Monterrey completely dominated a Pumas side that was totally out of their element, picking up a 2-0 win. Monterrey was overly superior and the score could have been bigger, as Pumas never came close to threatening a Monterrey side who easily disposed of them after an early goal. Pumas came into the game without two injured players, Nicolas Freire (who will be out for three weeks after injuring himself in the Florida Cup friendly against Everton) and Washington Corozo, who will also be out for three weeks. The missing players ended up costing the team, as they are a squad that is terribly short on depth as opposed to Monterrey. Monterrey will travel to face Mazatlan FC, while Pumas returns home to face Atletico San Luis.
The first half started the game with Pumas needing to show how they would cope without the injured players, and Monterrey hoping to improve after their frustrating last minute tie against Puebla. Both teams also came in with a lot of key absences because of players playing in the Gold Cup and the Tokyo Olympic Games. Monterrey made their presence felt early when in the first attack, a cross by Maxi Meza was headed by Alfonso Gonzalez and it hit the post. The ball then fell into the path of Duvan Vergara, who got off a right footed shot past Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez for the 1-0 lead. Minutes later Monterrey came close again when they got the ball into the area and Joel Campbell got off a right footed shot, however it well wide. Pumas were reeling after the goal. Pumas had a good opportunity when Higor Meritao connected with a cross into the area, but he didn’t do a good job and it was saved by Monterrey’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada. Andrada made a terrible mistake when he failed to punch out a cross into the area, but the resulting header was able to be cleared by a Monterrey defender before it went into the empty net. Monterrey had a great opportunity when Alfonso Gonzalez was wide open and got to volley a cross, but it went straight to Pumas keeper Gonzalez. Monterrey continued to dominate the match, although they weren’t creating much danger as Pumas tried to hold on and counter. Monterrey did came close to scoring again with a volley by Meza that went inches rom hitting the post. Monterrey took the 1-0 lead to halftime, which flattered a Pumas team that was not handling well another visit to Monterrey.
The second half started and once again Monterrey was able to control the match with two good opportunities they wasted. Monterrey continued to dominate the match. and had a great counter after Pumas allowed a goal kick to pass right through the midfield and reach Duvan Vergara. Vergara received the ball and got into the area, where he placed a right footed shot past Gonzalez for the 2-0 lead. Pumas subbed out Jeronimo Rodriguez and Higor Meritao for Sebastian Saucedo and Gabriel Torres as they tried to come back. For a while, it didn’t work as Monterrey continued to dominate possession. Monterrey subbed out Vincent Janssen for youngster Angel Zapata. Pumas then subbed in Emanuel Montejano for an invisible Jose Rogerio. Torres sent a cross into the area that Juan Ignacio Dinenno just failed to reach. Monterrey then subbed out star of the game Duvan Vergara, who went out to a standing ovation, for Alfonso Alvarado. After a couple of minutes, Joel Campbell started to ask for his substitution, possibly because of an injury. Campbell had been playing with Costa Rica in the Gold Cup and had only joined Monterrey this week, which means it was a strange move from coach Javier Aguirre to not only start him but have him play for so long. He would be subbed out for Kaleth Hernandez. Also Alfonso Gonzalez was subbed out for Matias Kranevitter. Pumas tried to make another move by subbing out Ricardo Galindo for Leonel Lopez as they tried to revive their non-existent offense. They got a long range shot from Erik Lira but it went wide. Pumas had a great opportunity when Saucedo got the ball in the area, but his strong shot was saved by Andrada. The rest of the game had Pumas with the ball, but they never came close to scoring and Monterrey wrapped up an easy win.
Monterrey bounced back from a disappointing start against Puebla to display a very impressive game at home and get a win against Pumas. Monterrey will need to improve against tougher sides as Pumas gave a paltry performance. They are however also missing key players like Cesar Montes and Carlos Rodriguez who are in the Olympic Games while also missing Rogelio Funes Mori and Jesus Gallardo as well as new addition Hector Moreno. Monterrey looks at the start of a promising season, but they will have a tough hurdle against Mazatlan.
Pumas’ future however looks anything but promising. They were totally dominated and don’t really look as if there is much hope. While they are also missing players for Mexico in Alfredo Talavera (Gold Cup) and Johan Vasquez (Olympics), they might help but won’t make much of an impact in certain aspects, especially offensively. After three matches (two Liga MX games and the Florida Cup friendly), Pumas has yet to score and it looks like it might be another tough season for forward Juan Ignacio Dinenno. The team’s money woes didn’t allow any notable acquisitions, and the ones that did arrive have left a lot to be desired. They will return home for an absolutely key game against Atletico San Luis that will show the team where they stand in this Apertura 2021.