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Necaxa defeats Pumas and sends them into crisis mode

Necaxa got a 3-1 win over Pumas and continues that club’s struggles away from home.

Necaxa v Pumas UNAM - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Two early goals led the way as Necaxa got a 3-1 win over Pumas. Coach Andres Lillini had a little revenge over his last club as they built on that early lead and although Pumas valiantly came back in the second half, it was not enough. Pumas continues a streak of 15 matches without an away victory, as they continue to struggle defensively. They will need to bounce back on Saturday at home against Chiva,s as they look to be close to a full crisis. Necaxa hopes to continue improving, but will have a tough away match against Monterrey.

The game started with both teams having a solid lineup, with the news that Eduardo Salvio did enough to make the bench after his injury but not to start. Off of a free kick, Alexis Peña rose to get a header back into the area right to Edgar Mendez, who easily headed it past Pumas’ goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa. Two minutes into the match and Necaxa had the 1-0 lead. Things were even worse when a bad clearance fell to Edgar Mendez, who got off a great long range shot past Sosa for the 2-0 lead. Five minutes into the match, and it looked like Necaxa had settled things. Pumas tried to respond and Cesar Huerta got off a great right footed shot that Necaxa goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez made a great save on. A shot from Juan Ignacio Dinenno was then deflected into the path of Gonzalez. After a pas into the area, Huerta looked to have been brought down in the area, but nothing was called even after going to VAR. Huerta then got another long range shot that Gonzalez handled but with some trouble. A cross into the area from Diogo de Olivera almost turned to an own goal when it deflected out by Juan Segovia. On the ensuing corner kick, the cross was incredibly headed by Nicolas Freire past Gonzalez to give Pumas the goal to make it 2-1. Pumas then wasted a great chance when a pass to Diogo allowed him to go one-on-one but his right footed shot was terrible and went totally wide. He was ruled offside, but replays showed it was a bad call.

The second half started with surprisingly no moves from either team. Pumas wasted a great chance after a good pass from Huerta gave a great chance to Gustavo del Prete, but he whiffed on his volley. Huerta got off a great right footed volley shot that forced Gonzalez to make a great save. Dinenno then got the ball in the area and got off a right footed shot that forced Gonzalez to make another save. Necaxa subbed out Brayan Garnica and Vicente Poggi for Damian Batallini and Fernando Madrigal, while Pumas subbed out Santiago Trigos for Eduardo Salvio. A great chance off a counter was wasted when Salvio got a good cross off, but Del Prete once again wasted it, this time by taking too long to take the shot and having it blocked when he finally did. Necaxa subbed out Fernando Batista for Ricardo Monreal. A left footed shot from Salvio almost got deflected in. Pumas subbed out Adrian Aldrete and Pablo Monroy for Jorge Ruvalcaba and Alek Alvarez. A great shot form Huerta got saved by Gonzalez and unfortunately for Pumas, the rebound went past Dinenno, Necaxa subbed out Maximiliano Silvera and Edgar Mendez for Diego Gomez and Juan Pablo Dominguez. Against the run of play, Pumas left Agustin Oliveras wide open, and he was able to get a left footed shot past Sosa for the 3-1 lead. While Pumas had done enough to deserve a tie, they failed to score and paid for it dearly. The goal killed Pumas and in the final minutes, Cesar Huerta made a terrible tackle and got red carded. Huerta had actually had a good performance in his first start of the season, but threw it all away with a very stupid play. Necaxa held on for the win and in a flash they sent Pumas into crisis mode.

Pumas tried to come back but even if they improved a lot in the second half, it was not enough and key misses cost them once again. Pumas sits on a streak of 15 matches without an away win as their constant defensive mistakes keep hampering the team. Tonight’s match was a perfect example of that, as they needed to bounce back from two goals just five minutes into the match. While the return of Salvio should help, the team looks to be in disarray and plays like Huerta’s red card in injury time are a sign that things aren’t well in the team. They will have a huge match on Saturday against Chivas at home. Necaxa stops a decreasing level of play, and Coach Lillini will be happy with the boost that three points give his team. Yet they will be heavy underdogs as they travel to Monterrey to face Rayados, where a tie will be seen as a great result for them.