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PUMAS Blog: Game 8: Tigres 0 - 2 Pumas

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Game 8: Tigres 0 - 2 Pumas

See the goals here.

Pumas secured a hard-fought away win in Monterrey against Tigres, and moved to the top of the general table. In a very tight and even game, two goals in stoppage time at the end of the second half claiming the victory for the UNAM.

Pumas started the game with Diego still filling in for Leandro, Toledo down the right wing, and Dante López returning for Palencia up front. Tigres started with ex-Pumas captain Antonio Sancho in midfield, with "Kikín" Fonseca working down the left wing.

The game began with Pumas pushing forward but with little success against a well-organised Tigres defence. Alex Diego managed one long-range effort, but otherwise Tigres were sitting back and looking to counter. However before long they found themselves having to work in attack too as Verón and Palacios had easily snuffed out the counter-attacking threats, and it was then Bernal had to be alert to make a save from Lucas Lobos.

As the first half wore on, Fonseca was getting more joy down the left against Juárez and Tigres had the clearest chances with Blas Pérez looking dangerous down the middle. The Tigres centre-forward wasted a good chance going into the area by diving and looking for the penalty, but referee Roberto García was not fooled and awarded him a yellow card instead. Fonseca and Molina were creating problems for the defense and "Kikín" shot just wide after a poor clearance by Palacios fell to him on the edge of the area.

So Tigres slowly gained a fragile ascendancy towrds the end of the first half, but neither goalkeeper had been seriously troubled throughout the half, and Castro and Sancho had marshalled their troops well.

The second half was a slightly more open affair, with Dante López seeing more action and Marino adding impetus to the Tigres attack. Nevertheless there were still few chances, and Pumas had still not managed to get close to the by-line to put in a dangerous cross, Morales often being forced back inside. Cabrera replaced "El Zurdo" Morales on the hour to look for more success in this area. Meanwhile Toledo had been livelier down the right, forcing ex-Cruz Azul veteran "El Conejo" Pérez into a couple of timely interventions.

The normally dependable Darío Verón almost cost Pumas the first goal when he sent a disastrously short back pass towards Bernal. It was latched onto by Blas Pérez, but as Bernal came out he pushed it past the Pumas 'keeper and Verón had time to race back and atone for his error by clearing.

In a curious incident towards the end of normal time Tigres were awarded a debatable free-kick right on the edge of the area as Verón was deemed to have deliberately handled the ball, despite looking to be pulling his hand away. We have had some controversial, and frankly bad, handball decisions in the Mexican League this year, and maybe it is time FIFA looked to clarify the laws in this repect. Nevertheless the decision was enough to send "El Tuca" Ferretti apoplectic in eye-poppingly deranged manner, and Roberto García finally felt obliged to give the Pumas manager his marching orders.

Nevertheless the game looked as though it was heading for a goalless draw as the teams entered stoppage time. Then a poor headed clearance fell at the feet of Palencia, who had come on for the ineffectual Cacho, and he battled to the by-line before pulling back neatly into the path of Castro, who swept the ball past Pérez from the edge of the box. It was slightly unfair on Tigres, who then gallantly pushed forward to look for the equaliser, but with almost the last kick of the game it was Pumas who doubled their lead. Dante López got to the line on the left, beating his man, and teeing up Palencia inside the penalty area for the second, to send Pumas to the top of the table.

Israel Castro (90 minutes) 0-1
Juan Francisco Palencia (93) 0-2

Pumas: yellow: Morales, Verón, red: Ferretti
Tigres: yellow: Blas Pérez

Player Ratings
Bernal 6 - has to take some credit for Pumas having the best defensive record in the league.
Juárez 5 - had a lot of trouble with Kikín - this year has been a learning experience
Palacios 6 - solid but a couple of poor clearances
Verón 6 - excellent other than the chance he handed to Pérez on a plate, but redeemed himself
Velarde 6 - no anxieties in defence, but could not get any depth down the left wing
Diego 6 - a solid effort but needs more composure in distribution
Castro 8 - tidy and effective, and a nice goal
Toledo 7 - a generous seven, but the most likely of the midfielders to get in a telling cross
Morales 5 - a disappointing game. Athough well-marshalled he seemed too happy to tuck back inside
Cacho 5 - too static giving the inexperienced Diego little target
López 7 - a quiet first half, but dynamic and a handful in the second half
Cabrera 6 - looked sprightly down the left hand side
Palencia 7 - influential in both goals and looks to be getting better
Espinoza 6 - settled the midfield nicely in the last 20 minutes

Tuca 6 - a well-organised team, but what happened at the handball incident?

Elsewhere in Mexico
Itamar Baptista grabbed two as Jaguares overcame Indios 2-1 in Chiapas. América, who started with an all-Mexican eleven, owed their 2-1 victory in San Luis against the leaders to a late Enrique Esqueda goal. Pachuca crushed Chivas 5-2 in the Estadio Hidalgo and piled more pressure on manager Efraín Flores. Gabriel Caballero scored two for the home side. Atlas achived their first victory in six games overcoming Puebla 2-0 in Guadalajara. Cruz Azul drew one-all with Atlante in Cancún, the goals coming from Lozano (Cruz Azul) and Maldonado.

Ten-man Tecos got a 2-2 draw in Morelia despite Andrés Mendoza's brace for the Monarcas. A tight match in the Bombonera saw Toluca and Monterrey draw 0-0, while Santos and Necaxa managed a goal apiece in Torreón in the late Sunday game.

On Wednesday Mexico struggled to a 2-1 win over Canada in Tuxtla. Goals came from substitute Omar Bravo (Deportivo La Coruña) and captain Rafael Marquez (Barcelona). Victory virtually assures the "Tri" of a place in the six nation play-off for the 3 and a half World Cup places.

Pumas Morelos went down 1-0 in Mérida.

Next Up
Pumas play San Francisco of Panama in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday. On Wednesday Santos take on Municipal of Guatemala, and Cruz Azul travel to Honduras to face Marathon. On Thursday Atlante host Olimpia, also of Honduras, in the same competition.

On Thursday Chivas host the second leg of their Copa Sudamericana preliminary tie against Aragua.


At 01:53, Blogger DT said...

Making a habit of late goals, am I right?

They looked pretty shambolic in Panamá - was the teamsheet Tuca being disrespectful to San Francisco or the competition?

At 18:32, Blogger John Kelly said...

And disrespectful to the Pumas supporters, all three I suspect. I think a more sensible solution might have been to blood three or four young players alongside, say Palacios and Castro and Morales who only played a half on Saturday. No problems with the choice of goalkeeper even though Patiño was awful.

My selection (with hindsight, clearly)

At 22:14, Blogger DT said...

I meant to ask - do you know anything about the San Francisco manager Gary Stempel? Here (where I think he has managed previously) he is always referred to as "Panameño-Inglés", I was wondering if you knew his story?



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