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PUMAS Blog: Game 15: Chivas 1 - 1 Pumas

Monday, November 03, 2008

Game 15: Chivas 1 - 1 Pumas

Video highlights here.

In an intense and closely-fought battle, Pumas and Chivas played out a draw, which despite being the result that the game deserved serves neither team as Morelia leapt to the top of group 2. Verón was the pick of the Pumas players and grabbed the lead for the away side, searching for their first win in the Jalisco in 26 years, but Patricio Araujo hit a fine long-range equaliser for Chivas.

Tuca had promised a change in thinking after the flaccid performances of the previous few games, but the solution he came up with was strange. Efrain Velarde found himself as a central defender in a three-man line with Verón and Palacios, while Juárez and Cabrera played as wing-backs. The extra ball-winning at the back was presumably to free up Castro and to play Chiapas instead of the more robust Alex Diego. Íñiguez also found himself playing up front alongside Cacho with López and Palencia on the bench.

The original line-up was not a real success, and within half-an-hour Tuca had changed it. The format did not suit Morales who was unsure what he was supposed to do and found little time and space. Given that he has been one of Pumas's better players this season it was curious to invent a system which effectively nullified him. Similarly strange was not starting with Toledo who had done such a good job in midweek and looks on form. He, however was the man to replace Morales on 30 minutes. Chivas left Medina on the bench, and continued with Sergio Santana and Omar Arellano up front. Ocampo deputised for Magallón.

Both sides started in an orderly fashion, not giving much away. Pumas probably edged possession but were able to create little danger. The only major incident in the first part of the game was a stupid stamp by Omar Arellano to Palacios's face. After a tackle Arellano was up first and his foot made clear contact with Pikolín's head. Most people agreed there should have been some sort of card, possibly red, and at best Arellano was careless, at worst malicious. Given that he was to receive a yellow card later on the moment was important. Palacios, with blood running from his face, was understandably furious.

The first clear chance of the game fell to Chivas as a lovely cross from Ramón Morales presented Baez with a clear header, but the chance was pushed wide. Cacho responded with a shot easily saved by Hernández after being set up by Íñiguez. The only other dangerous action of the first half was a long range effort from Solis which Bernal palmed away for a corner. Meanwhile Pumas had lacked threat out wide and were trying to push through the middle, as Cabrera and Juárez were unable to create anything down the wings.

The second half began as the first had finished, with a closely fought battle in midfield, with some precise passing from both sides, but also with organised and resolute defence. It took a fantastic piece of play from a Chiapas corner on the left for Verón to open the scoring. The Paraguayan defender lost his marker with a curved run away from goal and then attacked the ball, hanging in the air to rifle the ball past Hernández.

Chivas now had to push forward more, and Efraín Flores rearranged the team, with Ocampo and ex-Puma Gonzalo Pineda making way for Medina and de la Mora, after Pineda had got overheated at Palacios celebrating the goal. There were now more spaces, and Pumas really should have gone two ahead as Íñiguez wasted the chance of the game. A one-two put him clear one-on-one with the keeper but "el Cachas" struck the simple chance against the post and the opportunity had gone.

From then on Chivas started to gain the upper hand, and Araujo equalised with a fabulously struck shot from the edge of the area. Chiapas closed the space in front of the defence, but no-one else took responsibility and there was plenty of time for the Chivas number 5 to belt the ball past a motionless Bernal. The swing of the game was now definitely with the home side, and they started to do what Pumas had failed to do during most of the game - get in some good quality crosses. The Pumas defence held well, but Chivas nevertheless could have won it at the death as Salazar wasted a great chance from a Medina cross.

The result was a fair reflection of the game, and probably suits Chivas more as they are now on 22 points, in 2nd place in group 2. Pumas lie a further two points back, although they do have a game in hand.

Darío Verón (52 minutes) 0-1
Patricio Araujo (72) 1-1

Pumas: yellow: Castro
Chivas: yellow: Arellano

Player Ratings
Bernal 6 - did what was asked of him, although rather puzzling he did not move for the goal
Juárez 5 - had no real defensive worries, but had a lot of cover. With his system he needs to get forward more
Verón 8 - an excellent goal to cap a very good all-round performance
Palacios 6 - seemed to be in the thick of things but a defender always needs to keep his cool
Velarde 6 - did ok out of position but his attacking strengths were missed
Cabrera 5 - no real worries but lacked any cutting edge going forward
Castro 6 - the extra space in the middle saw him get forward more
Chiapas 7 - without the extra ball-winning duties he seems much more comfortable. Some excellent distribution
Morales 4 - lost and out of position - not really his fault
Cacho 5 - not really pacy enough to lead the front line
Íñiguez 6 - did enough to be worth another try in this position but he has to take those opportunities
Toledo 6 - continued his good form, but looked unsure about the team structure
López 5 - has had a recent run of bad form but is still a useful player
Palencia 5 - added nothing significant as there was little service from out wide

Tuca 6 - an interesting experiment, but I think the wing-back idea did not work even if there was more freedom in the midfield, and better passing through the middle. Cabrera is one for the future, but he does not seem quite at the level yet. Chiapas is worth perservering with and a place needs to be found in the system for Morales.

Elsewhere in Mexico
Two late goals gave América a 3-1 win in the Estadio 3 de marzo against Tecos after going a goal behind. This puts the "Águilas" with an outside chance of qualification for the Liguilla in the very tight Group 2. Bruno Marioni and Damián Álvarez got the goals as Pachuca overcame Cruz Azul in Mexico City, as the "Máquina" lost the chance to take control of Group 2. Monterrey overcame their recent bad form and a first minute Luis Gabriel Rey goal to register their first win in 7 games, 2-1 over Atlante.

Edwin Santibáñez got the winner in the "battle of the basement" Indios overcoming Puebla 1-0. while in a dull game San Luis and Necaxa shared the points in Aguascalientes 1-1. Two "Bofo" Bautista penalties were not enough to save Jaguares from a thrashing in Morelia as Andrés Mendoza grabbed a hatrick for the home side in a 5-2 win. Meanwhile an excellent performance from Israel López, including two goals, helped Toluca brush aside Atlas 4-0. In the late Sunday game Tigres hung on for a 1-1 draw with Santos after having Pedro Benítez sent off. Fernando Arce got the equaliser for the Laguneros, but they could not force the winner.

Atlante still look in prime position to qualify in Group 1, but Santos and Pachuca are closing up. In Group 2 any of the six teams could qualify, with América bottom on 18 points and Morelia top on 24. San Luis look safe at the top of Group 3 with Tigres and Toluca battling it out for second spot.

Pumas Morelos qualified for the play-offs in Primera A with a 2-1 win over Veracruz. Goals came from Fuentes and Aguilar.

Next Up
Pumas travel to Jaguares on Wednesday for the postponed game 6.


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