Free cursors for MySpace at!
PUMAS Blog: Game 2: Santos 1 - 1 Pumas

Monday, August 04, 2008

Game 2: Santos 1 - 1 Pumas

Pumas struggled to a valuable point against the current champions Santos in the Estadio Corona in Torreon, Coahuila. The "Laguneros" controlled most of the game, but a resolute Pumas defence, and some fine goalkeeping by Sergio Bernal (picture) were able to limit their opportunities and hold out for the draw.

The big news of the week had been Leandro Augusto´s call up to Sven Goran Eriksson´s first squad selection, and a lot of column inches were written about his inclusion, with regrettably some players complaining that other "equally" good players should be selected if they were born in Mexico. It seems they are suggesting that there are two classes of Mexican citizens, yet in some ways a naturalised Mexican is if anything more committed to his "Mexicanness", since he has chosen it, not acquired it through an accident of birth. The other argument was that if Leandro was selected, then so should be Argentinian-born Matias Vuoso of Santos.

Such was the talk as the game got under way. Palencia was still out injured and Bravo's papers are still not in order (more effort needs to be made on that score, including a note to FIFA) so Tuca kept faith in Dante Lopez and Juan Carlos Cacho up front with Pablo Bonells as back up on the bench. Otherwise the team was the same as in the opening game, while Santos rested Walter Jimenez and remain without two of their main attacking weapons, Benitez and Luduena. Matias Vuoso was out to prove himself after being left out of the Mexican squad earlier in the week.

Right from the start Santos were the more dynamic unit, controlling the midfield, with Morales and Iniguez having to drop too deep and Palacios and Veron having difficulty controlling movements forward. As early as the 9th minute, in fact, Rodriguez clipped the bar from a free kick. While struggling to have any significant hold on the ball, nevertheless the centre of defence looked firm, although Vuoso alternatively tested out the young Pumas full-backs. Santos began to become a little frustrated despite some excellent movement from Castillo and Arce, and it was then that Pumas could create some danger of their own, both Lopez and Castro going close with long-range efforts, Oswaldo Sanchez having to be lively.

After the drinks break (after half an hour) Santos continued to press and nearly took the lead as Ortiz headed nicely towards the top corner, but Bernal was able to throw himself high and right to push away for the corner. And just as it looked as if the teams would be going in level, some excellent play by Leandro and Dante Lopez brought the goal. Leandro skipped down the left and put in a low cross which Lopez controlled by pushing it past the last defender and then beating Sanchez to poke the ball into the net.

Despite some nervous moments Pumas arrived at half time ahead and as the second half progressed in a much more even manner, a Cacho break out nearly fed in Lopez, but Sanchez made an excellent save. Daniel Guzman the Santos coach then introduced Walter Jimenez for Mares. He had a dynamic impact and Pumas again began to struggle in the middle and the Pumas team became compressed at the back with little route forward towards a lively Dante Lopez, and an increasingly frustrated Cacho.

Despite their almost complete domination of the ball, Santos were still finding clear chances difficult to create and the equaliser came in slightly fortuitous circumstances. A poor shot across the face of the goal from just inside the area by Vuoso, fell very neatly to Torres evading the Pumas defenders and Bernal had no chance. In a mad moment almost immediately afterwards Pumas were nearly behind. Veron was adjudged to have fouled Castillo in the area, and although replays were at best inconclusive (Veron appeared to take the ball fairly cleanly) Vuoso stepped up for the spot kick. His effort however was anticipated beautifully by Bernal who dived low to his left to push the ball for a corner.

Tuca had seen enough and brought off Morales to play a five-man defence with Carlos Humberto Gonzalez. Santos continued to push forward but space was more limited and chances few. Lopez had a reasonable effort from the edge of the area which unfortunately went straight at Oswaldo Sanchez, while in the last minute Bernal was similarly able to cling on to a "Lorito" Jimenez effort which looked like it was going to grab the points for the home team.

So a somewhat scrappy point for Pumas, away to the champions and best team of the past year (this is the second successive season that Pumas have played the champions in the second game). They are now in 3rd place in group two behind Tecos and Cruz Azul, while Santos are still waiting for their first win.

