By DANIEL PRICE
UNAM Pumas’ remarkable renaissance continued on Saturday evening as they defeated Club Leon, 2-1, in the Estadio Leon. Martin Bravo once again proved to be Pumas main threat, scoring both the visitor’s goals and taking the man of the match award in the process.
Pumas drew first blood in the opening 10 minutes. Luis Fuentes won a scrappy battle for the ball on the edge of Leon’s penalty area, before managed to smuggle the ball through to Bravo, who finished well to the goalkeeper’s left.
It only took Leon 15 minutes to equalize, however, as Mauro Boselli won a header in the opposition’s six-yard box, which he cushioned back into the path of Luis Montes, who subsequently smashed an unstoppable volley past Pumas goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios.
Leon’s equalizer gave the home crowd hope of a positive result, but Bravo ended those hopes by scoring his second goal courtesy of a beautiful individual effort. He picked up the ball near midfield before dribbling past several players and firing home from the top of the box.
Pumas, who not so long ago were in absolute turmoil, now find themselves in fourth place with 9 points from their last three games. Leon kick off their Copa Libertadores campaign against Brazil’s Flamengo on Wednesday, quickly needing to find the kind of ruthless form they showed in 2013 to prevent the season from becoming an embarrassing failure.
Here is a closer look at more action from Round 6 of the Liga MX Clausura:
CLUB AMERICA HUMBLED BY PACHUCA DEBUTANT
It is no secret that, despite a good record to start the Clausura, Club America have not been playing particularly well in the 2014 Clausura. They were poor in both of their previous games against the two relegation candidates, Atlante and Atlas, and it could be argued that a defeat has been coming for some time.
Nevertheless, a last-minute home defeat is not easy to swallow, and the fans of Las Aguilas will hope the game serves as a wake-up call to the players, who cannot afford to become complacent if they have aspirations of a second title in three seasons.
Pachuca’s 18-year-old Hirving Lozano was the debutant hero, scoring an 89th minute winner after collecting the ball in his own half, driving at America’s defense and wrong-footing America’s goalkeeper Munoz with a neat finish.
Pachuca deserve credit for their form, as the win takes them fifth with three wins and a draw from their first six games.
CLUB TIJUANA COME FROM BEHIND TO WIN AGAIN
Club Tijuana survived a scare against Monterrey, scoring twice in the final fifteen minutes to take home all three points.
The Rayados had led through an excellent 66th minute Cesar Delgado strike, but just ten minutes later, the Xolos were level. Cristian Pellerano won the header from a corner, and the ball fell to the feet of Dario Benedetto who couldn’t miss from a yard out.
Both sides had further chances, but just four minutes from time, Pellerano turned from provider to scorer, heading home from close range to send the home support wild and leave Monterrey dejected.
The result was cruel on Monterrey, who have still only managed one win in 2014. They host Leon next weekend while Xolos travel to Santos Laguna.
BEST OF THE REST
Cruz Azul maintained their dominance at the top of the table with a 4-1 win in Cancun against Atlante. TIgres and Santos drew, 1-1, in Monterrey. Chivas de Guadalajara returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory at Puebla.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Martin Bravo – Pumas UNAM: For the second time in three weeks Martin Bravo scored a brace to give Pumas all three points. He is now the leading scorer in the Liga MX, with six goals in six games.
Here’s a look at the full results from Clausura Round 6 in Liga MX:
Club Tijuana 2, Monterrey 1
Club America 0, Pachuca 1
Tigres UANL 1, Santos Laguna 1
Club Leon 1, Pumas 2
Atlas 1, Morelia 1
Puebla 0, Chivas de Guadalajara 1
Toluca 2, Chiapas 0
Queretaro 2, Veracruz 0
Atlante 1, Cruz Azul 4