5 Reasons Pumas Beat America In The Apertura
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There was a lot of action in Liga MX this week, with Club America and Pumas de la UNAM going at it in the Apertura semifinal.
Not only was America beaten by their city rivals, but they were beaten so badly that Americanistas couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Their team completely fell apart at El Estadio Azteca. The fortress of Las Aguilas del America. Well it wasn’t a fortress that day and for many reasons.These are five reasons why Club America were dominated by Pumas.
Just last year, Las Aguilas defeated Pumas on their way to claiming the 2014 Apertura Championship, their historic 12 title in Liga MX.
There’s been a lot of controversy involving the managerial hotseat since that Apertura Championship. Back then, there was a lot of speculation regarding the future of then-Aguilas coach, Antonio Mohamed. Many believe the club handled that situation poorly and at the end of the 2014 Apertura season, Mohamed resigned from the club, even though he closed the season with so much success.
The club won the CONCACAF Champions League and they also won their historic twelfth league title while he was there. In general, it was going to be hard for any new club manager to fill his shoes.
They appointed Gustavo Matosas as manager and he failed to impress, with the club having a very poor Clausura season in comparison to their previous success.
Matosas left the club soon afterwards. Ignacio Ambriz was appointed as manager for this Apertura season. With that, Ambriz has been criticized this season for America’s performances, especially against Pumas. For example, many argue that Ambriz should have started in-form striker Dario Benedetto against Pumas. Overall, It just seems as though the club hasn’t been able to find their footing since Antonio Mohamed left the club.
Inability To Finish Chances
America had many chances to score against Pumas in the first leg, with 17 shots, but they just failed to put it in the net. Pumas, on the other hand, had only nine shots in total with five of those on target. That’s a huge difference and it goes to show that there’s no point in creating so many opportunities for your strikers if your strikers can’t finish.
El Tri star Oribe Peralta was very poor in the first leg. He only attempted two wayward shots during the whole game and even though he was clearly ineffective during the match, Ambriz did not sub him out. While America continued to miss chances to score, Dario Benedetto stayed on the bench for the whole match. This is a man that has scored 10 goals all season.
America have also had an inconsistent Apertura as well. They have lost seven of their last 17 Apertura matches, winning only nine. Of those nine, only three have been wins at home.
Thats right! America have won six away matches. These away wins have given them enough points to stay in the race for the Apertura championship. If it wasn’t for their away form, they would have never qualified for the post-season tournament. This is sad, considering el Estadio Azteca is known throughout the world as a fortress for the teams that call it home base.
The stadium hosts most if not all El Tri matches and is the home base for Club America. The towering stadium is intimidating and would send shivers down the backs of opponents who tread there. Unfortunately the stadium is starting to lose its fear factor, especially with America’s home form this season and their 3-0 home loss to Pumas.
America's Red Cards
Losing a man during a match is always painful but imagine losing two during a match, now that’s even worse! That’s exactly what happened during the America vs. Pumas semifinal.
They had many chances during the first half of the match to go ahead but they failed to do so and that cost them dearly because in the second half of the game, red cards went flying towards Club America players from the referee.
They lost two players to indiscipline in the second half of their match against Pumas. Not only that, but all of Pumas's three goals came in the second half.
Losing defenders Pablo Aguilar and Miguel Samudio affected the team dearly and Pumas took advantage of their superior numbers. Then in the second leg, just as America looked like they could come back, they picked up two more red cards.
It’s important to give credit where credit is due. Pumas played their game. They performed well and continued the good form they’ve shown throughout the Apertura regular season.
Pumas clinched the top spot of the Apertura regular season, having only lost four times all season. They took their chances well, even though they didn’t have as many as America and took advantage of the mess America had created for themselves with the two red cards. They also were very patient throughout the semifinal.
America dominated possession during the first leg but Pumas were resilient, defensively and waited patiently for America to make a mistake. Well they did that splendidly for Pumas and Pumas strolled to a win.