Pumas were able to finally get their first victory of the 2022 Apertura with a 1-0 win over Necaxa. After two straight ties (three if you count a friendly against Celta de Vigo on Wednesday), Pumas was able to get their first win at home. Pumas had a great first half but faltered badly in the second, where Necaxa did enough to earn a tie but failed to convert their opportunities. Pumas will have a tough visit away to Pachuca, while Necaxa returns home to face FC Juarez.
The first half started with Pumas coming out with their best lineup, except for the still injured defender Arturo Ortiz. Pumas started well, but weren’t able to get any good chances. Then off of a corner kick, Pumas got a great goal when a cross was volleyed without touching the ground by Adrian Aldrete from just outside the area, his incredible shot going past Necaxa’s goalkeeper Luis Malagon for the 1-0 lead. It was a wonderful goal for Pumas to open the scoring with. There was controversy when a shot by Gustavo del Prete looked to have been handled in the area, but the referee failed to give a penalty kick because it was outside the area. Pumas later had a good chance off of a counter, but Eduardo Salvio’s shot was easily saved by Malagon. Later Salvio got the ball in the area, but his shot went wide. Pumas then wasted an incredible chance when a Salvio cross was headed wide by Juan Ignacio Dinenno from close range. In the next play, Necaxa’s Milton Gimenez was red carded for a supposed elbowing of Leonel Lopez. After going to VAR, the call was corrected and the referee decided to go with a yellow card. The halftime whistle blew and Pumas took their deserved lead to the dressing rooms.
The second half started with Pumas hoping to get more goals and Necaxa hoping to get the tie. Pumas had a great chance when Dinenno got a close range left footed shot, but it was well saved by Malagon. Necaxa then got close when a header by Gimenez was close but wide. Necaxa then subbed out Bryan Garnica and Dieter Villalpando for Heriberto Jurado and Facundo Batista. Jurado made an impact immediately with a shot that forced Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez to make a save. Necaxa subbed out Fernando Madrigal and Edgar Mendez for Ulises Cardona and Angelo Araos. Pumas meanwhile subbed out Gustavo del Prete for Santiago Trigos. Necaxa had gained the advantage in possession, and surprisingly it was Pumas who looked like they were starting to wilt in the heat. Necaxa missed a great chance when a cross into the area found Batista, who had a close range header go wide in a very bad miss. Pumas subbed out Jorge Ruvalcaba and Leonel Lopez for Cesar Huerta and Marco Garcia. There was another handball in the area for Necaxa which the referee failed to give a penalty on, judging it to have been accidental. Pumas then subbed out Eduardo Salvio for Jeronimo Rodriguez. Pumas looked lethargic in the final minutes, as they tried to hold on against Necaxa but were able to pull and finally get their first win of the season.
Pumas didn’t have a great performance because of their collapse in the second half, but were finally able to get a win. It seemed the activity against Celta on Wednesday hit the team late, and Necaxa finished as the better team in the second half but weren’t able to get a goal. Pumas however probably prefers having those three points than good performances like against Leon, where they got a 3-0 lead only to end up tied 3-3 despite Leon finishing with 10 players because of a red card. Pumas will now have a very tough visit away to face Pachuca before facing the first three match week of Liga MX. Necaxa improved in the second half but it wasn’t enough and will kick themselves for misses like the one Batista had. They will return home and face a Juarez FC in a match they should be heavily favored to win.