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PUMAS Blog: Game 4: Monarcas 1 - 0 Pumas

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Game 4: Monarcas 1 - 0 Pumas

Video here.

In a curiously unexciting game in the Estadio Morelos, where neither side showed much initiative or flair, Monarcas of Morelia, showing more perseverance towards the end, stole the points in the last minute with a nicely finished goal from Elías Hernández.

Pumas handed back the right back spot to Efrain Juárez, despite Fernando Espinozsa's performance the previous week, but were otherwise unchanged. Morelia surprisingly left out Luis Landín and Ever Guzman.

Pumas had the better of a dull first half, but as before the main danger came from long-range efforts as Cacho dropped deep and he and Lopez looked out of contact with each other and the wingers. Castro and Leandro both had decent shots which went just wide while Lopez had a shot pushed away by Muñoz. Morelia created little danger for their part and most of the game was played in the middle with the Pumas pairing of Leandro and Castro overshadowing the subdued Droguett, whose best moment was when he sliced wide after being put through by Mendoza.

Nevertheless neither side looked much like scoring, the closest being Cacho's strike from the edge of the box which found the upright, while Verón failed to latch onto a Lopez knock on from a Leandro corner. Cacho also had the ball in the net but was pulled back for a narrow offside.

In the second half Morelia came out in more positive fashion, and Pumas appeared content to allow the home side to dictate the play. This approach was fraught with danger despite the imprecision of the Monarcas attack, and the "Purepechas" came close on a number of occasions, Bernal saving well from a Leao Rodríguez free kick and blocking a Droguett effort. Cacho and Lopez were seeing much less ball and Castro and Leandro were sitting close in front of the defense. There looked little prospect of a Pumas goal and Morelia persevered, pushing forward with little threat.

Nevertheless Romero had the ball in the net after a powerful header from a Leao corner, but he was adjudged to have fouled the defender in his jump. It was a close decision and it looked like Pumas had got away with the draw. "Tuca" played his hold-on-for-a-draw card by bringing on Carlos Humberto González near the end, but the Morelia huffing and puffing finally paid dividends in the last minute. Landín who had come on for Droguett controlled the ball on the edge of the area and without looking up fired the ball low across the area. It fell to another substitute, Elías Hernández, completely unmarked and he slotted nicely past Bernal for the win.

The game was stop-start and not helped by some fussy refereeing from Marco Antonio Rodriguez (picture). He made the correct decisions on the disallowed goals but there was no flow to the game, and at least three of his cards were unnecessary or just incorrect.

This was Morelia's first win, but with Tecos and Cruz Azul also doing well the Pumas group is looking ever more complicated. Pumas will have to tighten up the link between midfield and attack, while getting rid of the negative mentality that so often blights the last half-hour in close games. Pumas stay on 7 points, still in touch in group 2.

Elías Hernández (90 minutes) 1-0

Pumas: yellow: Leandro, Juárez
Monarcas: yellow: Romero, Trujillo, Cabrera, Hernández

Player Ratings
Bernal 7 - made a couple of crucial second-half stops
Juárez 5 - adds to the team going forward but still naive in defence. He has picked up a yellow on each of his three starts
Palacios 6 - again looks in command but shaky towards the end in the general malaise
Verón 7 - good performance against uninspired attacking
Leandro 6 - good first half but faded
Castro 6 - industrious as ever, but needed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half
Morales 5 - never got into the game
Iñiguez 5 - like Morales, the lack of width was a serious problem all game
Cacho 6 - is getting better, but he is having to come too deep
López 6 - still our best option up front and nearly sneaked one past Muñoz
C.H.González & Bonells - only on for a couple of minutes.

Tuca 5 - it is nice to have continuity of selection, but dropping Espinoza after his fine showing last week is dispiriting. The wingers need some back up - is there anyone who could do the job while Toledo and Chiapas are recovering from injury?

Elsewhere in Mexico
Jaguares threw away a victory against Atlante in Tuxtla, Itamar Batista missing a penalty and an open goal as well as scoring in the 1-1 draw. América rescued a 1-1 draw against Pachuca despite having a defender sent off for the third game in a row. Pachuca gave a debut to 16 year-old Víctor Mañón. Two-goal Robert de Pinho was the star for Tecos against his old club as they won 4-2 in Monterrey, for whom Ordaz and Baloy were sent off. Israel Martínez grabbed a late winner in the Estadio Jalisco to continue San Luis's fine run and gain a 1-0 victory over Atlas. Toluca came from a goal behind to register their first win of the tournament and ease the pressure on their manager De La Torre. Goals came from Mancilla, Dueñas and Diego De La Torre in a 3-1 victory.

Chivas claimed their third draw of the season in a 2-2 in Aguascalientes against Necaxa. Santos finally achieved their first win, demolishing Indios who now have four straight losses in the top flight. Despite the 3-0 scoreline, Vicente Vuoso missed his second consecutive penalty for Santos after the miss against Pumas in game 2. The final game of week 4 between Tigres and Cruz Azul will be played on November 5th because of Cruz Azul's trip to Europe.

All the groups are close: Atlante top group 1, Tecos group 2 and San Luis group 3 and the general classification. Puebla, Pachuca, Indios and Jaguares have yet to win.

Meanwhile in Primera A, Pumas Morelos went down 2-1 to Jaguares in the Estadio Victor Reyna in Tuxtla. Cristian Zamudio got the goal.

Next Up
Pumas play Pachuca in CU next Sunday. Pumas Morelos host Atlante Chetumal. And look out for Leandro's debut for Mexico in the World Cup qualifier against Honduras in the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday.


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