domingo, 3 de octubre de 2010

Game 10: Pumas 1 - 0 Morelia

Pumas take their first win in five games with a narrow victory over Monarcas de Morelia.

See the goal here

An opportunistic strike from Paraguayan striker Dante López (picture) after an uncharacteristic error from Monarcas goalkeeper Federico Vilar, gave Pumas a narrow 1-0 victory and keeps their play-off aspirations on track. In a lacklustre encounter of few chances neither side looked like they had enough to force a win, and a dull 0-0 draw was on the cards before Dante stepped up to grab the headlines.

Despite a midweek ticket give-away for people bring food packets for the hurricane victims in Veracruz, the Olympic Stadium still had a few empty spaces and the atmosphere was muted for Pumas second home game in a row. Guillermo Vázquez had stuck with last week's successful partnership up front as Dante started with "La Rata" Martín Bravo. Chiapas returned on the left after his suspension, however, and last week's performance earned Rojas a start ahead of Javier Cortés. 

After their home defeat to Toluca, Morelia gave a start to youngster Jorge Kalú Gastelum, and ex-Puma youth player Rafael Márquez returned in place of Luis Gabriel Rey. CU also welcomed back Jaime Lozano, a double-winner with Pumas in 2004.

The first half was a drab affair and can just about be summed up in two incidents. Mexican international Miguel Sabah, otherwise anonymous throughout the whole game, had the ball in the net for Monarcas after just two minutes, but the goal was rightly disallowed for a clear offside. Pumas struck back and after ten minutes Verón headed a Leandro  corner goalwards, only for Vilar to push the ball onto the bar.

Other than a smattering of yellow cards, mostly for fairly minor infringements, that was the sum total of the excitement in a half where Pumas more or less controlled possession but could only create half-openings. Despite their vaunted firepower of Miguel Sabah, Elías Hernández and Hugo Droguett, Morelia only managed two efforts on goal in the whole game, compared to 27 in the Toluca match last week.

Pumas dragged off Rojas at half time and brought on Cortés, and it seemed to make a difference as the home side started with more purpose. Bravo finally had a couple of chances, but his efforts were scuffed slightly and Vilar was able to gather. It began to seem, as the hour mark approached, that both teams had run out of ideas when Pumas took the lead in slightly strange circumstances.

Those that have followed Atlante will know that Federico Vilar has a deserved reputation as a fine goalkeeper, and he even earned a call up to the Argentinian national squad a couple of years ago. So when Arias calmly stroked the ball back to his keeper, it came as a complete surprise that Vilar miscontrolled badly and the ball spurted forwards. Dante was alert and on hand, and taking care to avoid contact with the Morelia man, poked the ball ball past him and side-footed into an empty net. The Morelia players protested vigorously on the basis of a"foot up" but these claims were brushed aside. What had complicated things slightly was that the linesman had raised his flag and then sheepishly lowered it again. Still José Alfredo Peñalosa was not going to change his mind and the goal stood.

To make matters worse for Monarcas, within five minutes they were down to ten men: Jorge Kalú Gastelum picked up his second yellow for an apparently innocuous offence (although maybe he said something). If anything it spurred on the visitors to greater efforts, and Pumas began to retreat and leave spaces in midfield. Hernández had one decent effort from distance, but also blasted one over from near the penalty spot when well fed from the right.

Pumas, as has happened before, began to get nervous holding on to a slender lead. A corner was played short and held by the flag to use up a few seconds, while Leandro was booked for time-wasting. Nevertheless the last few minutes were free of incident, apart from the final corner of the game, when Vilar appeared in the Pumas area. The ball was cleared to Palencia (on for Bravo) who lumbered upfield and was unable to get a shot in on the empty net. Cacho (who had replaced Dante) following up pushed his effort wide.

So a disappointing afternoon's entertainment, but three valuable points for Pumas, who move to second in Group 3 behind runaway leaders Cruz Azul. Morelia are bottom of the same group but are only four points further back.

Pumas: Sergio Bernal, Efraín Velarde, Marco Antonio 'Pikolín' Palacios, Darío Verón, Jehu Chiapas, Fernando Espinosa, Israel Castro, Leandro Augusto, Oscar Rojas (Javier Cortés 46), Dante López (Juan Carlos Cacho 75), Martín Bravo (Juan Francisco Palencia 86). Manager: Guillermo Vázquez.

Morelia: Federico Vilar, Enrique Pérez, Adrián García Arias (Ismael Pineda 83), Adrián Aldrete, Mauricio Romero, Jorge Kalú Gastelum, Hugo Droguett (Luis Gabriel Rey 73), Jaime Lozano (Luis Miguel Noriega 73), Rafael Márquez Lugo, Miguel Sabah, Elías Hernández. Manager: Tomás Boy.

