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Pumas’ disastrous season continues with loss to Querétaro

The visitors were the better team, but Gallos were the only ones able to score and grabbed a 1-0 home win.

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

Querétaro got a lucky 1-0 victory at home over a Pumas side that continue in crisis mode even with the news of their new coach. Raul Alpizar was the interim for the match as new coach Antonio Mohamed isn’t expected to take control of the club until next week, and it showed he’s really needed, especially because of some questionable moves made by Alpizar. Gallos Blancos rarely threatened, but took advantage of a free kick to get away with the three points.

The match started with the return to the starting lineup of Jorge Ruvalcaba as Alpizar tried a more offensive-minded lineup in what should be his only match. They also had the return of Julio González as goalkeeper because of the injury to regular Sebastián Sosa. Ruvalcaba would get to the area early on and get off a great right-footed shot that hit the post. Later, he got to the area, but lost the ball in another dangerous run. While Querétaro improved and evened out the match, Pumas still looked slightly more dangerous with their quick counters. A good run by Juan Ignacio Dinenno was wasted when the pass went just long enough to allow Queretaro’s goalkeeper, Gil Alcalá to clear the ball. After a couple of bounces, the ball fell to César Huerta in the area, but his right-footed shot was saved by Alcalá. In the last play of the half, Pumas had a great counter that ended with Huerta firing a right-footed shot from outside the area that was saved by Alcalá.

The second half kicked off with Querétaro subbing out Kevin Escamilla and Jonathan Torres for Clifford Aboagye and José Zuñiga. Eduardo Salvio got into the area menacingly, but his shot was saved by Alcala. In the ensuing corner, Dinenno got a close-range header that forced Alcalá to make a brilliant save. After a great combination play, Salvio fired a strong shot that hit the post. After a small clash with Dinenno, it looked like Rafael Fernández really injured his calf and had to come out of the match. He was subbed out along with Ángel Sepúlveda for Jorge Hernández and Daniel Cervantes. A cross into the area found a wide open Miguel Barbieri but his header went wide in what was a kind of foreshadowing.

Off a free kick just minutes later, Barbieri himself got past his defender and connected with the cross, redirecting the ball’s trajectory and getting it past González for a goa,l but it was quickly ruled offside. Replays showed it was the wrong call and after going to VAR, it was overruled, giving Querétaro an undeserved 1-0 lead. In the dying minutes, Huerta got into the area and saw his shot blocked by both Alcalá and the post, and although it fell to Dinenno and then Caicedo, it was somehow cleared by Querétaro’s defense. A free kick from Salvio then came real close to going in. It was the last chance in the end and Querétaro held on for the victory.

In a terrible season, this might be the most disastrous result yet for Pumas. Not only do they lose again to a Querétaro team that is one of the worst in Mexico, but they were unjustly beaten as they had most of the dangerous chances. However, a huge game from Gil Alcalá kept them from getting a single point. It was kind of a karma performance as Alcalá was Pumas’ second goalkeeper the past seasons and was left out of the squad for Sebastian Sosa at the start of this one. Alcalá showed he deserved more time on the field instead of Julio González, who has been a disappointment ever since he took the starting job after Alfredo Talavera’s departure for FC Juárez. Interim coach Alpizar left a lot to be desired with some of his moves, especially subbing out Ruvalcaba (who had been the most dangerous player) for Gutiérrez. While Ruvalcaba could’ve been tired after not having as much activity, not subbing in an offensive player like Diogo and going with Gutiérrez was a strange move which severely hampered Pumas’ offensive ideas. The blue and gold will now await Mohamed’s arrival for their Atlético San Luis clash as their season appears to be finished. Querétaro have gotten a boost before a key clash against Tijuana as the return of their fans at La Corregidora has been a very positive element for them.