a play into the area ended up bouncing to the feet of Rogelio Funes Mori, who shot wide when he had an open net. Monterrey was totally dominating, and Pumas was lucky to not be trailing. Their luck would run out when after a couple of minutes of more domination, when a Maxi Meza low cross found Ake Loba, who tapped the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead.
Monterrey almost made it two but Talavera dashed to get to the ball before Meza could, avoiding what would have been a one-on-one opportunity. Things would be worse when minutes later, an Alan Mozo foul was ruled to be yellow card. The referee went to VAR and ruled it was a red card, meaning that after just returning from being suspended because of violating COVID-19 rules, he will miss their next game and the red card left Pumas with 10 players for the rest of the game. It looked like Pumas had gone down 2-0 after a very similar play to the first goal was finished with a shot by Jesus Gallardo, but he was correctly ruled to be offside. Monterrey continued to dominate but the halftime whistle blew and the score was surprisingly only 1-0
The second half with Pumas subbing in Gabriel Torres for Montejano, making his Liga MX debut. The game turned more even than in the first half, but once again it was Monterrey who had the first opportunity when a shot from Alfonso Gonzalez from just outside the area was barely wide. Later Monterrey subbed out Gonzalez for Dorlan Pabon. Pumas then subbed out Juan Pablo Vigon for Juan Iturbe. It looked like Monterrey had a great chance that Funes Mori wasted, but luckily for him it too was correctly ruled offside. Monterrey came close again off a corner kick, when Loba had a close range header go wide in a bad miss from the striker. Seeing that Monterrey wasn’t playing well, Aguirre subbed out Carlos Rodriguez and Matias Kranevitter for Miguel Layun and Celso Ortiz. Later they would make their final move by subbing out Ake Loba for Jesus Alvarado. Pumas later subbed out a terribly disappointing Favio Alvarez for Angel Garcia. Monterrey would finally have another shot after Layun got off a shot from outside the area that forced Talavera to make a save. After that shot, the ref went to the VAR to check on a foul by Carlos Gutierrez on Meza but thankfully for Pumas, no card was given. The game continued and although Monterrey continue to control all the possession, they didn’t come close to scoring as Pumas looked like they were content with not getting scored on more and Monterrey just didn’t have the intensity of the first half.
Monterrey had a quality match, but fans will not be as happy with their lack of effort in the second half. With Pumas down to ten players and after having opportunity after opportunity in the first half, it seems that they missed out on a big win. Still Monterrey is still undefeated and look to have left their COVID-19 problems by the wayside. They will have their toughest test so far next week as they travel to face a Santos team that has looked strong at home. Pumas meanwhile got saved from an embarrassing score line. While many people might take solace on the fact that the team evened out the level of play in the second half after going down to ten players, overall it was another terrible performance. Pumas never threatened and didn’t have a shot on goal with Monterrey goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez having a day off. Now they will have another away game, and Coach Andres Lillini better prepare because the season looks to be a major disappointment after getting to the final and being two games away from the Liga MX title.