Puebla and Pumas had a tough fight that ended with a 0-0 tie. Both teams failed to get the three points, although it’s Pumas who will suffer most from the failure of getting the win. While they momentarily climbed into the repechaje, they will probably be overtaken as they wait for results before the final game of the regular season against Club America. Puebla will have a tough end to their season, as they travel to face a Santos team that will be battling to finish in the top four.
The first half started with the return of fans to Puebla’s home stadium. Puebla went with their usual lineup while Pumas had the return of Gabriel Torres to the starting lineup as Carlos Gutierrez went to the bench. The first minutes had Puebla controlling possession, and they nearly scored from a corner kick when Juan Segovia rose to head a ball that came close to going in or getting headed in had a player reached the far side. Later it was Christian Tabo who came close when he got into the area, but his shot went just wide. It looked like Pumas had scored when a Gabriel Torres shot was blocked into the path of Juan Ignacio Dinenno, who put it into the open net, but he was correctly ruled to be offside. Then after a ball got into the area, Alan Mozo lowered the ball to Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera but the referee ruled that he handled the ball and gave a penalty kick. The referee went to VAR and called it off, saying it hit his chest before his arm. Pumas started to improve and even got control of the possession later in the half but couldn’t create any good chances as once again it looked like Dinenno wasn’t on his day as he had been this past Sunday. Off a free kick, Nicolas Freire came close with a header but the ball went just wide. The halftime whistle blew ending and even half.
The second half started with both teams going for the key win. Puebla came close to scoring when a cross in the area almost found a Puebla player but Mozo was able to clear the ball before it did. A lot of Puebla fans thought Puebla had scored after a pass by Omar Fernandez found Maximiliano Araujo, but his shot had gone wide and hit the net from the outside, which fooled them into thinking the ball had gone in. Gabriel Torres answered back with a good shot that forced Puebla’s goalkeeper Antony Silva to make a good save. Puebla came close to scoring when Israel Reyes got a header off a free kick but Talavera came out to block the ball before crashing into Reyes, in a tough crash. Talavera looked to be injured after the clash into his head. Pumas then subbed out Sebastian Saucedo for Angel Garcia. Erik Lira got a good shot from outside the area that forced Silva to make another great save. On the ensuing corner kick, the ball fell to Facundo Waller, who got off a good shot that forced Silva to make another save. Torres got into the area and shot a goal past Silva, but he was clearly offside. Pumas subbed out Gabriel Torres for Juan Manuel Iturbe. Pumas had once again taken control of the offense, but as in the first half they weren’t creating much danger. Pumas wasted a great chance after Dinenno fell but the ball was left there for Favio Alvarez, who went into the area slower than an iceberg and his shot ended being saved by Silva. Puebla then subbed out Santiago Ormeño and Maximiliano Araujo for Guillermo Martinez and Daniel Alvarez. Puebla had the best chance in the half when Tabo got into the area, but his strong shot was saved by Talavera. Pumas subbed out Favio Alvarez, who once again had a poor game, for Carlos Gutierrez. Puebla had a great opportunity when Daniel Alvarez got a shot in the area but Freire was able to deflect it for a corner kick. Pumas had a good counter attack that was wasted by an Alan Mozo terrible shot that went wide. In the last minute, Puebla got a free kick and the ball almost got deflected in, but it wound up being a corner kick. The corner kick was wasted and the game ended scoreless.
With Puebla being heavy favorites, Pumas ended up surprising many with a performance in which they were the better side for large stretches of the match. Pumas however failed to take advantage of key plays, and goalkeeper Talavera had to step up a couple of times. They will now have a very tough task as they face their biggest games of the season, not only because it’s against their biggest rival in Club America but that it will be key to see if they qualify to the Liguilla or not. Club Puebla meanwhile will continue in third place but losing those points will be tough especially with other teams like Monterrey and Santos breathing down their necks. They will now have to close out the season with a direct rival for the finish in the top four as they travel to Torreon to face Santos. Things are going to get interesting for both teams after failing to get the win this Friday night.