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Santos crushes and embarrasses a reeling Pumas

Santos visited Pumas and took home a 5-1 victory, exposing the universitarios’ horrific defensive work.

Pumas UNAM v Santos Laguna - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Santos handed Pumas one of their more embarrassing results by defeating them 5-1 on their home turf. It was an even match until just over halfway through the first half, Pumas’ defense was overwhelmed, as Santos scored in almost every single chance they had including having three goals disallowed by VAR for offside. Coach Andres Lillini was totally outplayed again, as this Pumas side has been a total disaster since their ill-fated trip to play the Joan Gamper Cup. The universitarios will now have another tough match at home against Tigres, where they will most likely add to their crisis, while Santos travels to Tijuana in hopes to continue on their improving level.

Pumas came out with Jorge Ruvalcaba replacing the injured Eduardo Salvio, while Juan Ignacio Dinenno returned to the starting lineup as Gustavo del Preto went to the bench. Fernando Gorriaran got time and space to get off a shot but it was saved by Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez. Off a corner kick, the ball fell to Diogo de Olivera but his shot from close range went well wide. The match became very even with neither team creating any chances for a large stretch of the match. Off a cross into the area, Dinenno rose to head the ball but it went well wide. Finally, a great pass from Dani Alves found Ruvalcaba, who got into the area and got off a left-footed shot that was saved by Santos’ goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo. A cross into the area from Omar Campos was headed by Harold Preciado past Gonzalez for the 1-0. The goal was called off by the ref, but after going to VAR, it was overturned, with the ref showing coach Eduardo Fentanes from Santos’ bench a red card after giving the goal. Minutes later, off a free kick, Hugo Rodriguez would head the ball past Gonzalez, but this goal was also disallowed for offside. This time, it wasn’t overruled. Off a corner kick, Diogo rose to get a header but it would go just wide. After a great pass into the area, Harold Preciado once again was wide open and got off a header past Gonzalez for the 2-0. While not creating much, Santos had seized the few chances they created. A minute later, Jair Gonzalez got into the area and got tripped by Jeronimo Rodriguez, resulting in a penalty kick. Fernando Gorriaran stepped up to take the PK and fired the shot past Gonzalez for the 3-0. In two minutes, it looked like Santos had sentenced the game as Pumas had once again unraveled. Pumas had a chance from a header by Diogo from close range but the ball went just wide. Then, off a corner kick, the ball was headed right to another wide open Harold Preciado, who got a shot from close range by Gonzalez, although the play looked offside on replay. The goal was indeed called back by VAR as an offside. The halftime whistle blew and Pumas was correctly booed by the whole stadium after yet another awful half.

The 2nd half began with Pumas subbing out Carlos Gutierrez for Leonel Lopez. Four minutes in, Santos beat Pumas’ defense again after Preciado got past Alves and made a pass to Juan Brunetta, who got off a left-footed shot past Gonzalez for the 4-0. Santos subbed out Jair Gonzalez for Diego Medina. They had another chance when Eduardo Aguirre got the ball in the area but Gonzalez was able to clear the ball off his feet. Pumas subbed out Marco Garcia and Jorge Ruvalcaba for Cesar Huerta and Gustavo del Prete. A cross into the area found Dinenno, who got off a header that forced Acevedo to make a great save. Off the corner kick, Dinenno would get a header that forced Acevedo to another great save. Santos subbed out Eduardo Aguirre and Juan Brunetta for Javier Correa and Leonardo Suarez. A cross into the area found Correa, who got past Galindo and headed the ball before Gonzalez made a great save. Minutes later, Preciado got the ball in the area and got off a shot that went wide. Santos had a couple more chances after that as they found a way to get past Pumas’ defenders every time. Santos subbed out Fernando Gorriaran and Harold Preciado for Aldo Lopez and Cecilio Dominguez. The home side came close when a pass into the area found Rodriguez, but his was deflected and shot went well wide. Off a corner kick, Higor Meritao rose to head the ball but it went wide in another wasted chance. Alan Cervantes got a wide open ball and fired it past Gonzalez, but it was called back for offside. Minutes later, Correa got the ball in the area and got off a left-footed shot that Gonzalez failed to save correctly, and the rebound fell right into the path of Leonardo Suarez for the 5-0. Pumas answered with a left-footed shot that was saved by Acevedo. In the ensuing corner kick, Juan Ignacio Dinenno rose to finally head the ball past Acevedo for the 5-1. A pass into the area found Lopez, who got a shot that was deflected by Santos’ defense. It would be the last chance as the ref blew the final whistle, Pumas’ fans boos rained on the home side after the embarrassment they had just witnessed.

Pumas has been a sinking ship since they went to Barcelona to play the Joan Gamper Cup. The embarrassment that was the 6-0 loss in front of the eyes of the world has repeated itself in every single match since. While the acquisition of Dani Alves has been a failure so far, his fame has further distracted them of the bigger problems the teams has, especially on defense. CB’s Nicolas Freire and Ricardo Galindo (in for injured Arturo Ortiz) have displayed some of the worst performances in recent time for Pumas, with Galindo forcing to question how he’s able to play for a Liga MX team even, not to mention a club like Pumas. This match was another clear example, as it was an even match until Santos suddenyl started scoring on every opportunity because of defensive mistakes. Sports director Miguel Mejia Baron said that Coach Andres Lillini’s job was safe for the rest of the season, but the question remains, especially after cameras showed him sitting on the bench after the match on the brink of tears. On the other hand, Santos has been playing well of late and shown how good their level is, despite not being a candidate for the title. They made Pumas pay and will probably get into the Liguilla. They will have to travel to face Tijuana on Thursday while Pumas will stay home to play against Tigres, where all signs point to them losing yet again.