sábado, 18 de septiembre de 2010

Game 8: Estudiantes 2 - 2 Pumas


In an ill-tempered game in Zapopan Pumas and Estudiantes played out a 2-2 draw.

Pumas arrived in Zapopan full of optimism and determination, but left slightly disappointed after Argentinian Mauro Cejas scooped in an 85th minute equaliser to snatch a point. In a noisy Estadio Tres de Marzo Pumas paid the price for sitting on their lead, and for the unfortunate sending-off of goalscorer Jehu Chiapas (picture).

Pumas started the game with Fernando Espinoza at right-back, after Luis Fuentes's dismal showing last week. Similarly Dante López paid the price for his miss against San Luis with a place on the bench. Cacho and Palencia started up front. Meanwhile Estudiantes were playing their first game with new Uruguayan manager Eduardo Acevedo, and Fredy Bareiro replaced Samuel Ochoa in an otherwise unchanged line-up from the team that had beaten Atlante.

In front of a vociferous home support, Estudiantes started slightly the better.  But already Chiapas was showing plenty of intent and he created the first chance when he muscled into the area and looped a header towards goal which Mario Rodriguez was just able to tip onto the bar. A couple of minutes later Jehu was firing a long range effort towards goal, but Rodríguez got comfortably behind it.

At this stage Pumas began to play the ball around with some ease, and the home team struggled for possession. During this fight for the ascendancy after around ten minutes the first niggles began to appear, with fouls going in and shirts being tugged. Estudiantes were probably initially to blame, but Pumas clearly lost their cool and became involved in similar tactics. The rhythm and the ascendancy that they had created was gone, and Palacios found his name in the referee's book for complaining over-vociferously. It has to be said that Paul Delgadillo is a referee who is unable to deal with criticism on the field, and the tall Pumas defender really should have been aware of this.

With this lack of concentration, Estudiantes regained the initiative and then took the lead. After Diego Jiménez missed an opportunity for the home side from a Morales cross and Palencia gathered a yellow for a poor challenge, Jorge Zmogilny picked up a ball in the middle of the field and smashed a looping shot towards Bernal's goal. Poorly positioned and perhaps unsighted the veteran Pumas goalkeeper was unable to keep out a good strike and Estudiantes were one ahead. The impression was that Bernal should have done better but it was an impressive effort from "El ruso"(The Russian, although actually he is Argentinian).

Pumas appeared to wake up after the goal and began to push forward for the equaliser. Estudiantes seemed content to continue with the disruptive tactics that had gained the goal. After a clumsy challenge on Cacho, Daniel Cabral then proceeded to crawl all over the Pumas front man. Incensed, Cacho leapt to his feet and stood with his faces inches from Cabral, whereupon the former Argentinian youth international threw himself to the floor clutching his face, in a clear attempt to get Cacho into trouble. There was no contact and the referee was right on the spot, but you never know what is going to happen in these situations. Fortunately for Pumas, and for footballing sanity, Delgadillo strongly encouraged Cabral to get up and then showed him a yellow card.

Meanwhile the football began to flow end to end. Velarde had a long range shot which went just over and Cejas headed straight at Bernal after a Rafael Medina cross. The edge to the game had not gone however, and Cabral continued to be part of it. It may have been this which influenced Delgadillo in his decision to disallow an own goal by 'Pikolín' Palacios. Under pressure but with no desperate danger Palacios appeared to stumble and poked the ball past his own keeper, but the referee took the view that he had been pushed and the goal did not count.

It proved a turning point as minutes later Pumas were on level terms after a goalkeeping error from Rodríguez. Chiapas, once again involved, fired a speculative shot towards goal from about 30 yards. The shot had no great power but it was dipping and swerving. Nevertheless it was a surprise to everyone that Rodríguez made such a mess of it, as he allowed it to squirm under a weak dive and into the net.

Bernal looked like he was going for a third keeper's mistake as he made a meal of dealing with Morales's shot just before the break, but he somehow kept the ball out with his legs, and Pumas cleared the subsequent corner to go in to the break on level terms.

