After 16 matches and almost a year to the date, Pumas got an away victory by defeating Mazatlan by a 2-1 score. Pumas got their first away win since April 2022 in a match where they were the better side but should have done better, as they almost wound up tied in the last minute. Mazatlan keeps struggling, and will have a tough match at home against Cruz Azul while Pumas returns home to face Puebla.
The first half started with Pumas having the return of Cesar Huerta to the starting 11, as they had to replace suspended Diogo de Olivera. After a corner kick, Pumas sent the ball into the area off a rebound and Juan Ignacio Dinenno lowered it, getting off a close range shot that was miraculously saved on a diving slide from Francisco Venegas. A through pass into the area fell to Higor Meritao, who got a low right footed shot that forced a great save by Mazatlan’s goalkeeper Nicolas Vikonis. Another great chance came up when a great pass from Eduardo Salvio found Gustavo del Prete, whose left footed shot was blocked by Vikonis. The ball looked to be falling right to Dinenno, but Oswaldo Alanis made a great diving tackle that cleared the ball off his feet before he could get a shot into the empty net. A right footed shot from Huerta forced Vikonis to make another save. A good cross into the area was headed well wide by Del Prete. Then a good shot from outside the area for Jefferson Intriago forced a good save from Pumas’ goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa. Pumas responded with a good combination play in which Dinenno found Salvio in the area, and his shot was blocked by Vikonis. The shot rebounded off of Salvio, but Alanis made another great save as he headed the ball clear almost off of the goal line. Off of a counter, Nicolas Benedetti was able to get a one-on-one against Sosa in which he scored, but the play was ruled to be offside. After going to VAR, the ref ruled it was onside, and incredibly Mazatlan took the 1-0 lead even when Pumas had been overly superior. Pumas had another chance after Salvio got a great cross into the area, but incredibly Dinenno wasted it by hitting a wide open shot wide. In a very undeserved score as Mazatlan took the one goal lead to the halftime break.
The second half started with Mazatlan subbing out Francisco Venegas and Josue Colman for Nestor Vidrio and Eduard Bello. Pumas meanwhile subbed out Hector Ramirez for Alek Alvarez. Pumas got right back on offense, with Dinenno getting a right footed shot from outside the area that forced Vikonis to make another save. Finally, Eduardo Salvio was able to get past a defender and get into the area where he got off a low left footed shot past Vikonis and into the net for the tying goal at 1-1. Pumas had finally scored the goal they deserved. Mazatlan subbed out Andres Montaño for Bryan Colula. A cross into the area was headed out of reach just before Ake Loba got to it. Mazatlan subbed out Loba and Nicolas Benedetti for Miguel Sansores and Marco Fabian. A cross into the area from Dinenno went just out of reach of Salvio, in what was a great chance. Pumas then lost the ball and allowed for a counter in which Fabian got a shot from outside the area, but it went well wide. Then after that a great pass into the area that went past Del Prete but right into the the path of Juan Ignacio Dinenno, who got the ball and then got off a right footed shot past Vikonis for the goal and the 2-1 lead. Pumas subbed out Jesus Molina for Ulises Rivas. After a great move in the area, Huerta got off a right footed shot that Vikonis made another good save on. Pumas then subbed out Gustavo del Prete, Higor Meritao, and Cesar Huerta for Santiago Trigos, Carlos Gutierrez, and Jose Caicedo. Off a corner kick, Vidrio rose to get a header but it went wide. Then off of a throw in, Fabian got a wide open header but Pablo Monrroy blocked it. Then in the ensuing corner kick, Pumas did a very poor job of clearing the ball, and it got sent into the area where Nestor Vidrio got a header that hit the post and went in. After being called by VAR, the referee ruled that the ball had been handled before the goal and the goal didn’t count. It ended being a key decision, as Pumas held on for win and the end of the streak.
Pumas was finally able to end a terrible streak of failing to win away games in a match where they should have done better. Pumas was the better side throughout and the fact that they went trailing to halftime, was a terrible result for them. Pumas had been the better side but constantly failed to convert their number of chances. Then in the final minutes they made a number of defensive moves to keep the result, but they ended up almost failing to do so and were lucky to have VAR bail them out after giving up possession of a match they should have put away. Still it’s a win that ends a pretty embarrassing streak for Pumas. They will have a good opportunity to pick up points as they face struggling Puebla at home, while Mazatlan keeps being in severe crisis and will have to get out of it by facing a Cruz Azul side that might be on the upswing with new Coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti.