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Pumas fail to overcome 10-men Necaxa in hardfought tie

Lema’s squad could only finish with a 2-2 tie against a Necaxa side that were down to 10 men.

Pumas UNAM v Necaxa - Torneo Clausura 2024 Liga MX Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Necaxa continued with their undefeated record with their 2-2 tie away to Pumas last night. The UNAM squad wasted a great opportunity to get a win when they failed to take advantage of Necaxa going down to 10 players when they got a late red card.

Pumas came out with their same starting 11 from their last match, except for Pablo Bennevendo taking the place of the injured Jesús Rivas. The match started with a good pace as both teams traded chances on goal despite none coming close to scoring, until Salvio got the ball in the area and his shot got past Unsain and hit the post. The ball went right into the path of Ulises Rivas, who shot the ball into the empty net to score and give Pumas the 1-0 lead. Rivas, who scored an incredible goal on Sunday, improved his scoring streak to a third straight match. The halftime whistle blew and although it wasn’t the best performance for the home side, they took a deserved lead to the dressing room.

The second half started with Necaxa subbing out Emilio Martínez and Antonio Colorado for Ricardo Monreal and Diego Gómez. A terrible back pass from Adrián Aldrete was out of reach of Nathan and Edgar Méndez took advantage by stealing the ball and going into the area where his shot got past González for the goal that tied the match at 1-1. It was a bad mistake from Aldrete, who has been showing signs of aging since the previous season.

Pumas would answer quickly with a Quispe shot that Unsain saved. Salvio would also force a save from Unsain. In the ensuing corner, Salvio got the ball and sent a cross into the area where Lisandro Magallan got a wide open diving header past Unsain and into the net for a goal that gave Pumas the 2-1 lead. A minute later, Méndez got past a defender and battled for the ball which ended with a pass to Montreal, who then made a great play to find José Paradela in the area, whose left-footed attempt got past González to score and tie the match at 2-2. Just like in their last match, Pumas got scored on immediately after scoring.

Edgar Méndez would then get injured and had to be subbed out for Jorge Rodríguez. Necaxa manager Eduardo Fentanes was shown a red card for an apparent insult. With play resuming, both clubs traded approaches on goal to no avail. Jair Cortés was subbed in with just over 10 minutes to go in the match and was immediately given a yellow card for entering the field before Garnica had left it. A minute after, Cortés himself committed a foul that ended a good opportunity for Pumas and received a second yellow, sending him off less than a minute after he had touched the pitch.

Necaxa now had 10 men after the disastrous substitution and Pumas had a prime opportunity for a victory. The home side went on the attack with Monreal making a run into the area and appearing like he might have been brought down by Nathan, but nothing was called. A cross into the area was then lowered by Martínez, whose shot inside the area was saved by Unsain in a wasted chance for Pumas. A cross into the area was just missed by López, who would have had a wide open header from close range had he connected. Pumas wouldn’t have another chance and Necaxa got a great result on the road, extending their undefeated record.

After a very good victory over Pachuca, Pumas failed to live up to expectations by dropping two points against a Necaxa side that weren’t favored and went down to 10 players. Necaxa have been the surprise team so far in the Clausura 2024 with an undefeated record (with draws against Club América and Pumas, the current champions and semifinalists of last season, respectively). Their tough defensive work held América scoreless and won them a point after going down to 10 players. Pumas will need to bounce back quick from the tie that felt like a loss as they will face one of their toughest matches of the season on the road with Tigres. Necaxa will have another away game as they travel to Ciudad Juárez where they will face a struggling FC Juárez who have just fired their manager.