Image via ligamx.net
Pumas UNAM got the best of Club America with a 1-0 win at home in their first leg of their quarter-finals Liga MX matchup.
It was a close encounter from the start, and the first-half didn’t offer much to talk about. Both teams looked timid in the final third, and it became more of a battle in the midfield. Pumas struggled early to create fluency with their attackers. America could only hold on possession for short periods of time. The game quickly began to turn into a game of chess among both the managers in the sideline.
Ismael Sosa was one of the bright spots in the game. When Pumas launched the ball into the middle of the field, Sosa was there to pick up the scraps and create danger towards America’s defense.
When the second half started, the America manager, Antonio Mohamed, looked more than happy to start lending Pumas the ball. Guillermo Vasquez, the Pumas manager, adjusted by playing Dante Lopez less centrally. In return, Dante Lopez disrupted some of America’s attack on the left.
In addition, the Pumas right back was set free to incorporate himself to the attack on the right-wing. As a consequence, America started losing more and more of the ball as Pumas kept pushing men forward.
One of the few negatives for Pumas came in the 56th minute. The goalkeeper, Palacios, was injured in a collision. It was later revealed he would miss the rest of what is left in the tournament.
With Pumas having more possession of the ball, Vasquez took a risk by substituting one of his defensive midfielders for an attacking option in Daniel Ludueña. The risk paid off when Ludueña sent in a cross into the box that Eduardo Herrera headed into the back of the net. That was 9th goal in 13 Liga MX matches for Eduardo Herrera to put Pumas 1-0 up in the scoreboard.
Dante Lopez started to look increasingly tired on the left-hand side, and a misplaced pass was almost capitalized by Oribe Peralta in the 83rd minute.
But there would be no more. Outcoached and unmatched, Antontio Mohamed will have to lead his team to victory at the Estadio Azteca if America expect to reach the semifinals. He will have some important players back which will certainly be a boost this Saturday.