A bit of a surprise as Mazatlan and Puebla opened the 2022 Apertura season in a match with a lot of goals, where Puebla made a statement with the 4-2 away win. The match was expected to be the second of the tournament, but the Necaxa versus Toluca opener was postponed because of thunderstorms in the area. Thus Mazatlan and Puebla was the opening match, and it was a goal filled and exciting match in which Puebla had a great offensive performance to get the win. Puebla will go back home to play their first home match against Santos, while Mazatlan will remain at home to get a tough visit from Tigres.
The game started as the first minutes of the 2022 Apertura were surprisingly played in Mazatlan and not in Aguascalientes. The first chance fell to Puebla when Fernando Aristeguieta got the ball in the area, getting off a right footed shot that was saved by Mazatlan goalkeeper Nicolas Vikonis. Then off of a corner kick, a second play got the ball to Aristeguieta, who made a great left footed pass into the path of Israel Reyes, who got off a right footed shot past Vikonis from close range for the 1-0 lead. The referee initially ruled it to be offside, but after going to VAR the goal was allowed and Reyes had the first goal of the new Liga MX season. A couple of minutes later, Federico Mancuello got the ball and made a great pass to Fernando Aristeguieta, who got into the area and his left footed shot was blocked by Vikonis. The rebound however fell back to Aristeguieta, who then got a tap in goal to the empty net. 15 minutes in and Puebla had a 2-0 away lead. A corner kick almost turned into an olimpico goal when Mancuello took it, but the ball went just wide after a bad mistake by Vikonis. Mazatlan wound up subbing out injured Oswaldo Alanis for Enrique Cedillo. A cross into the area was volleyed by Marco Fabian, but his shot went just wide. There was a controversial play when a ball played into the area had Gonzalo Sosa crashing into Puebla’s goalkeeper Anthony Silva. It looked like a possible penalty, but after consulting VAR, there was no foul given. Nestor Vidrio then got off right footed shot from outside the area, but Silva made a good save.
The second half started with the home side trying to get back in the game, and they wouldn’t take long to do so. A minute into the half, a cross into the area by Fabian was headed by a diving Eduard Bello past Silva to make it 2-1. Puebla subbed out Ivan Moreno and Jordi Cortizo for Omar Gonzalez and Martin Barragan. The change would pay off when off of a corner kick, Diego De Buen headed the ball and it bounced into the path of Martin Barragan, who got to knee the ball into the net for the 3-1 lead. Mazatlan then subbed out Eduard Bello and Bryan Colula for Edgar Barcenas and Jorge Padilla. A cross into the area was headed by Sosa, but Silva made a good save. Puebla subbed out Fernando Aristeguieta and Federico Mancuello for Amaury Escoto and Daniel Aguilar. A cross into the area found Padilla, who got off a shot that went just wide. Mazatlan subbed out Marco Fabian and Roberto Meraz for Miguel Sansores and Gabriel Lopez. Puebla took advantage and took a quick free kick that allowed Gustavo Ferrareis to get into the area and make an easy pass for a tap in goal by Amaury Escoto for the 4-1 lead for the visitors. Puebla then subbed out Gustavo Ferrareis for Luis Garcia. Puebla had a chance off a counter, but Garcia’s shot went wide. Off a corner kick, the ball fell to Gabriel Lopez and his right footed shot was deflected off Gaston Silva and past Silva to make it 4-2. Mazatlan came close again when Sosa got into the area, but his shot went past Silva but also wide of the goal. A shot from Barcenas from outside the area then went just wide. Then in injury time, a bad slide from Barragana dropped Padilla and the ref gave a penalty kick to Mazatlan. Unfortunately for the home side, the referee went to VAR and ruled it to be a free kick just outside the area. Carlos Vargas took it and got off a great shot, but Silva made a great save. It was the last chance, and the match ended with Puebla getting a key victory.
Puebla started their season in great form. In a rematch of the first ever match played in the Estadio Kraken, Puebla once again got a great victory in Mazatlan. They were the better team, and although they slowed down in the end and allowed Maztlan to dominate the final minutes, the game was already over by that time. Puebla tried to continue on a streak as opposed to last season, were they started playing really well and finished but their level decreased as time went on. Puebla’s coach Nicolas Larcamon will hope the team keeps it up, but he couldn’t have asked for a better start. Mazatlan will have to improve at home, and although they showed spirit in battling back and dominating the final minutes, a 4-2 loss at home is a bad result no matter how good Puebla looked at times this past season. Mazatlan will have a tough match next week against Tigres at home, while Puebla travels back home where they will be favored against Santos.