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PUMAS Blog: CONCACAF CL: Pumas 3 - 0 Harbour View

Monday, September 08, 2008

CONCACAF CL: Pumas 3 - 0 Harbour View

Video here.

Pumas duly qualified for the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League with an unconvincing but unsurprising 3-0 victory at home to Jamaican team Harbour View. Hero and villain was "Paco" Palencia, returning for his first game for a month after an injury sustained in the opening game against Necaxa. After making a mess of a penalty in the first half, he redeemed himself with two second-half goals and a nice pass to Chiapas for the other.

The Pumas line-up was restricted by international fixtures (Darío Verón and Dante López were on duty for Paraguay against Argentina) and injuries (Leandro and Iñiguez, although presumably had he not been injured Leandro would have been in the Mexico squad to face Jamaica). Harbour View also had two players absent because of the Mexico fixture. Alex Diego, David Toledo, Carlos Humberto González and Juan Francisco Palencia stepped in.

Pumas began the game with complete domination of possession, and the Jamaicans, when they had a rare sight of the ball, were immediately put under pressure by Castro who dominated the centre. In the event Harbour View almost immediately fell right back with 8 outfield players behind the ball and Pumas pushed the ball around patiently looking for an opening. The Pumas attack did not look as threatening as last weekend, but there were one or two half chances and shots from distance before Morales burst through the middle and was brought down by a dangerous high foot from goalkeeper Dwayne Miller. The referee had little option but to send Miller off and award a penalty as the ball had struck a post and been cleared.

Curiously, after Cacho had taken such a good penalty on Sunday, and Palencia had been out for weeks, it was the latter who stepped up for the kick. Not unpredictably the ball sailed over the bar against a poor reserve keeper Barret who had come on for Wooley.

Puams continued to push forward against ten men, but only created another couple of opportunities before half time, Palencia making a mess of a Toledo cross, and Morales going close from the edge of the area. Nevertheless the Jamaicans will be happy to have gone in level at the break, particularly considering their lack of possession or ambition.

In the second half the story was the same, despite Luis Rosas coming on for Alex Diego and Jehu Chiapas replacing Morales. Pumas overused the short corner (presumably worried about the height of the Jamaican defenders) but the final delivery was often poor, and as the game went on the away side seemed to grow in confidence, if not in attacking ideas. Luis Rosas put a header over the bar, while Cacho hit the bar with a header from a Toledo cross.

Just as it looked as through it was going to be an awkward last twenty minutes for the home side, Palencia finally made amends for his earler miss. A nice Chiapas cross was completely missed by "Paco" but the rebound fell nicely and he poked it past Barret to give Pumas a 1-0 lead. Curiously this brought about Harbour View's most prductive and aggressive spell of the game, although this did not bring about a meaningful goal attempt.

It was a strange decision to bring on Fernando Espinoza for the more attacking Toledo, but it seemed to work, as the Jamaicans tired, and Pumas grabbed a couple more right at the end to add a flattering note to the scoreline. First Cacho and then Palencia worked a simple chance for Chiapas who tucked it away with 3 or 4 minutes left, and then with almost the last kick of the game Palencia hit a nice shot in from the edge of the box after a pass from Rosas.

Not a great performance from Pumas, but a necessary win, which sees them progress into the group stages where they will face Houston Dynamo (USA), Luis Angel Firpo (El Salvador) and San Francisco (Panama).

More about CONCACAF Champions League & World Cup Quals

Juan Francisco Palencia (65 minutes) 1-0
Jeho Chiapas (88) 2-0
Palencia 3-0

Pumas: yellow: González, Rosas
Harbour View: red: Miller

Player Ratings
Bernal 6 - really, really had nothing to do
Juárez 7 - comfortable and put in a couple of nice crosses
González 6 - solid performance but silly booking
Palacios 6 - unchallenged in defence but could have done better with a header from a corner
Velarde 6 - still not the player he was this time a year ago but lively nevertheless
Castro 8 - never allowed the Jamaican midfield to settle - the best player on the field
Diego 6 - not overtaxed in midfield but lacked dynamism going forward
Toledo 7 - some lively moments and a couple of good crosses but should be challenging for a regular place
Morales 7 - a handful for the Jamaican team. Was he taken off as a precaution after the penalty incident?
Cacho 6 - a little less effective than last game but service was sporadic and he was swamped by numbers of defenders
Palencia 6 - dreadful penalty miss and some very poor moments, but two good finishes and a nice pass for Chiapas
Rosas 6 - did ok down the right and with Iñiguez out looks to have a chance to make an impression
Chiapas 7 - has been unlucky not to have more opportunities - took his goal well and put in a couple of decent crosses
Espinoza 6 - a tad generous maybe as he was only on a few minutes but looked the part.

Tuca 6 - had a very limited strategy for overcoming very limited opponents

Elsewhere in Mexico

Mexico staged their second World Cup Qualifier, this time against Jamaica, in the Estadio Azteca. The game had been due to be playedi n Jamaica but due to Hurricane Gustav the venue was changed. Luis Pérez took Leandro's spot while the attack was led by the two Premiership youngsters Giovanni Dos Santos of Tottenham, and Carlos Vela of Arsenal.

The team and the supporters were all dressed in white (see photo) as a protest against crime and particularly against kidnapping; the son of leading sports retailer Martí wwas found dead after a ransom had been paid recently, and sparked off a wave of outrage round the country.

In the end it was quite a comfortable victory for the home side, although neither of the forwards got on the scoresheet. Midfielders Andrés Guardado (Deportivo La Coruña) and Fernando Arce (Santos) scored in the first half, while a nice second half effort by defender Johnny Magallon (Chivas) completed the 3-0 scoreline.

Cruz Azul completed their passage to the group stages with another thrashing of Hanook Verdes in the Estadio Las Flores. Their 6-0 win included two from Vigneri.

Pumas Morelos drew 1-1 at home to Cruz Azul Hidalgo. The goal came from Javier Cortés. They are now 2nd in group 3 and 5th overall in Primera A.

Next Up
Pumas play their next league game away at resurgent Tigres. Meanwhile Mexico continue the World Cup Qualifiers on Wednesday in Tuxtla Gutierrez (Chiapas, Mexico) against Canada. Pumas Morelos take on group 3 leaders Mérida in the Yucatán.


At 15:34, Blogger John Kelly said...

Very interesting, DT, to see two MLS teams lose. Particularly New England's thrashing by Joe Public. And you know how I feel about Chivas of any sort....

Incidentally Darío Verón played the full game for Paraguay against Argentina in the 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires, with Dante López getting 20 minutes at the end.

At 03:01, Blogger DT said...

well, yes, the format was changed largely to aid the US teams, yet they both looked poor - "NE Revs" looked terrible in the second leg, really naive, although i think Joe Public are a little better than you may think - I spotted a few players who "didn't make it" in MLS before - expect them to get another chance there soon.

All four Mexican teams breezed to the groups, another indication of how far ahead the league in Mexico still is from MLS


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