In one of the most controversial matches of the season, Pumas got a 1-0 win over Atletico San Luis. Atletico San Luis players felt robbed, and rightly so after getting three goals called back, one of them extremely controversial. Pumas gave one of the worst, if not the worst, performances of the season but got the result for their third victory, and the second coming from a single penalty goal. Pumas will now return home after the FIFA break to face Pachuca, while Atletico San Luis will have a tough visit to Monterrey.
The first half started with Pumas going out with Luis Quintana and Jesus Rivas taking the place of Johan Vasquez and Alan Mozo, who are playing in the U23 CONCACAF Championship in Guadalajara. San Luis meanwhile came with their normal lineup except German Berterame. After a couple of even minutes, it looked like Nicholas Ibañez had scored. Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera failed to hold to a ball and Ibañez connected the ball into the net, but the referee ruled that he had fouled Talavera by kicking his hand and the goal was called off. Replays showed that the play shouldn’t have been called as no foul was committed. Ibañez would later get off a right footed shot that forced Talavera to make a save. Things looked bad for Pumas when Luis Quintana looked to be injured and the game had to be stopped. As Quintana was only playing because of Vasquez’s absence, it meant Pumas didn’t have a center back on the bench. San Luis almost took advantage of Quintana’s injury by getting an opportunity with Damian Batallini getting a free header in the area, but it went wide. Pumas finally was able to sub Gerardo Moreno to replace Quintana. Ibañez would get another shot that forced Talavera to make another save. After the defensive disarray, Pumas was able to settle somewhat and get more possession although it didn’t translate to scoring opportunities. Then off a corner kick, Nicolas Ibañez was able to get to the cross and head the ball right into the path of Juan Izquierdo Viana, who headed the ball past Talavera for the 1-0 lead - or so they thought. The ref went to the VAR and replays showed that Ibañez had handled the ball after heading it for Izquierdo and the goal was called off, the second time in the game although this time it was the right call. San Luis players were incensed because of the decision and they started fighting with the referee, which resulted in red cards to Felipe Gallegos and Head Coach Leonel Rocco. With controversy, the game went to halftime.
After the controversy, the second half started with San Luis looking to get past the refereeing problems. Pumas would make their second sub of the match when they subbed out Gabriel Torres for Facundo Waller. Atletico San Luis had a great chance when Ibañez was found alone, but incredibly from close range he sent his shot wide. Ibañez would get another shot but Talavera easily saved it. Then Damian Batallini would get a shot off into the area that would turn into a pass to Nicholas Ibañez, who would then get a shot past Talavera for the 1-0, although it looked to be offside. The referee went to the VAR and called for offside, the third time for San Luis in the match. Pumas subbed out the constantly disappointing Favio Alvarez for Angel Garcia. Later San Luis would sub out Juan Castro for Federico Gino Acevedo. San Luis would have a great chance when Pablo Barrera got into the area but lobbed the ball over Talavera but also the goal. San Luis continued to try to score as Pumas second half was a total disaster, easily the worst play of an already terrible season. Then after a Juan Pablo Vigon shot, the referee ruled that Izquierdo had handled the ball and gave a penalty kick. Juan Ignacio Dinenno took the right footed shot past San Luis goalkeeper Carlos Felipe Rodriguez for the 1-0. Pumas was getting an unjust prize for a terrible performance. San Luis would sub out Pablo Barrera for Lucas Passerini. Passerini would get a chance a minute in but his shot in the area was handled well by Talavera. Later Passerini would get another ball in the area but his lobbed shot went well wide. Pumas would get a great opportunity when Dinenno got the ball into the area after getting past his defender but his shot went wide. Pumas had a great opportunity on a possible three-on-one but a foul on Juan Pablo Vigon ended the play. Pumas held on to get too large a prize for such a dismal performance.
A lot of eyes will go to the match and the terrible job from referee Marco Ortiz. Calling back the first goal was a bad decision that changed things, although the later decisions were correct. The controversial decision conditioned the reaction to them from fans and neutrals. Pumas meanwhile got a gift of a result in which they gave a terrible performance and were extremely lucky to get the win. Pumas will have to improve a lot, and hopefully the FIFA break helps them for the next match because their level of play is one of the worst in Mexico at the moment. San Luis meanwhile will hope that the FIFA break helps them get over the bad sensation of the loss because they will have a tough match away to Monterrey in their return to action in April.