After a great showing, Pumas got their second consecutive win by traveling to Puebla and defeating them by a 2-0 score. Pumas was the better team and might have deserved to get more goals, as once again they struggled in the final third but were able to get the victory. Puebla struggled after receiving the news during the week that because of an administrative mistake, their 3-0 win over Tijuana turned into a 1-0 loss. Pumas will now prepare for their biggest match of the season when they face rivals Club America, while Puebla will travel to Guadalajara to face Atlas.
The first half started with Pumas benching struggling Gustavo del Prete for Christian Tabo. In the first play of the match, a cross into the area was punched out by Pumas’ goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez and ended up gifting the ball to Puebla. The ball went into the area to Daniel Alvarez, but he wasted a great chance by sending his shot wide. Diego de Buen lost the ball and gifted Pumas a chance at an attack. Gabriel Fernandez was able to get into the area before Sebastian Olmedo fouled him and the referee gave Pumas a penalty kick. Cesar Huerta stepped up to take the PK. Huerta got off a strong right footed shot past Puebla’s goalkeeper Jesus Rodriguez to score the goal that gave Pumas the 1-0 lead. Later, Huerta got into the area and hit a right footed shot that forced Rodriguez to make a great save. Off of a cross, Adrian Aldrete got a great cross into the area but a wide open Lisandro Magallan headed it wide, missing a great chance. Eduardo Salvio then got off a great right footed shot that Rodriguez got a hand on, forcing it to hit the post. Pumas was dominating the match, and should have been leading by a wider margin. Salvio then got off a left footed shot that Rodriguez was able to save. Puebla started getting more possession as the half ended, but weren’t creating much with it. Kevin Velasco started a good run into the area but his cross went right to Gonzalez. Rodrigo Lopez would get off a right footed shot that went wide. The halftime whistle blew and Pumas took the lead, but wouldn’t be happy with the number of chances they couldn’t convert.
The second half started with both teams coming out with the same lineups they started with. A great combination play had Huerta getting a cross into the area that was just inches from reaching Fernandez, in the first clear chance of the half. Velasco got off a cross that turned into a great shot that forced Gonzalez to make a great save. On the ensuing corner kick, Velasco got a cross into the area that Guillermo Martinez rose to get off a great header that forced Gonzalez to make a brilliant save. Pablo Monrroy then made a right footed shot that went just wide. Puebla subbed out Pablo Gonzalez for Facundo Waller. After getting himself wide open, Gustavo Ferrareis hit a right footed shot that forced Gonzalez to make a save. Puebla was having the best minutes so far, and Pumas was being dominated for the first time in the match. Salvio then got off a shot that bounced off Gaston Silva, and he was able to get to the rebound but sent it wide. Replays showed that Silva had handled the ball with both hands on Salvio’s first shot, and the referee went to VAR, where he gave Pumas another penalty. Once again Cesar Huerta stepped up to take the PK and would bury his right footed shot past Rodriguez to score and give Pumas the 2-0 lead. Pumas then subbed out Christian Tabo and Rodrigo Lopez for Ulises Rivas and Pablo Bennevendo. Brayan Angulo then got into the area, but his left footed shot was blocked by Pumas’ defense. What looked like a combination play ended when Pablo Monroy fell to the pitch in what looked to be an injury. He would have to be subbed out, along with Gabriel Fernandez for Arturo Ortiz and Juan Ignacio Dinenno. A cross into the area found Martinez, but his header went wide. Puebla later subbed out Kevin Velasco and Martin Barragan for Gabriel Carbajal and Samuel Gonzalez. A cross into the area should have finished with a shot by Dinenno, but he whiffed with his left foot and missed an incredible chance. A minute later, Dinenno once again got off a shot, this time with his right foot, but it went wide. Dinenno then got off a great right footed shot but it also went wide. Pumas subbed out Eduardo Salvio for Gustavo del Prete. Puebla meanwhile subbed out an injured Facundo Waller and Daniel Alvarez for Miguel Sansores and Carlos Baltazar. After a great pass from Bennevendo, Huerta hit a great chance after getting past a defender, but just as he was going to shoot he tripped and fell in what should have been his hat trick. It was the last chance before the referee’s whistle blew, and Pumas took the very deserved three points.
While Pumas maybe wasn’t completely dominating, they were the better team and took the victory. Cesar Huerta was once again the man of the match and scored two goals, but should have had a third. If Dinenno hadn’t also missed some good opportunities, they would have won by a larger margin. Puebla had a good spell at the start of the second half, but failed to convert and then later lost control of the match and never gained it back. Pumas will now travel back to Mexico City to prepare for their big matchup of the regular season against Club America (which although in the same city, will be an away match in Estadio Azteca) where their improving form will be tested. Puebla meanwhile will have to travel away to Atlas, and they probably are headed for another loss.