Memo Vázquez was either going with a pre-game plan, or realised that Palencia and Cacho were not providing much threat, but for whatever reason Martín Bravo appeared for Palencia at the start of the second half. Immediately he had an impact with two determined runs, and for once he was permitted to roam in his favoured central areas. This led almost immediately to Pumas going in front as Leandro threaded a pass down the inside-left channel and Bravo pushed the ball past the keeper at the near post to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

Almost immediately though, Estudiantes were almost back level as Espinoza headed a goal-bound Cabral effort off the line. And soon afterwards, with well over half an hour left to play, Pumas were down to ten. Chiapas has a disconcerting habit of doing something brilliant followed by something awful. And literally seconds after a sublime piece of skill had taken the ball round a defender, he was walking down the tunnel to get changed. It was an incredibly harsh red card, as after a tackle Chiapas inadvertently stepped on the prostrate Jiménez and the referee saw at as a stamp.

The logical move was to shore up the midfield to see out the game and Oscar Rojas came on for Cacho. However Pumas immediately began to put themselves under pressure as they put nine men (or 8 after Castro went off briefly for a nose-bleed after having the ball blasted in his face) behind the ball, and found little way to get the ball forward. In this situation Bravo is hardly the ideal frontman and perhaps Dante would have done better as a target man to hold the ball up. Vázquez went for bringing on midfielder David Cabrera for the largely ineffective Javier Cortés.

Estudiantes were now clearly on top, and despite being slightly anxious, they created a number of chances. Medina saw a shot thud into the bar with Bernal beaten while ex-Puma Rubens Sambueza sent  a header goalwards that Bernal was happy to cling on to. Nevertheless with the home side running out of ideas, Eduardo Acevedo now looked to freshen up his attack with Taufic Guarch coming on for Medina and Samuel Ochoa replacing Bareiro.

As they pushed forward more, Estudiantes left more space at the back and twice Bravo got away. The first time he hesitated and Cabral made a fine tackle to prevent the shot. The second resulted in Elgabry Rangel receiving the second direct red of the night as he tripped the young Argentinian. As the last man it was the right decision.

With just ten minutes left you felt that Pumas might hang on for the victory, but they continued to hang back and wait for the final whistle. With just five minutes of normal time left, they were made to pay. A Verón clearing header was needless directed downwards and struck an Estudiantes player. The ball fell fortuitously to Cejas who controlled and turned beautifully before shooting at goal, where Bernal could only parry into the bottom left-hand corner.

Pumas had a half chance to snatch a win in injury time as Velarde got down the left but Castro couldn't quite get onto his low cross. Nevertheless with one point each, Pumas move up to 11 points, and Estudiantes to 8.

Both teams were slightly upset with the refereeing, with Chiapas and Leaño commenting on it afterwards. Not surprisingly given the fines and bans handed out by the Mexican Federation, both managers were quiet on the issue.

Estudiantes: Rodríguez, Medina (Guarch 77), Jiménez, Leaño, Cabral, Zamogilny, Rangel, Morales, Sambueza (Ramírez 87), Cejas, Bareiro (Ochoa 83). Manager: Eduardo Acevedo

Pumas: Bernal, Espinoza, Palacios, Verón, Velarde, Cortés (Cabrera 69), Castro, Chiapas, Leandro, Cacho (Rojas 56), Palencia (Bravo 46). Manager: Guillermo Vázquez

Jorge Zamogilny (20th minute) 1-0
Jehu Chiapas (38) 1-1
Martín Bravo (47) 1-2
Mauro Cejas (85) 2-2

Estudiantes: yellow: Cejas (foul on Palacios), Cabral (foul on Cacho, or maybe faking...), Jiménez (talking back); red: Rangel (trip on Bravo - last man)
Pumas: yellow: Palacios (talking back), Palencia (poor tackle), Cortés (badly timed tackle); red: Chiapas (stepping on Jiménez - more than harsh)

Pumas Players Ratings

Bernal 5: Did ok but should have done better on the first goal.
Espinoza 7: A great improvement on Fuentes. Kept a lid on Sambueza and got forward too.
Palacios 6: Allowed himself to get too riled up and lost concentration.
Verón 7: Had a half decent shout for a penalty when pushed, but also spent too much time complaining.
Velarde 6: A more chirpy display: nice cross in the end that didn't quite come off.
Cortés 5: He is using up his chances. Another poor game.
Castro 6: Better than last week, a steady influence.
Chiapas 7: Involved in a lot of good Pumas play - did not deserve to be sent off, but clearly there will be no appeal.
Leandro 7: The arch-complainer, but amazingly didn't get a card. Some nice touches.
Cacho 6: More involved than usual, but didn't really look like scoring.
Palencia 5: A peripheral figure. Maybe his fatherly influence on the players is no longer enough.
Bravo 7: Lively and a well taken goal, although could maybe have had another had he not hesitated.
Rojas 5: Not much time to show what he can do.
Cabrera 5: Very quiet.

