Pumas came back from a terrible first half to get a 1-1 tie against FC Juarez. Although it was not enough to get a win, a good substitution from Pumas helped change the tide even though Juarez had been the better team. FC Juarez meanwhile improved with their results and ended a three game losing streak, but their performance should also have disappointed their fans after the good start in the match. FC Juarez will now have to travel to face Necaxa in Aguascalientes, while Pumas will travel to face surprising Atletico San Luis.
The first half started with the return of Leonel Lopez to the starting lineup for Pumas instead of Erik Lira, who now had to add losing his starting spot to the bad news of the week after being left out of Mexico’s Olympic qualifiers team. There were fans in the stand as FC Juarez hoped to bounce back from their terrible last week, where they lost all three matches including a crushing 6-1 loss at home against Monterrey. There were a couple of even minutes to start but it was FC Juarez who had more control of the match. In a terrible defensive mistake, Matias Garcia went on a one-on-one against goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera and got a left footed shot past him for the 1-0 lead. The play came off of a corner kick for Pumas, but after it was cleared first Leonel Lopez did a bad back pass, which Jeronimo Rodriguez then tried to head back and did even worse, allowing Garcia the opportunity to go alone into the area for the first goal for Juarez.
Pumas tried to answer and got control of the ball, but their possession didn’t allow for many chances and the team looked like it did prior to the return of Juan Igancio Dinenno. It looked like Garcia had another one-on-one opportunity, but his shot hit the left post and it was also called offside. The game continued with the match turning even, as Pumas continued to have possession but Juarez looked more dangerous in their few counter attacks. The game didn’t change much and the halftime whistle blew with the game having a lackluster level of play.
The second half started with Pumas subbing in Erik Lira for Leonel Lopez, who had a poor match. The move looked to have improved the team and it paid off. A great cross found Gabriel Torres in the area who headed the ball and forced FC Juarez goalkeeper, Enrique Palos to make a save. Unfortunately for him, the rebound when straight to Juan Ignacio Dinenno, who easily volleyed the ball into the net to make it 1-1. It was the first serious opportunity for Pumas, and it turned into a goal.
Pumas came close again with a free kick in which Johan Vasquez rose to head the ball but it went wide. Pumas had taken control of the match, and Juarez had to respond so they subbed out William Mendieta and Luis Lopez for Ayron del Valle and Pol Garcia. Pumas came close with an opportunity in which the ball had to be cleared off the feet of Juan Pablo Vigon before getting a shot in the area. Pumas would sub out Carlos Gutierrez for Juan Manuel Iturbe. Pumas came close again when a left footed shot by Favio Alvarez went just wide. Juarez then subbed out Jefferson Intriago for Francisco Contreras. Later Pumas subbed out Juan Pablo Vigon for Facundo Waller. Juarez then subbed out Carlos Rosel for Flavio Santos. FC Juarez had their best counter after a terrible mistake by Alan Mozo, in which he stepped on the ball and lost it. Unfortunately for Pumas, the defense was able to end the play but with a foul that gave Johan Vasquez a yellow card. Later Pumas would have a good opportunity when after a couple of passes, Waller got off a left footed shot in the area but Palos made a good save. It was the last chance for either team and the game ended in a tie.
Pumas has been improving somewhat, but fans will not be happy with the lack of results. While the team improved a lot as the game continued and even became the better team on the field, they seemed to have wasted the first half and it was mostly of their own doing. It’s puzzling why Erik Lira was benched for Leonel Lopez, and even more so why Favio Alvarez played 90 minutes after another poor performance. Pumas will need to improve a lot if they want a better result from their upcoming visit to San Luis. FC Juarez meanwhile improved after a nightmare week, but the fact that they lost control of the match and that the team looks a lot weaker than it did last season must worry FC Juarez fans. Especially after last season, they weren’t good enough to make it to the Repechaje. They will now have a key match against Necaxa and should they drop the points, it seems they will once again miss out on the repechaje.