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Red card helps Pumas lose key match at home against Puebla

Two late goals gave Puebla a 4-2 win over Pumas in a match where they played with 10 players for most of it.

Pumas UNAM v Puebla - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Pumas lost a key match at home against Puebla by a score of 4-2, increasing Pumas’ crisis and giving Puebla a big boost to their season. Once again Pumas went down to 10 players, after a red card in the 20th minute in a game they were controlling. Pumas couldn’t hold on after the red card and although they tied the match, in the end they wilted in the heat with the player advantage being key. Puebla will go home and face a resurgent Chivas, while Pumas will have a key match at Estadio Azteca when they face rivals Cruz Azul.

The first half started with Pumas making some changes, including the return of Ulises Rivas to the starting 11. Pumas had the first chance when Eduardo Salvio got off a left footed shot that went wide. A longball into the area was then brilliantly lowered by Gustavo Del Prete, who then got a low right footed shot past Puebla’s goalkeeper Antony Silva and scored the opener to make it 1-0. Then in an incredibly dumb slide tackle, Hector Ramirez got red carded. The rookie made a terrible mistake, but it still was a game changing play in the middle of the field. After Pumas lost the ball, Omar Fernandez got off a great shot from outside the area that went past Pumas’ goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa for the tying goal and the 1-1 side. Puebla had taken advantage of Pumas going to down to 10, and looked set to take the lead. Pumas had a great counter with the three-on-two, but Juan Ignacio Dinenno failed to control the ball and lost it. Then after a pass in the area that found Angel Robles, he got a great left footed shot past Sosa for the goal and Puebla, as expected, took the 2-1 lead. A cross off of a corner kick had Silva coming out to clear the ball, but it failed to fall to any Pumas attacker. Fernandez then got off a shot in the area, but it also went wide. Del Prete got off a left footed shot that was blocked by Antony Silva. The halftime whistle blew as once again Pumas complicated things for themselves and lost control of the match.

The second half started with Pumas subbing out Cesar Huerta and Gustavo del Prete for Alek Alvarez and Diogo de Olivera. Puebla meanwhile subbed out George Corral for Pablo Gonzalez. Salvio got the ball in the area early in the half, but his shot went well wide. After a scuffle, Emiliano Martinez pushed Arturo Ortiz, earning a yellow card and getting a big scolding from teammate Federico Mancuello because of the possibility of earning a red and giving up the player advantage. Pumas wasted a chance when Diogo beat his defender on speed but got off a terrible right footed shot that went straight to Antony Silva. A cross into the area was headed wide by Dinenno. Puebla subbed out Emilio Martinez and Guillermo Martinez for Ivo Vazquez and Martin Barragan. Gonzalez got off a right footed shot that was saved by Sosa. Then after a corner kick in which Sosa got the ball but Puebla protested a foul on Emanuel Gularte, Pumas continued with the play and took advantage of the distraction. A ball into the area was cleared, but Eduardo Salvio got to it and got off a great right footed shot past Silva for the tying goal to make it 2-2. Pumas then subbed out Jesus Molina for Santiago Trigos. Pumas wasted a great opportunity when Diogo got into a one-on-one but his shot was blocked by Silva, and then ball deflected off of a Puebla defender and Silva once again had to make another save. A pass into the area found Mancuello, who from close range bounced the ball right to the hands of Sosa, although replays showed that if he had scored, it would have been called offside. Puebla then subbed out Gustavo Ferrareis for Luis Garcia. Garcia got a shot from outside the area that went just wide. A cross into the area from Mancuello then found a wide open Angel Robles, who got a left footed volley past Sosa for the goal. Puebla took the 3-2 lead on yet another defensive mistake by Pumas. Pumas subbed out Pablo Monrroy and Ulises Rivas for Ricardo Galindo and Gael Rodriguez. Another cross into the area found a wide open Federico Mancuello, who got an easy right footed shot past Sosa for the 4-2 lead. Arturo Ortiz then got a header that forced a great save from Silva. In the end, that last goal had sealed things and Pumas lost a key match and continues in crisis mode.

Pumas coughed up three key points at home and continue in crisis mode. The Puebla match was a key one and Pumas had been in control, but Ramirez’ red card was key in changing things. Pumas fought back to get the tie, but this time the heat at home played against them because of being down a player, helped by a very dubious substitution in getting Ricardo Galindo in. Coach Rafael Puente now sits on the hot seat, and they will have to bounce back against Cruz Azul, who also needs to bounce back after a very disappointing loss against Mazatlan FC, who had been in last place and was winless in the tournament. Puebla will get a huge boost after last week’s loss against Santos, and they will need so with Chivas coming in for their last game before the Superclasico on Friday.