Guillermo Vázquez 7: Made good decisions calling up Espinoza and bringing on Bravo. I am not convinced with Cortés on the right however. Orrantia looked a better option before his bad game in Monterrey.

Elsewhere in Mexico
During the week where Carlos Salcido and Carlos Vela were cited by the British gutter press as having frolicked with 14 prostitutes and a transvestite after the international in Monterrey, there were also some footballing issues. In the Concacaf Champions league on Tuesday, Monterrey eased to a 2-0 win at home to Marathón of Honduras, while Santos conceded a late penalty to draw 2-2 in Guatemala against Municipal. Toluca beat the Puerto Rico Islanders 3-0 at home, while Cruz Azul crushed CD Arabe Unido 6-0, including a first-half hatrick from Javier Orozco. All four Mexican teams are now top of their respective groups.

The 'Gallos Blancos' of Querétaro came down to earth with a bump as they were easily defeated by Cruz Azul, 3-0 in the Estadio Azul. This was the 'Máquina's' fifth win in a row and it keeps them at the top of the general classification. An Othoniel Arce goal was enough to see San Luis continue their winning ways against Pachuca. Ecuadorian "el Chucho" Benítez of Santos continued his fine form at the top of the goal scoring table as he bagged his ninth of the season, scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Necaxa.

El "Chupete" Suazo remains hot on Benítez's heels after scoring his eighth of the season in Monterrey's 2-0 win over Atlas. Aldo de Nigris grabbed the other as the 'Regiomontanos' remain the last unbeaten team in the tournament. Chivas reject Carlos Ochoa returned to Guadalajara and put his former team to the sword, scoring all three in Jaguares 3-0 humiliation of the "Rebaño Sagrado". Meanwhile Atlante stopped their slide with a 2-0 home victory against Morelia, Carevic and Fano getting the goals.

In Sunday's big game Toluca took the honours 2-1 against América, who have not won in five years in the capital of the Estado de México. Héctor Mancilla opened the scoring for the home side, Vuoso equalised just after half time, but a Sinha free kick near the end was enough for the "diablos rojos". In the other Sunday game a hatrick from Brazilian Itamar Batista saw Tuca Ferretti's Tigres win 3-1 in Puebla.

After their wins Cruz Azul, Santos and Monterrey remain at the top of the table, while América lose leadership of Group 2 to their rivals Toluca.

Next Up
For those who are still interested in the Concacaf Champions league, Cruz Azul host Toronto on Tuesday, Monterrey play Seattle Sounders on Wednesday, and Toluca travel to face Olimpia on Thursday.

Pumas take on Atlante at home on Sunday. Other games include Cruz Azul travelling to face Necaxa on Friday, Querétaro facing another tough one at home to Monterrey, and an interesting clash in the Azteca on Sunday afternoon when América take on Santos. Pumas Morelos, after an away win against Atlante Neza, host La Piedad in Cuernavaca on Saturday afternoon.

4 comentarios:

  1. BLIMEY!! Palencia STILL playing?? Have Pumas got anything at all going forward? I remember Cacho scoring plenty a while back, what went wrong there?

    I also remember Sambueza being a handful, I seem to remember being a bit miffed that he was culled in the badly thought out, misjudged and shortlived "Mexicanisation" of Pumas ... or is that still going on?

  2. I am ALWAYS interestedn in the CONCAChampions ... can I ask, how seriously would you say the Mexican clubs really take it?

  3. Palencia is sadly still lining up as first choice for Pumas. The "no buy" policy at the club (and to be fair that is not just mexicanisation they haven't bought ANYBODY) means that when players don't perform (and that includes Cacho, Dante and Palencia, there is no option but to retain them. The club back-tracked on Mexicanisation but will not buy players so as to give chances to (at times) under-prepared academy players. Nevertheless this has more or less worked, except up front where no decent forward has come through. Javier Cortés is the latest hope, but he is being played, not very successfully, on the right wing.

  4. The only saving grace of the CONCACAF Champions League is that it gives a spot in the World Club Championship. Mexican teams generally field weakened sides but occasionally come unstuck because of it. Nevertheless all last year's semi-finalists were Mexican, and this year it looks like the four Mexican teams will go through to the quarter-finals again.