Pumas added another inspiring victory to the repertoire when they got a late win at home against title candidates Monterrey with a 2-0 score line. The win was very inspiring partly due to the fact that Pumas went down to 10 players at halftime but were still able to defend against a Monterrey onslaught, shocking everyone with two goals in injury time to climb all the way to seventh place. Pumas will now travel north to face Atletico San Luis on Wednesday, while Monterrey also go north; back home, to face Atlas.
The first half started with both teams coming out with their best starting lineups. An early pass into the area found Vincent Janssen, but Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera made a good job of getting into his feet and getting the ball away from him. The heat was strong, and both teams looked to be suffering on it although, Pumas only slightly so. Jose Rogerio was able to get past his defender and get off a shot from outside the area, forcing Monterrey’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada to make a play. A great chance by Pumas was wasted when a good cross by Alan Mozo got into the area, but Leonel Lopez got off a left footed shot that went well wide. A great pass found Maxi Meza in the area, but he lost control of the ball and Talavera was able to get to it. Later Juan Ignacio Dinenno got the ball in the area, but his right footed shot was saved by Andrada. Monterrey had a counter where they were on a two-on-one, but unfortunately for them defender Cesar Montes was the one with the ball and did terrible job of crossing the ball to Joel Campbell, sending it went well wide. Then in the final minute of play, Dinenno made a strong foul and after going to VAR, he was red carded. Pumas was down to ten players again this season, and they were looking at having a very tough hurdle to get over for the second half.
The second half started with neither team making a substitution, as Pumas tried to get on with only ten players. Monterrey wasted a great chance when the ball got into the area but Jesus Gallardo failed to control the ball, wasting the opportunity. Just inside the area, Janssen got off a great left footed shot that was brilliantly saved by Talavera. Monterrey wasted a great chance when Campbell got into the area and sent a back pass after getting Talavera out of it, but Montes shot was blocked by Higor Meritao in what could have been an open net shot. Pumas then subbed out Jose Rogerio and Favio Alvarez for Washington Corozo and Sebastian Saucedo. Meanwhile Monterrey subbed out Hector Moreno, Luis Romo, and Joel Campbell and Erick Aguirre, Alfonso Gonzalez, and Rodolfo Pizarro. Diogo de Oliveira got a pass into the area and was wide open, but he was brought down and the play was ruled offside. Monterrey came close when Stefan Medina got the ball in the area, but his shot was saved by Talavera. The ball then fell to Gallardo, who headed it before it was cleared by Mozo. Later a cross into the area was almost deflected by Diogo into an own goal, but Talavera did a good job of saving it. Pumas then subbed out Leonel Lopez and Diogo de Oliveira for Jose Galindo and Omar Islas. Monterrey meanwhile subbed out Jesus Gallardo for Jose Alvarado. Then in injury time a long ball was sent and Washington Corozo went on a one-on-one, getting a left footed shot past Andrada for the 1-0 lead. Monterrey subbed out Matias Kravenvitter for Michell Rodriguez. After a pass, Gonzalez got off a shot in the area but was deflected wide. Pumas subbed out Higor Meritao for Santiago Trigos. Then after a corner kick, Pumas once again cleared the ball and once again it was Washington Corozo on a two-on-none, but after a Monterrey defender pressured him Corozo got off a left footed shot past Andrada for the 2-0 lead and his brace. It was a great way to end the match, and for Pumas it was what could have been their most exciting win of the season in Liga MX.
Pumas has been having great success this month with them qualifying to the CONCACAF Champions League Final after trying against Cruz Azul 0-0 on Tuesday (they had won 2-1 on the first leg). Now they add a great win in which they were down to ten players and were still able to hold on and get the victory against a Monterrey side that is a Liga MX title contender since they have such a deep squad. Pumas has improved defensively, as they weren’t scored on in the last 180 minutes they’ve played and have climbed up enough in the standings that they seem to be able to concentrate on the CCL Final and still get to the Repechaje. Coach Andres Lillini has done a great job to be doing so well in both competitions, especially with a squad that isn’t stacked in the least. On the other hand Monterrey is stacked, and after getting a solid 3-1 win away against Guadalajara, they suffered a terrible result in not being able to beat or tie Pumas even with a player advantage for 45 minutes. They will need a solid win at home against Atlas after the disappointing result, while Pumas will face a tough task away to a San Luis team that needs to bounce back after losing to Necaxa.