Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Táchira surprise Pumas with home win

The Copa Libertadores round of 16 started with two games last night. Over in Venezuela, Deportivo Táchira was visited by Pumas UNAM.

Yuber Mosquera celebrates with his teammates. (Photo: Conmebol)
Venezuela's champion had a big task ahead of them as the Mexicans had been the second best team of the group stage points-wise. Early on in the game, you could not see anything from the favourite with Táchira pouring on the pressure. A first spectacular effort from Edgar Pérez was parried away by Pumas goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios. Wilker Ángel had the chance to score the opening goal from the following corner, but his header went over the crossbar. 

An extremely happy and bouncy dog was the reason for a little stoppage that seemed to help Pumas collect themselves. They finally arrived in the game offensively, yet should have been down to 10 men quickly. Alejandro Castro's foot landed in the region where it hurts the opponent the most, but remained on the field without even a yellow card. 

Pumas' top scorer Ismael Sosa (5 goals in the competition already) had the first better opportunity then, but his shot from distance flew over the bar as well. Fidel Martínez' attempt from a bad angle was saved comfortably by young Venezuelan goalkeeper José Contreras. The match was a relatively even one now and went to the break tied at zero. 

Deportivo Táchira might have felt a little unlucky, considering they had the bigger opportunities early on and could not convert them. They did not wait long to do so in the second half. After just 50 minutes, a cross from the far left by Carlos Cermeño was met by Yuber Mosquera's lovely left-footed touch and landed in the back of the net. The surprise was on with a Venezuelan 1-0 lead!

Pumas, quite obviously, tried to do more offensively, but struggled to produce any real goalscoring opportunities against the concentrated Táchira backline. Instead it was José Miguel Reyes who should have doubled the lead. He stood wide open in front of the goal and made a complete mess of a perfect low cross. 

After 69 minutes, Pumas lost their 11th man they should have lost way earlier. Marcelo Alatorre could not stop the counter in fair fashion and brought down Pérez for his second yellow card. Things would not get easier for the Mexicans this way. The game ended without any further significant chances and the surprise win for Venezuela's campeon.

One needs to conclude that Táchira's home strength is absolutely impressive. All four games being played in Venezuela were won by Carlos Maldonado's team, including against these same Pumas in the group stages. On the other side, Pumas has every chance to turn the tie around at home as well. In each of their three home games, they scored 4 goals. Táchira will need an outstanding effort in Mexico to stand a chance of advancing to the quarterfinals.


Post a Comment