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Pumas and Atlas battle to scoreless tie in their Liga MX 2021 Apertura debut

Pumas and Atlas suffered from the heat and lack of playing time for a typical sloppy opening day 0-0 tie.

Pumas UNAM v Atlas - Torneo Grita Mexico A21 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas started their season with a 0-0 against Atlas that might be a sign that this will be another long season. Atlas was the better team, but their performance wasn’t much better as both teams faltered under the heat. Pumas was coming in from a disappointing season, and a scoreless tie where they were outplayed isn’t a good omen, although there were some interesting things shown from some of the new team members. Pumas will now travel to Florida, where they will play on Wednesday against Everton in the Florida Cup before travelling to Monterrey to face Rayados on Saturday. Atlas will be favored as they make their home debut against FC Juarez.

The first half started with Pumas coming on with only Higor Meritao being the only one of the new acquisitions to start the match. Jeremy Marquez was able to get an early shot off that forced Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Alvarez to make a great save in the first dangerous opportunity of the match. After an even start, Atlas was getting now the better opportunities. Atlas stated to get more and more possession but Pumas had a great counter attack off of a corner kick, however after Sebastian Saucedo found Juan Ignacio Dinenno, Dinenno’s shot was easily saved by Atlas’ goalkeeper Camilo Vargas. Then off a free kick, Jairo Torres got off a cross that turned into a shot, forcing Gonzalez to make a save. Although Gonzalez almost parried it right to an Atlas attacker, Pumas was able to clear the ball. Later from outside the area Torres got a shot off that forced Gonzalez to make another save. The first half ended and although there wasn’t much action, all of the good opportunities were done by a superior Atlas team.

The second half started with Pumas hoping to improve from a very bad first half, making their first moves by subbing out Amaury Garcia and Higor Meritao for Erik Lira and Washington Corozo. It would take a couple of minutes for Pumas to have a good chance when Dinenno got a shot from outside the area, but it just went wide. Atlas then responded off a corner kick when Ozziel Herrera headed the ball and it went just wide. Later a cross by Corozo turned into a shot that Vargas saved. Pumas then made a sub as they took out Favio Alvarez for Jose Rogerio. Alvarez threw a tantrum as he was subbed out, this after another performance where he was the worst player of the team on the pitch. Pumas came close to scoring when Alan Mozo got a great cross into the area that found Dinenno but his header went wide. Atlas then subbed out Julio Furch and Ozziel Herrera for Franco Troyansky and Bryan Trejo. Pumas subbed out Sebastian Saucedo and Leonel Lopez for Gabriel Torres and Marco Garcia. It looked like Atlas had scored after a low cross into the area, but the goal was correctly ruled to be offside. Pumas had a good opportunity when Torres stole a ball and made a good pass that Dinenno failed to control, so he had to make a back pass to Marco Garcia. Garcia got a great shot that went just inches wide. Atlas then subbed out Julian Quiñones for Gonzalo Maroni. Later Atlas made their last move by subbing out Jeremy Marquez for Edgar Zaldivar. Atlas had a long range shot from Aldo Rocha but it went wide. There was no time for more and although the game improved in the second half, the goals never came.

Pumas had a bad start to the tournament, although they improved in the second half of the match. They went from a team that didn’t have a chance in the first half to one that had the better ones, although overall it was Atlas who was the better team. It was good that the new additions like Higor Meritao and especially Washington Corozo looked alright overall. Yet it was a bad sign that Juan Ignacio Dinenno had another game where he left people wanting more, something that was common last tournament. Worse yet was another terrible performance for Favio Alvarez, who also threw a tantrum showing that he’s not doing well on or off the field with Pumas. Pumas will now travel to the Florida Cup to play against English Premier League side Everton before traveling for their next Liga MX game, a tough match against Rayados in Monterrey. Atlas meanwhile looked better than Pumas, and although they also disappointed somewhat, they were the away team and thus got a good result in the tie. They should be favored when they host Juarez in their first Liga MX home game, as fans hope to have a repeat of their surprising last tournament.