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Toluca returns to victory 2-1 over short-handed Pumas.

Toluca got their first victory since August 6th over a Pumas team that went down to nine players.

Toluca v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Apertura 2021 Liga MX Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Toluca got a return to victory after three games without a win, defeating Pumas by a score of 2-1. Pumas had a good start, but went down by two players which eventually hurt the team greatly and gave Toluca a free path to the victory. Referee Cesar Ramos, who has a history than many Pumas fans feel is adversarial, then added a controversial third red card after the game to give more ammunition to the rumors. Toluca and Pumas will now have time off for the FIFA September date before Toluca travels to face Pachuca and Pumas returns home to face Chivas.

The first half started with Pumas coming out with two forwards, more offensive than expected. In the first play of the match, a harsh tackle from Efrain Velarde seemed to hurt Rubens Sambueza, but after being treated he remained in the game. Minutes later, Juan Ignacio Dinenno got brought down and a penalty kick was called. Dinenno stepped up to take it and with a right footed shot past Toluca goalkeeper Luis Garcia scored the 1-0. The good start for Pumas would be undone minutes later when after a foul on Sambueza, Alan Mozo was red carded. It was an incredibly stupid play that was far from any danger, as it happened in the middle of the field. Toluca took advantage minutes later when after a run Sambueza got a wide open shot, getting off a left-footed blast that was deflected past Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera for the 1-1. Toluca took control of the match, with Pumas faltering being down to 10 players. Pumas had to make the first move and subbed out Marco Garcia for Higor Meritao. Toluca came close again when off a free kick, a simple header was mishandled by Talavera, who then had to rush to stop a close range shot from the rebound. Toluca continued to dominate as Pumas held on and tried to counter. Toluca had another chance when Jorge Rodriguez got off a cross that turned into a shot, forcing Talavera to make a save. They came close again when a cross into the area was missed by Talavera but no attacker came close to reaching the ball. The game went to halftime tied, but Pumas would need a miracle to get the result with them down to 10 players.

The second half started with Toluca subbing out Kevin Castañeda for Braian Samudio. The second half also continued the pattern of having Pumas sit back and wait for the counter while Toluca had the possession. Pumas subbed out Sebastian Saucedo and Gabriel Torres for Angel Garcia and Washington Corozo. After a mistake by Toluca, Pumas got the ball in the area and the play finished with a great shot from Dinenno that was brilliantly saved by Garcia. Toluca’s Miguel Barbieri got injured on the play and although he tried to continue, he eventually had to come out of the game. Oscar Vargas came in his place. Claudio Baeza and Jorge Rodriguez also came out for Diego Chavez and Diego Rigonato. Then after a couple of minutes, Toluca would once again break through. Raul Lopez made a great pass to Sambueza, who then made a pass into the area where Alexis Canelo then made a great back heel shot for the 2-1 lead. Things looked worse for Pumas when Angel Garcia made a foul and got a second yellow card, leaving Pumas down to nine players. Pumas would have a shot from outside the area from Meritao but Garcia easily saved it. Raul Lopez got subbed out for Rodolfo Salinas. There was an incredibly strange play when Garcia went to get a ball and grab it clearly outside the area, giving Pumas a free kick and earning a yellow card. Leonel Lopez got subbed out for Amaury Garcia. The last minutes had Toluca in complete control. Toluca had one more chance but Talavera pulled off a great save. The whistle blew and Dinenno went to protest and got red carded, adding another chapter to the eternal suspicion of Cesar Ramos against Pumas.

Although not a great performance, especially with the advantage, Toluca finally returns to victory and will hope to build on the result. They might be worried that a Pumas team with ten and then nine players at time gave them trouble, but overall they were deserved winners and the circumstances were Pumas undoing. Pumas meanwhile will have to blame the players, especially Mozo for letting the team down and basically handicapping the team after several players had a good performance and seemed poised for a good match. Pumas showed fighting spirit at times, but another loss adds more to the turmoil of the team, who during the week had sports director Jesus Ramirez step down. Pumas will have to do a lot searching in themselves during the FIFA date before they get back home to face Chivas while Toluca will have a tough return when they travel to Pachuca.