When it comes to a 90-minute soccer game, anything can happen. Your favorite team can get scored on your team scores, injuries, anything you name it. Those same tensions build up more, especially if your team is fighting for silverware. Pumas have also found themselves in that situation before.
Pumas has played a total of 14 finals in their 65 years of history. Of those 14 occasions, Pumas has come up top seven times with their most recent championship dating in the Clausura 2011 when the Auriazules beat Monarcas Morelia in a 3-2 aggregate win. Mexican player Juan Carlos Cacho was their top scorer that tournament, finding the back of the net a total of seven times.
Of those seven Auriazul victories, there have been some tough games. The toughest of them all would have to be the fourth title when they beat Chivas in the Clausura 2004 tournament. This victory marked the beginning of a golden year for Pumas as they went on to win the Apertura 2004 tournament to make it two for two in the same year, this time beating Monterrey.
Pumas and Chivas played the first leg of this epic final in the Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, where Pumas took the lead 15 minutes left into the 90 minutes. After a great play from Leandro Augusto, a series of poor defending from the Chivas Squad set up the ball perfectly for Jose Lopez “El Parejita” to send his shot from close range to the back of Oswaldo Sánchez.
Around 10 minutes after El Parejita’s goal, a horrible call from the referee awarded Chivas a penalty kick when a light foul occurred at least two feet outside the penalty box. Chivas Player Ramon Morales would execute his penalty kick comfortably to the opposite side, where Sergio Bernal would go out to reach for the ball. With five minutes to go, Chivas saved the draw, and it was all to play for at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario.
Following the events in Guadalajara, the final in the Olimpico Universitario, wherein 120 minutes, both teams did the damage. Still, none were able to break the scoreless draw. Both sides sought out the victory. Pumas undeniably played better, both Oswaldo Sánchez and Sergio Bernal made monstrous saves to avoid their teams from being behind in the scoresheet. The game brought all sorts of nervousness, hope, and faith in the team.
Nobody likes a penalty shoot-out because it can be anybody’s game. Whether a team played good or bad, it is an unfair event where nobody wants to be involved in, especially the players. Pumas kicked off the penalty shoot-out with Jaime Lozano sending his shot to the back of the net. Following Lozano’s goal, nine-goal conversions, the score quickly turned 5-4 in the shoot-out.
It was all in the hands of (or rather foot) of Rafa Medina to score his penalty kick to keep Chivas’ trophy hopes alive. Medina, in front of thousands of fans, decided to shoot in the middle of the goal to send his shot high above Sergio Bernal’s goal signifying Pumas’ victory over the “Rebaño.”
Hugo Sanchez’s side lifted the fourth trophy in the team’s history in what is the most dramatic final they have been. Pumas were deserving of that title. The game was challenging enough to make it to the penalty shoot-out and to end in that way, as a fan, was the most heartfelt victory in history.
Pumas has both won and lost finals, perhaps some more dramatic than others, but to you, which has been the most exciting final in Pumas’ history, whether they won or lost?