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Cruz Azul comes back to get first victory for any team in Copa por Mexico

Cruz Azul came back to get a 2-1 win over Pumas to get the first victory in the Copa por Mexico.

Pumas v Cruz Azul - Copa Por Mexico 2022 Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

It took six matches for the first game of the Copa por Mexico to not end in a tie, as Cruz Azul came back to grab a 2-1 victory over Pumas. Pumas had been a superior side in the first half, but only took a one goal lead. In the second half, the substitutes changed the match for Cruz Azul to give them the victory. Cruz Azul will now take a break up until Thursday when they face Toluca, while Pumas will face off against Necaxa on Tuesday.

The first half started with both teams having a mixture of some young players and their normal starters. Early on Cruz Azul had a great chance when Uriel Antuna got into the area, but his shot was deflected by Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez, He would then get to the rebound, but his shot went just wide. Pumas answered back with a shot from Edgar Alafitta that was easily saved by Cruz Azul’s goalkeeper Jesus Corona. A longball into the area was lowered by Gustavo del Prete, who got past Rafael Guerreiro. Guerreiro did a terrible job, on the play, and del Prete got off a right footed shot past Corona for the 1-0 lead. It was a terrible defensive display by Cruz Azul, but del Prete did well with the opportunity to give Pumas the lead. A cross into the area found a wide open Daniel Gonzalez, whose header went just wide. Minutes later another great chance fell to Gonzalez, but his shot also went wide, missing another great chance. Off of a corner kick, Julio Gonzalez made a terrible mistake by getting to a ball and bobbling it right back to Cruz Azul, but the eventual shot from Antuna was deflected and then cleared. Later, a shot frpm Carlos Rotondi forced Gonzalez to make a save. Although the rebound fell to Emmanuel Gutierrez, he couldn’t control the ball and it allowed a Pumas defender to clear it inches from the goal line. Jorge Ruvalcaba then got into the area and got off a shot that was saved by Corona. Another shot from Ruvalcaba then forced another save from Corona. For a third time, Ruvalcaba was able to get a close shot in the area that Corona saved, and although the rebound fell to Daniel Gonzalez, he was not able to get the header to go into the open net. The halftime whistle blew, and Pumas had a deserved lead after dominating in a game they should have scored more with all the chances wasted.

The second half started with Pumas subbing out Juan Ignacio Dinenno, Adrian Aldrete, Ulises Rivas, Pablo Bennevando, Arturo Ortiz, and Julio Gonzalez for Diogo de Oliveira, Hector Ramirez, Carlos Gutierrez, Higor Meritao, Nicolas Freire, and Gil Alcala. Cruz Azul meanwhile subbed out Jesus Corona, Uriel Antuna, Jose Martinez, Carlos Rodriguez, and Julio Cesar Dominguez for Andres Gudiño, Jorge Garcia, Rodrigo Huescas, Juan Escobar, and Cristian Jimenez. The numerous changes would certainly have an impact on the play in the field. A cross into the area fell to Meritao, whose left footed shot hit the post. Then in an incredible mistake, Gil Alcala tried to clear the ball and would instead give a pass right to Carlos Rotondi, who lobbed the ball over him and into the net for a great goal and the 1-1 equalizer. It was a great shot even with the mistake, but Pumas had dominated the match and it was a terrible mistake from Alcala that changed the match completely. Pumas subbed out Jorge Ruvalcaba and Daniel Gonzalez for Alek Alvarez and Jesus Rivas. A shot from Meritao from outside the area went just wide. Cruz Azul subbed out Erik Lira, Ramiro Funes Mori, Carlos Rotondi, Edgar Gutierrez, and Josue Diaz for Jesus Escoboza, Rafael Baca, Miguel Seseña, Rodrigo Cruz, and Alan Zubiri. Minutes later Huescas got a cross into the area and Seseña got a header that hit the post and went out, going close once again. Pumas subbed out Edgar Alaffita for Marco Garcia. A minute later a great pass into the area found Rodrigo Cruz, who got a right footed shot past Alcala, giving Cruz Azul the 2-1 lead and completing the comeback. Pumas had dominated the match and now were reeling as the youngsters of Cruz Azul looked better than the ones from Pumas. Pumas subbed out Gustavo del Prete and Ricardo Galindo for Santiago Trigos and Jose Caicedo. A cross of a free kick was headed by Gutierrez and forced a good save from Gudiño. After a foul by Baca, there was a big scuffle with Jose Caicedo that went into the bench of both teams. In the end, the match ended and Cruz Azul had a great comeback win while Pumas threw away the match.

It was a bad loss for Pumas, who had dominated the match and wasted a number of chances up until Alcala’s mistake opened things up for Cruz Azul, who dominated once the substitutions were made. Worrisome was that Cruz Azul subbed in a lot of youngsters, who looked a lot better than Pumas, especially Daniel Gonzalez who missed a number of chances in the first half. Cruz Azul improved a lot from their lackluster debut against Necaxa and was able to get the first victory in the tournament. They will now wait for their match against Toluca, while Pumas will face a must win match on Tuesday against Necaxa.