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Pumas hold to return to winning ways against Atletico San Luis

Pumas got a 3-1 win over Atletico San Luis in Antonio Mohamed’s debut.

Pumas players do the Goya chant at the end of the match
via Rafael Hernandez

Pumas was able to bounce back from an early conceded goal and overcome a poor second half to get a 3-1 win over Atletico San Luis in the debut of new coach Antonio Mohamed. After a great first half and a not so great second, Pumas held on for the win at hope that elevates the hopes in Pumas’ fans that the season might not be lost. Pumas will stay at home to play against Toluca next Sunday while Atletico San Luis returns home to face FC Juarez.

Pumas player huddle before the opening whistle
via Rafael Hernandez

The first half started with Pumas coming out with a five player backline under Mohammed, including rare starts for Jose Luis Caicedo and Carlos Gutierrez. A minute into the match, Pumas lost a ball on midfield which allowed a counter by San Luis as Jhon Murillo got into the area and got off a right footed shot that went past Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez and into the net for the goal and the 1-0 lead. It was an incredibly rough start for Mohamed’s tenure. Pumas responded almost immediately when Gutierrez got off a great cross and Ulises Rivas jumped to get off a great header past San Luis’ goalkeeper Andres Sanchez for a great goal that tied it at 1-1. The goal also ended a drought, as it was the first goal of the season by Pumas scored by a Mexican. After a pass into the area, Mateo Klimowicz made a great move to get himself wide open, but his right footed shot went wide. After a good move, Vitinho got past Gonzalez and could have had an open net chance, but the ball went a little too long and all he could do was get off a bad cross. Higor Meritao then got into the area and got off a left footed shot that was barely cleared by a San Luis defender. Cesar Huerta made an incredible play when he lobbed the ball over a defender and then made a move to get past two others, getting off then a great right footed shot past Sanchez for a wonderful goal to give Pumas the 2-1 lead. Murillo later got off a shot in the area that Gonzalez blocked. The halftime whistle blew and after a bad start, Pumas gave a great first half to take a deserved lead.

The second half started with both teams hoping to improve on a good first half appearance. Vitinho got into the area but he would end up clashing into Meritao and no penalty was given. Eventually Higor Meritao got subbed out for Jorge Ruvalcaba. After a clash between Caicedo and Javier Guemez, the Atletico San Luis player looked to have been injured. A long ball looked to have been a chance for Ruvalcaba, but Sanchez was able to clear the ball before he got to it. An incredible mistake from Gutierrez, who made a bad backpass, started a great sequence of events. Angel Zalvidar got a pass from Gutierrez but Gonzalez made a great save. The ball then fell to Vitiinho, who got off a shot that Gonzalez also saved. The ball eventually fell to Ricardo Chavez ,who got into the area and his right footed shot was saved by Gonzalez. Finally it would be Klimowicz who would get a shot and forced Gonzalez to make his fourth straight save in a great effort from the home side goalkeeper. The injured Guemez was subbed out for Juan Castro. After Pumas lost a ball, San Luis had a great counter but Gonzalez made a jump to take the ball off the feet of Murillo. Pumas started to falter and San Luis took control of the match, creating most of the danger as Pumas held on at times for dear life. Trying to get things in control, Pumas subbed out Juan Ignacio Dinenno, Cesar Huerta, and Ulises RIvas for Diogo de Oliveira, Santiago Trigos, and Jesus Molina. San Luis subbed out Jhon Murillo, Angel Zaldivar, and Diego Klimowicz for Sabin Merino, Leonardo Bonatini, and David Andrade. San Luis kept attacking and having a lot more danger than a Pumas side that had been pushed back. Pumas subbed out Eduardo Salvio for Alek Alvarez. San Luis subbed out Vitinho for Kevin Sandoval. Pumas wasted a great chance after a long ball fell to Ruvalcaba on a possible one-on-one, but his shot was blocked by Sanchez. San Luis came within inches of tying the game when a free kick cross eventually fell to Unai Bilbao, but his header went just wide. Then in an incredible mistake, a long ball into the area was headed by Sanchez, who bounced it off Jorge Ruvalcaba, who then got past Sanchez and into the empty net before getting the tap in goal just before a San Luis defender arrived, scoring the goal that gave Pumas the 3-1 lead and all but assured the win. San Luis kept trying but it was too little too late and Pumas held on for the victory.

While Pumas struggled in the second half, overall they got a deserved result and showed that things are quickly improving under Mohamed although the team did need a great performance from goalkeeper, Julio Gonzalez to get the result. They will need to work on their defensive work especially with Toluca, a better team than San Luis, coming in. Still it was a great result for the debut of Mohamed and fans are excited for a possible new direction. Atletico San Luis might rue the lack of finishing but they did show the ability to go into the attack and should be favored for their game against FC Juarez.