Pumas came back from a 2-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 tie away against Tigres Saturday night. In a stadium that has been incredibly difficult for Pumas recently, Tigres looked to have secured yet another victory, but two quick goals helped Gustavlo Mema’s side to get a tie away to Tigres, days after having tied Necaxa by that same score at home.
Pumas came out with the same starting 11 that tied Necaxa on Wednesday. Tigres came out with Nicolás Ibáñez as a starter as André-Pierre Gignac was on the bench after missing last weekend’s match because of illness. Off a corner kick, Guido Pizarro headed the ball and it bounced off Nathan, who left the ball there for Ibáñez, whose shot was blocked by Pumas keeper Julio González. To the surprise of nobody, Tigres dominated possession as Pumas continued with their constant struggles at the Estadio Universitario. A great cross from Diego Lainez was just cleared by Lisandro Magallán inches before Ibáñez could have reached for a close-range chance.
Tigres continued to dominate until a cross into the area from César Garza went through the area and found a wide open Nicolás Ibáñez, whose attempt got past González to score and give Tigres the 1-0 lead. Defender Pablo Bennevendo made two mistakes, first by not going after the cross and then leaving Ibáñez wide open to get off his shot. The halftime whistle blew and Tigres took a well deserved lead to the dressing room.
The second half started with Pumas subbing out Adrián Aldrete and Ulises Rivas for Robert Ergas and Rodrigo López. Off a corner kick, Ibáñez headed the ball and Nathan incredibly blocked the ball with his arm, resulting in the ref calling a PK. Ibáñez took it himself and scored to give Tigres the 2-0 lead. He’d missed one in their last match against Querétaro, but made up for it with his second goal of the match.
Pumas began creating opportunities after Ibáñez’s successful PK, and off a corner, a great cross from Eduardo Salvio was headed from close range by Guillermo Martínez past Nahuel Guzmán and into the net to place the score at 2-1. This was Martínez’s first goal since joining Pumas and cut a short slump for the attacker.
Soon after, Suárez started a counter that was continued by a great run from Huerta, who found López. His cross found Guillermo Martínez who headed the ball past Guzmán and into the net. The goal was called back for a possible handball, although replays showed the ball bounced of Martínez’s head and onto his shoulder, not his arm. Therefore, after going to VAR, the ref correctly ruled the goal stood and Pumas had gotten the 2-2 tie. It was an immense improvement from the visitors.
Huerta then got past a defender, but his shot was deflected wide as Pumas were now dominating the match against a Tigres side that were severely hit by that tying goal. But they would respond as Quiñones got a cross into the area that González deflected to Gignac, who then scored into an empty net. It was a bad mistake by González, but replays showed the Frenchman had handled the ball and VAR called back the goal, saving González from his huge mistake. After a few substitutions from both side, the match came to an end as Pumas held on for the important point on the road.
It was a great result for Pumas by getting a tie that tasted like a victory just days after getting a tie at home that felt like a loss. On Wednesday, Pumas tied against a Necaxa side that went down to 10 players. This time it was Pumas who came back against a Tigres team that looked to have the match in control and against a rival in a venue where they have suffered a lot. Lema’s side haven’t defeated Tigres in the Estadio Universitario since 2014 and have suffered a great bad losses there. It appeared they would add another, but a great apperance from Leonardo Suárez in his debut and two goals from new signing Guillermo Martínez changed things and gave the team a boost. They will now head home and face Puebla in the only Liga MX match to be played on Super Bowl Sunday. Tigres will have a tough trip away as they start their CONCACAF Champions Cup campaign against Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow before returning to Mexico to pay Santos Laguna a visit.