Pumas got a key victory, defeating Necaxa by a score of 1-0. Pumas now moves temporarily into the repechaje zone after a late goal gave them the away win. It wasn’t the greatest win and Necaxa had been slightly better throughout the match, but neither team had shown a great level of play. Pumas now will return home to face a tough matchup against Tigres, while Necaxa stays at home where they hope to salvage the season against Queretaro.
The first half started with Pumas making perhaps a surprising move, including Sebastian Saucedo in the starting lineup for the first time this season after he scored on Sunday against Pachuca. After a couple of even minutes, it looked like Pumas had the first chance when Juan Ignacio Dinenno got off a shot from outside of the area and hit the post, but the play was called off for a handball. Necaxa looked to have a good opportunity, but Martin Barragan’s shot was deflected into the hands of Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. The game started to get chippy with few chances from either team. Later Facundo Waller took a shot that went wide. After a fall, it looked like Necaxa’s Maximiliano Salas got hurt but he was able to continue. Necaxa had the best opportunity in the game when a great cross from David Cabrera found a wide open Barragan, but his header went well wide. Necaxa would come close again with a shot from Alejandro Zendejas that came close but it also went wide. Then a header by Necaxa went straight into the hands of Talavera. The half ended with Necaxa being the better team, but with both teams overall disappointing in the eyes of their fans.
The second half started with Necaxa subbing out Idekel Dominguez for Mario de Luna. Pumas had their best chance of the match when Alan Mozo send a cross to a wide open Dinenno in the area, but he wasted it by deciding to lower the ball instead to heading it and because of that, he wound up bumbling the ball before taking a shot that went terribly wide. Necaxa started to get control of the match once again and Talavera was forced to make a great save when Juan Delgado got a free header in the area. Later Talavera once again had to make a save off another header, this time by Salas, Pumas had to make changes and subbed out Gabriel Torres and Carlos Gutierrez for Favio Alvarez and Leonel Lopez. A bit of controversy could have happened when it looked like there was a possible handball for Necaxa but the ref called it off. A minute later Barragan had a good opportunity, but his header went well wide. Pumas had a good opportunity when Necaxa lost a ball but Favio Alvarez took an awful shot and it went wide. Necaxa subbed out Maximiliano Salas for Rodrigo Aguirre. Necaxa subbed out Martin Barragan for Ian Gonzalez while Pumas subbed out Sebastian Saucedo for Angel Garcia. Necaxa had an opportunity but Ian Gonzalez chose to shoot instead of passing to a wide open Kevin Marcado, and his shot was blocked by a Pumas defender. Pumas had a great opportunity when a cross from Favio Alvarez turned into a shot that Necaxa’s goalkeeper Edgar Hernandez almost left for Dinenno. Then off a counter, Pumas got a good attack and the ball fell to the path of Juan Pablo Vigon, who got off a left footed shot from outside the area past Hernandez for the 1-0 lead. Vigon got off a great shot in his first offensive action of the match. Necaxa almost answered back when Aguirre got a cross in the area, and while his header was close it went just wide. Pumas started to finally play better than Necaxa and get counter attacks after Necaxa started to get desperate. Pumas had a good counter attack but failed to get the ball with Dinenno making a bad pass. Pumas ended up subbing Leonel Lopez (who was injured) and Juan Pablo Vigon for Amaury Garcia and Rodrigo Moreno. Pumas was able to ride it out, and got a key victory over Necaxa to get into the repechaje zone.
The win is a very important for Pumas as they moved up all the way to tenth place, albeit temporarily, with 16 points. Their performance left a lot to be desired and with the tough calendar that is left for them, they will need to improve fast. The match looked for a lot of it to be heading toward a scoreless tie and if there was to be a winner, Necaxa had done more than Pumas at the time of the goal; and yet Pumas did took advantage of their opportunity and was the better side after the goal. Pumas will hope to improve against a very tough Tigres, that although they have disappointed so far in their season, they have the better squad. Necaxa meanwhile remains at 17th and with 10 points, they look to be out of the running for a place in the repechaje. They will hope to give fans a little joy as they face Queretaro in their next matchup as they hope to close out with some hope for next season.