Pumas and America gave one of the worst games of the season after a 0-0 tie in the first of the five clasicos of Liga MX. What was supposed to be the biggest regular season game for Pumas and one of the three biggest for America ended up being a very even and boring match, with both teams struggling to create many chances. America was defensive from the start and it paid off, while Pumas failed to decipher a way to bypass Amerca’s defensive wall. Pumas will now travel north to Torreon to face struggling Santos, while Club America will play at home against Queretaro.
The first half started with Pumas having the return of goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, after an injury forced him to miss the Wednesday match against Saprissa. Pumas had the first chance when a shot from outside the area by Juan Ignacio Dinenno forced America’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to make a good save. America had a great chance when Federico Viñas got the ball in the area, but his right footed shot was saved by Talavera. Pumas had to make an early change after Jeronimo Rodriguez got injured and was subbed out for Sebastian Saucedo. America came close when a ball into the area was lowered but Jorge Sanchez volleyed the ball well wide. America was having more possession, as Pumas couldn’t get the ball back. After a possible handball from Arturo Ortiz, the referee stopped the match so VAR could check the play, but no penalty kick was given. After a play there was a small scuffle between Talavera and Ortiz with Diego Valdes. Pumas had a good chance after Saucedo found Favio Alvarez in the area, but his shot was deflected by Jordan Silva, saving America. From outside the area, Dinenno got off a great shot that went just wide. There was a possible penalty kick when Jose Rogerio fell in the area, but he was ruled to have been offside. The halftime whistle blew, and the first 45 minutes failed to live up to expectations.
The second half started with both teams hoping to improve on their lackluster first half performance. America came close after a cross into the area was just missed by Salvador Reyes with his left footed volley. The game continued to be very even, with neither team creating much at all with their possession. Pumas subbed out Leonel Lopez and Jose Rogerio for Diogo de Oliveira and Washington Corozo. A cross from Juan Otero turned into a shot that went just wide. After a rebound, Reyes got off a left footed shot that forced Talavera to make a great save. Then after a good chance opportunity, the ball was left bouncing in the area and Diogo (who already had a yellow card) incredibly tried a bicycle kick that instead connected with Santiago Naveda. Pumas went down to 10 players, and now America was given the key to attack. America subbed out Juan Otero for Roger Martinez. Pumas meanwhile subbed out Favio Alvarez and Juan Ignacio Dinenno for Nicolas Freire and Omar Islas. America had a good chance after Reyes got past his defender, but his cross was cleared by Pumas’ defense. A ball was lowered in the area by America, but cleared by Pumas. America then subbed out Santiago Naveda for Alejandro Zendejas. A cross into the area found Reyes, but he missed a great chance when his shot went way over the line. Later Martinez had a great chance after getting by Alan Mozo, but his cross was deflected. It would be the last play, and America got a good tie in a terribly disappointing game.
Pumas and America fans will not have the best taste after the match. America had a good result in getting an away tie, especially after their recent struggles, but being overly defensive from the start is not a style that their fans like. Coach Santiago Solari’s job looks to be in danger as the team sits close to last place. Yet they were the better side, although not by much and with the overly rigorous fans, they need to get wins and improve on the field ASAP. Meanwhile Pumas wasted a great opportunity to get a win against their biggest rival while they are struggling. Being at home and coming in at sixth place, fans were expecting a good performance and a win. Instead, Pumas struggled to produce any offense and couldn’t decipher America’s solid defensive work. Pumas will hope to improve in their visit to struggling Santos while America needs to get a result at home against Queretaro as both sides need to improve fast to get this disappointment out of their way.