Dante López (63rd minute) 1-0

Pumas: yellow: Castro (foul), Rojas (foul), Bravo (a mystery), Velarde (foul), Leandro (time-wasting)
Morelia: yellow: Lozano (foul), Sabah (protesting at the goal); red: Gastelum (two yellows for tackles)

Pumas Players Ratings

Bernal 6: Nothing much to do but solid in what he did.
Velarde 6: No worries at the back, but showed little going forward.
Palacios 7: Worked hard and gave the forwards no space.
Verón 7: His usual calm presence.
Espinosa 6: Has established himself again ahead of Fuentes.
Chiapas 5: Not a good day. had a decent chance that he chipped straight at the goalkeeper.
Castro 5: Works hard but he needs to be involved in creating danger going forward.
Leandro 5: A quiet day.
Rojas 4: Disappointing after doing so well last week, but admittedly on his unfavoured right side.
Bravo 7: A handful, but couldn't quite get it right in front of goal.
Dante 7: Good opportunistic goal, but not quite last week's movement.
Cortés 6: A better game, a few lively moments down the right hand side.
Cacho 6: More movement and enthusiasm than we have seen from him for a while.
Palencia 4: It is hard to see much sense in bringing him on at the moment.

Vázquez 5: An uninspiring performance, and  the substitutions seemed mechanical. That said Cortés worked ok instead of an out-of-position Rojas.

Elsewhere in Mexico

The debate rumbles on about the sanctions handed out to the Mexican players after the party in Monterrey. Nevertheless the sanctioned players (other than the two banned) have been called up to the Mexican squad for the game against Venezuela in Ciudad Juárez, and they have accepted. It appears that the money from the fines is to be donated to the Hurricane Karl fund for those in need after the storm passed through Veracruz. This has helped the players feel it is ok to pay up and calmed the situation.

Meanwhile in the Concacaf Champions League Toluca made life difficult for themselves, suffering a 3-2 defeat to Puerto Rico Islanders. A last-minute header by David Horts gave the Puerto Ricans the victory after the 'Diablos Rojos' had squandered a two goal lead, after first-half strikes from Héctor Mancilla. Cruz Azul strolled to a comfortable 2-0 win over Arabe Unido (Panama) to assure their qualification, while a second-string Santos side thrashed Joe Public (Trinidad) 5-1. Monterrey's younsters managed a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica against the 'Purple Monster' of Deportivo Saprissa to keep their qualification on track.

After a dismal 0-0 draw between Jaguares and Estudiantes on Friday night, the games failed to explode with excitement this weekend. Othoniel Arce got the only goal as his header proved the winner in San Luis's 1-0 defeat of Tigres. Santos dominated in Torreón against Toluca and gained a deserved 2-0 victory, with José María Cárdenas scoring the first and making the second. Monterrey celebrated their return to the TV screens with a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Necaxa. The goalscorers, unsurprisingly, in their tenth game without defeat: Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris. A promising attacking display saw Puebla overcome Querétaro 2-0 in the Estadio Cuauhtémoc, with Rodrigo Salinas providing the pass for the first goal and scoring the second. Atlante lost their unbeaten record under new coach Eduardo Bacas, despite taking the lead against Pachuca in Cancún. Fano thought he had the second but a poor decision by the linesman saw it disallowed, and an Edgar Benítez brace helped the 'Tuzos' to a 3-1 win.

In the first of Sunday's derby fixtures Chivas and Atlas drew 2-2 on the artificial turf of the Omnilife stadium in Guadalajara. A poor attendance of only 20,000 saw Chivas grab a 90th minute equaliser through a Néstor Vidrio own goal, after earlier seeing Atlas keeper Pedro Hernández save De la Mora's penalty. In a much more intense encounter later in the day, Cruz Azul took the honours in the Mexico City derby against América, with Christian 'El Chaco' Giménez grabbing the winner.

The top positions remain unchanged, with Cruz Azul, Monterrey and Santos all winning. Necaxa remain rooted to the bottom of the relegation table, with a 1 point per game average.

Next Up

On Tuesday Santos face Municipal, while Cruz Azul  go to Utah to face Real Salt Lake. Toluca attempt to rescue their Concacaf Champions League season hosting FAS of El Salvador on Wednesday, and Monterrey head to Honduras to play Marathón. Monterrey and Cruz Azul have already qualified for the quarter-finals. Santos need a point to go through. Toluca need to win.

On Wednesday Chivas and Morelia make up their game lost earlier in the season due to Chivas's commitments in the Copa Libertadores. 

Pumas travel to Pachuca on Saturday evening.  The pick of the other games: on Sunday Toluca host Cruz Azul and América play Monterrey in the Estadio Azteca.

1 comentario:

  1. Clearly, during this game was determinated for the referee's lack of control. To much yellow cards, as you said, some mistery faults that nobody could explain, plus the technical mistakes of the players.

    I think we need to think about how we stand in the field and the replacement of players too. It's dificult for me understand why Memo Vázquez is doing all changes, looks like he change players just because.

    What really makes me feel excited is the combination of Dante and Bravo... Sorry, I tried to write in English but is hard for me, so wellcome to Spanish, jajaja.

    En definitiva, Pumas está encontrando una manera de organizar su delantera (que había estado floja las últimas dos temporadas). Bravo y Dante empiezan a entenderse, tienen mucho movimiento en el campo y parece que la mancuerna está funcionando.

    Me gustaría que Chiapas encontrara la manera de concretar sus jugadas, hace todo muy bien menos definir.

    Por otro lado, Paco Palencia se ha quedado sin piernas, tiene poca movilidad y este partido fue evidente cuando siendo el último hombre, con un potero mal parado y un defensa algunos metros detrás, simplemente no pudo correr más, lo alcanzó el defensa, no pasó la pelota y se quedo a poco y nada de hacer un gol.

    Veremos que pasa la próxima semana.