Dante Lopez (38th minute) 0-1
Francisco Torres (68) 1-1

Pumas: yellow: Juarez, Veron
Santos: yellow: Figueroa, Estrada

Player Ratings
Bernal 8 - definitely the key figure for Pumas, some great saves including the penalty
Velarde 6 - struggled against Vuoso and an arm injury
Juarez 6 - agan did well coping, albeit with some difficulty, with the pace of Vuoso and Arce
Veron 7 - an excellent first half and unlucky to give away the penalty
Palacios 7 - as solid as last week and the centre of defence was tight
Leandro 6 - created the goal, but did not do enough to control the ball in the middle
Castro 5 - unfortunatley too anonymous
Iniguez 7 - got to the byline a couple of times and was the main threat in the first half
Morales 6 - his level dropped from last week, but to be fair he had little service and had to come deep
Lopez 7 - got into good positions and looked sharper than last week, but often had to come deep
Cacho 6 - looked isolated and too often turned into trouble, but there is definitely more to come. He clearly looked upset at making way for Bonells.
Toledo 5 - did very little
C.H. Gonzalez 6 - solidified the centre of defence and allowed the other two to cover more ground
Bonells 6 - looked livelier than he did for Pumas Morelos last week

Tuca 7 - rather negative at the end but the defensive structure is right. The only problem was a poor day at the office for Castro and Leandro. The team also needs to learn how to cope better with the opposition pressuring high up the field.

Elsewhere in Mexico
Both Mexican teams crashed out of the Superliga to MLS teams in the semi-finals. Defending champions Pchuca lost 2-0 to Houston while Atlante went down 1-0 to New England Revolution, and then managed to get 5 players sent off, four after the ninety minutes was up.

In the Mexican League, Chivas continued their mediocre start losing 1-0 against 10-man Tecos as well as suffering an injury to Omar Arellano. Alcantar got the goal that sees them top the "Group of Death". A fine performance by ex-Puma favourite "Kikin" Fonseca condemned Jaguares to their second comprehensive defeat as two goals by Blas Perez contributed to a 3-1 win for Tigres in Tuxtla. Indios de Ciudad de Juarez were yet again unable to open their top flight account after going down 2-0 in Monterrey. A well taken individual goal from Carlos Ochoa was enough to send Monterrey on their way, and an unlucky second half own goal sealed the Indios fate.

Pahuca´s indifferent start continues as San Luis came from behind late on to win 3-2 in the Estadio Hidalgo, Jairo Patino grabbing the winner five minutes from time. Meanwhile in an exciting game in the Jalisco, Atlas lost a 2-1 lead to go down 4-2 to Cruz Azul. A magnificent overhead kick by Mauricio Romero had given Atlas the lead, but they fell apart after Botinelli was sent off for a second yellow and Riveros and Vigneri put the icing on the cake for the "cementeros". In the last Saturday game Necaxa and Puebla played out a forgettable 0-0 in Aguascalientes.

In a scrappy game in Morelia, Monarcas were unable to grind out a win against Atlante, and the game finished 0-0. In the Bombonera, Toluca and America put on an exciting show, the "Diablos Rojos" going two up after 10 minutes then hanging on for the rest of the game while America knocked impotently at the door, managing only a goal from Cabanas when his cross floated past Cristante. Marco Antonio Rodriguez also managed to notch up his regulation two sendings-off before the end.

Monterrey top Group 1 from Atlante, both teams on 4 points. Group 2 sees Tecos ahead of Cruz Azul and Pumas, while Tigres and San Luis now top Group 3.

Pumas Morelos claimed a fine 3-2 away win against Lobos BUAP, with goals from Aguilar, Cortes and Rosas.

Next Up
Pumas play at home to Toluca on Sunday, while Pumas Morelos receive Atletico Mexiquense.


At 00:25, Blogger DT said...

Once again in awe of these reports...

I wanted to ask about the "drinks break". I noticed it in the final last season, the ref (archundia on that occasion, i think) seemed to just decide to have one.

Is this a new rule, or a directive, or what.

I am not sure I like it, unless it works alongside a clampdown on fake injuries whilst everyone has a drink...

At 10:54, Blogger John Kelly said...

The drinks break, as far as I am aware, is only used in Torreón in the afternoon heat (and incidentally at Inter Playa!). Common sense really, but it should not slip over into games where players are unlikely to dehydrate.


Post a Comment

<< Home