Pumas wasted a great opportunity to get to the post season and ended up being eliminated by losing to their biggest rival, Club America. Pumas wasted numerous chances in a game where they dominated, but the awful play of their forwards condemned them. Pumas also wasted that every result on Saturday that benefit them with Queretaro, Tijuana, and Mazatlan all losing, meaning they would have qualified to the repechaje with a win. They failed to do so against a Club America side that looked to be thinking more about their midweek matchup against Portland. Pumas thus bows out a season after getting to the final while America will look at Portland as they qualify to the Liguilla and will thus have a bye this week while the repechaje is being played.
The first half started with Pumas coming out with a strong lineup including benching Favio Alvarez for Carlos Gutierrez and coming out with two forwards in Gabriel Torres and Juan Ignacio Dinenno. America also surprised with a very strong lineup, even when they have a midday week match against Portland and any result would not move them from a second place finish. With Pumas being in the need of the result they tried to attack, but America did a good job of holding off a Pumas team that has had offensive problems all season long. 12 minutes in the first shot of the game happened when Torres got off a left footed shot from outside the area that was easily saved by America’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. America got their first opportunity with a header from Federico Viñas that was just barely wide. Pumas then wasted a great opportunity when Dinenno got the ball into the area where Juan Pablo Vigon was wide open in front of Ochoa, but he had a terrible shot that sent the ball wide. Pumas wasted another great opportunity when a cross into the area by Sebastian Saucedo found a wide open Dinenno, whose header went wide in another terrible miss. After America lost a ball, it gave a great chance to Pumas for a counter that ended with a shot by Saucedo that Ochoa made a great stop on. America got another opportunity off a corner kick when Jordan Silva rose to head the ball but it went just wide. Minutes later America almost made another mistake when Ochoa tried to get clear a ball and crashed the ball into Dinenno, but the ball was deflected for a throw in. It looked like Viñas had a great opportunity when he got a ball alone in the area and hit the post, but he was ruled to be offside. After a good counter, Vigon got off a shot from outside the area and it just went inches wide and it might have hit the post. The last minutes had Pumas attacking but the score remained scoreless.
The second half started with Pumas having to score to not have it be it the last 45 minutes of the season for them. Torres found Dinenno in the area, but his lackadaisical effort ended up giving Ochoa the ball. Carlos Gutierrez then hit the post with a cross that turned into a shot. America subbed out Mauro Lainez and Pedro Aquino for Jesus Escoboza and Richard Sanchez. Pumas had a great counter attack that ended with a wide open Gabriel Torres wasting an opportunity in the area, mishitting a clear chance and giving it easily to Ochoa. It was a terrible miss from a player who was playing the worst he has all season long. Talavera almost made a mistake when he wasn’t able to hold on to a long range ball and almost left the ball for an America attacker, but it was cleared by a Pumas defender for a corner kick. Pumas then made their first move by subbing out Sebastian Saucedo for Jeronimo Rodriguez. America subbed out Federico Viñas and Leonardo Suarez for Henry Martin and Nicolas Benedetti. Pumas had a good opportunity when a combination play between Alan Mozo, Vigon, and Dinenno ended with a shot by Dinenno but it was blocked by an America defender. Pumas then subbed out Carlos Gutierrez (who was playing well) for Favio Alvarez. Alvarez got an opportunity by getting into the area, but he would once again be too slow and his shot was deflected into a corner kick. America looked to have scored from a header by Benedetti, but he was correctly ruled to be offside. Pumas then answered with a great shot by Vigon that forced an incredible save from Ochoa. America subbed out Roger Martinez for Alan Medina. Pumas then subbed out Gabriel Torres (who was awful) for Emanuel Montejano. Then off a counter attack where Facundo Waller fell, Alan Medina made a great run and got off a cross into the area that found Henry Martin, who connected with the ball to score the lone goal of the match. Pumas answered with a shot that was saved by Ochoa. Pumas tried but never came close in the final minutes and they ended their failure of a season.
Pumas’ loss against America was the perfect end to a total failure of a season. Pumas was a team that was only able to score ten goals and never came close to being anything like they were when the team was able to get to the final last season. Losing Carlos Gonzalez was key but even without him, this team was expected to at least being able to make it to the repechaje, were the top 12 teams out of 18 would be able to get to the post season. Pumas’ defense was able to get things done, but the offense was terrible all season long with players like Gabriel Torres, Juan Pablo Vigon, and especially Favio Alvarez playing at a terrible level. Things were worse with the total dropoff of Juan Ignacio Dinenno, who went from one of the hottest forwards in Mexico to a player that could only score with penalty kicks. This was key in the bad results against Tigres and Club America, were he missed incredible opportunities. With Pumas reportedly filled with money problems, it doesn’t look like things will change any time soon. Club America meanwhile gets result it probably didn’t deserve, but it’s a big boost since the team didn’t have anything to play for tonight since they were set at second place. On the other hand they have a key match on Wednesday against Portland Timber,s and thus concentrated on that match and were still able to eliminate them. America will now wait for their opponent in the Liguilla to be confirmed while Pumas starts what should be a terrible summer after this result.