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Pumas qualify to the Repechaje with home win over Pachuca

Pumas got a 2-0 win over league leaders Pachuca to book their ticket to postseason play.

Pumas UNAM v Pachuca - Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas left it to the final game, but were finally able to gain their place in the postseason with a 2-0 win over Pachuca. Pumas was able to overcome resting key players until the second half to get the key win that that qualifies them into the repechaje. Pachuca came out with their best team and looked for the result although them clinching first place coming into the match might have played a part in it. Pumas will now wait to see who they face in the one-game repechaje, although they now the match will not be at home while Pachuca gets a week to rest before finding out their rival in the Liguilla.

The first half started with Pumas having to rest some players for the second leg of the CCL Final even when they were playing for their lives in the tournament, while Pachuca went with their best even when they already clinched first place. Off of a corner kick, Pachuca scored but it was correctly ruled to have been offside. Pumas wasted a great chance when a great cross from Washington Corozo was just missed by Diogo de Oliveira trying to head it in. Later Marco Garcia got off a shot that came close. Pumas again came close off of a corner kick when Corozo got a close header, but it went wide. Pachuca answered with Roberto de la Rosa getting into the area, but his shot also went just wide. Pachuca had a good chance when a cross into the area found Kevin Alvarez, but Pumas’ goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera was able to get to the ball before him after he lowered the ball and it went a little long. The first half ended and while Pumas really needed the win, they hadn’t come close to scoring.

The second half started with Pumas needing to get the win in their possible final 45 minutes. A shot from Garcia was almost deflected in. Then Higor Meritao got off a left footed shot from outside the area that went just wide. Pachuca subbed out Victor Guzman for Fernando Navarro. With time running out, Pumas decided to sub out Jose Rogerio, Marco Garcia, and Washington Corozo for Juan Ignacio Dinenno, Leonel Lopez, and Jorge Ruvalcaba. Off of a free kick, Jose Caicedo jumped and got a great header that forced Pachuca’s goalkeeper, Oscar Ustari to make a great save. On the ensuing corner kick, Juan Ignacio Dinenno rose to get a wide open header that went past Ustari’s arm and in for the 1-0 lead. Pachuca went on the offensive and Pumas benefited because of it. Pachuca got a corner kick and clearing the ball allowed Pumas to get a great counter attack. After Diogo’s pass got deflected into the path of Juan Ignacio Dinenno, he was able to get into the area and get off a right footed shot past Ustari for the 2-0 lead. Because of injury, Arturo Ortiz had to be subbed out for Efrain Velarde. Pachuca also subbed out Erick Sanchez, Aviles Hurtado, and Romario Ibarra for Jesus Trindade, Bryan Gonzalez, and Jesus Hernandez. Pumas was miraculously saved when after a great pass into the area found a wide open Pachuca player who then got his pass past Talavera, but Velarde was able to dive and clear the ball right into the arms of Talavera. After a foul on Caicedo that the ref failed to even see, he was sent to VAR and gave a yellow card to Daniel Aceves of Pachuca. Pumas subbed out Diogo de Oliveira for Favio Alvarez. Pachuca had a good chance when a pass that went into area was just out of reach of de la Rosa, or else it would have been a tap in. In the last minute, a great pass found Ruvalcaba but it looked like he was brought down although the ref failed to see it. It was the last play and Pumas was able to get it key win to qualify to Liguilla.

Pumas got a deserved win in which the second half substitutions were key to getting the result. Dinenno once again showed he is on a great momentum with two key goals to give Pumas the win. With the CCL Final in everyone’s head, Pumas needed to rest players like the semi-injured Nicolas Freire and guys coming off injuries like Dinenno and Lopez. The plan paid off for Coach Andres Lillini, and Pumas have now qualified to the Repechaje. For Pachuca overall the match didn’t hold much meaning as they had clinched first place and should already be preparing themselves for their Liguilla matchup that will take place a week after the Repechaje, while Pumas means the ability to get to the post season and hope to get a chance at another title.