Regular season match
Club America 2 – Pumas UNAM 2
Just one minute into the match, Felipe Mora had Pumas ahead in Estadio Azteca, leaving Americanistas with their heads in the hands. Oribe Peralta would pull them back even in minute 32, but Roger Martinez picked up a red card in the 39th minute, leaving America to play with 10 men for the remaining 50+ minutes. After halftime, Pumas controlled the momentum and ultimately saw America’s Bruno Valdez shown a red card to put Las Aguilas down to just eight outfield players. Five minutes later Carlos Gonzalez scored to take the 2-1 lead, which appeared likely to hold up against the 9-man Aguilas for the upset. Henry Martin subbed on in the 78th minute and had other plans, however, when, two minutes into stoppage time, he scored to give America a thrilling draw in front of the home fans. Pumas held 61% possession in the 2nd half, but just 50% for the match while allowing a whopping 13 total shots to a team down a man for 50 minutes and down two men for 30 of those, as well. It was a humiliating draw for Pumas. It was one they would bounce back from, however, and now are in La Liguilla facing off against that same America team with a trip to the final on the line.
Club America: 4-4-2
Aguilar – Valdez – Aguilera – Sanchez
Renato – Rodriguez – Uribe – Dominguez
Peralta – Martin
I don’t know what to do with the lineup. After a defensive back-four worked well for America all Apertura, Piojo Herrera decided to use five in the back against Toluca. Renato Ibarra was relegated to the bench in both matches and America looked content to let Toluca hold on to the ball as long as they wanted. Hopefully, that was just the tactic for Toluca, however, and Piojo will go back to the 4-4-2 for defensive structure but more midfield help. Pumas is more offensively gifted than Toluca, but can also be had in their defensive end. If America will play more forward, as they did in the early goings of both Toluca matches, they could find a lot of success.
Pumas UNAM: 4-4-2
Mozo – Arribas – Quintana – Mendoza
Barrera – Iniestra – Malcorra – M. Rodríguez
Mora – González
Playing the first match at home, where they haven’t had the most success this season – previous match against Tigres aside – Pumas should look a tad more defensive than the 3-4-3 they used in the second leg against Tigres. Offense is what Pumas do better of the two phases of the game, so while they may be somewhat focused on holding down America’s attack, they won’t be too worried after holding Tigres to two goals over two matches and watching Toluca climb back into both of the matches they played in the previous round.
The prospect of how this match will play out is extremely exciting. The level of talent and skill on both sides of the pitch is amazing, so, hopefully, we’ll see both clubs at their best.