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Chivas get first home win against struggling Pumas

Chivas get a 2-1 win against a Pumas team that looked terrible once again.

Chivas v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Chivas got their first win of the season after defeating a terrible Pumas team by a 2-1 score, in a game where they could have scored more goals. Chivas came back from a surprising Pumas lead and took advantage of the non-existent play by a Pumas team that sits in 17th place out of 18 teams. Chivas will now travel for a midweek match against Queretaro, while Pumas returns home where they await Santos.

The first half started for Pumas with the return of Julio Gonzalez as the starting goalkeeper, as Alfredo Talavera was unavailable because of an illness. Gonzalez would make his first start since the first leg of the 2020 Apertura final. Pumas also would move center back Johan Vasquez to the left back position, as Luis Quintana would take his place at center back. In another move, Favio Alvarez was benched after his streak of lackluster games for Leonel Lopez. Chivas meanwhile would have the return of the attacking presence of Uriel Antuna, Alexis Vega, and Jose Juan Macias after Antuna hadn’t started the last match.

After a couple of minutes, Vega would have the first chance with a shot that went wide. Chivas was dominating the first minutes, but in the first clear chance Pumas would make them pay. Juan Ignacio Dinenno made a pass that incredibly defender Hiram Mier allowed to go through his feet, and Gabriel Torres got into the area and easily placed a right footed shot past goalkeeper Raul Gudiño for the 1-0 lead. It was an incredible mistake by Mier, and Pumas scored for the first time since their second match of the season. Minutes later it looked like Dinenno got brought down in the area by Antonio Briseño, but no foul was given and replays showed it was the correct call. Chivas tried to respond although Gonzalez was able to clear a dangerous cross in the best chance of the minutes following the goal. Then after a longball, Uriel Antuna got to it and hit a cross into the area where a wide open Jose Juan Macias got to the ball and sent a right footed shot past Gonzalez to make it 1-1. It was a great play by Chivas and lousy defensive effort from Pumas, especially Alan Mozo who Macias had easily left behind. Chivas almost had another great opportunity in the area, but Gonzalez got to the ball just prior to Antuna. Minutes later Macias made a great play and found Alejandro Mayorga in the area, who made a move and got off a left footed shot past Gonzalez for the 2-1 lead. Mayorga had been with Pumas on a year loan recently, and thus he had a subdued celebration. Pumas tried to respond but their attacks failed. In the final minute, a great cross off a free kick almost found a wide open Nicolas Freire, but he wasn’t able to reach the ball. The halftime whistle blew, and Chivas had a slightly deserved lead.

The second half started with Pumas subbing out Leonel Lopez for Juan Manuel Iturbe. After a couple of even minutes, Dinenno got a header off a great cross in the area but Raul Gudiño got a great stop. Chivas had a great opportunity when a bouncing ball in the area got to Antuna, but he whiffed on the shot. After a couple of minutes, Chivas took control of the ball as once again Pumas floundered. Erik Lira lost a ball and allowed Macias a chance, but his shot went wide. Minutes later, Hiram Mier dropped to the floor as he looked to be injured. He was subbed out for Gilberto Sepulveda. Pumas subbed out Facundo Waller for Carlos Gutierrez. Later ,Eduardo Torres got off a shot that forced Gonzalez to make a save. Pumas subbed out Gabriel Torres for Amaury Garcia in a strange move with Pumas needing a goal to get the tie. It looked like Chivas hit the post with a shot by Briseño, but the play was ruled offside. Chivas would sub out Uriel Antuna for Jesus Sanchez, a sign that the team might be going defensive. Pumas subbed out Erik Lira for a Favio Alvarez who was hoping to get out of his funk. Iturbe made a great play into the area, but his cross was headed widely by a diving Carlos Gutierrez, who should have done better in the play. Chivas subbed out Alexis Vega, Jesus Ricardo Angulo, and Jose Juan Macias for Fernando Beltran, Cesar Huerta, and Angel Zaldivar. Chivas had an incredible chance after a Pumas mistake in the area gave Isaac Brizuela an opportunity, but his shot went wide and Mayorga couldn’t connect with the ball near the post. It was the last chance, as Pumas didn’t even get a single opportunity in the final minutes and Chivas got the deserved win.

Chivas finally got their first win at home in a match where they improved somewhat against a team in full crisis mode. They got a deserved win, and for the first time they had dominated a team at home. Still it seemed a short score for a match in which they were so superior. The team is improving however, and they are hoping to be ready for their away match against Queretaro. Pumas meanwhile is in the total opposite situation. They continue on a steady decline and the season looks to be a total bust. Coach Andres Lillini has thrown away all the good will from their past season, and the moves which had selling Carlos Gonzalez to Tigres and returning Alejandro Mayorga to Chivas have really hurt the team. The fact that they had to switch Vasquez to left back, the position Mayorga played, means that the decision to leave him go as to give an opportunity to Jeronimo Rodriguez has been disastrous. Pumas’ season hang in the balance as they have back to back home games but should they not get victories, even a trip to the repechaje would seem out of reach for this team.