It took four tries for Pumas UNAM to win their first game in the Clausura 2013 of La Liga MX. The universitarios defeated Toluca FC 1-0 at the Nemesio Diez stadium in Toluca, Mexico ending the red devils' undefeated streak.
Javier Cortes pushed through and recovered a loose ball to bury it in the net for the 1-0 in the last minute of the first half to give Pumas the sorely needed victory.
“We’re working hard as always, very humble,” Efrain Velarde said after the game. “We knew we had to do a bit more to get the result and we got it today.”
Pumas hit the field with a team full of youth players with Argentine Martin Romagnoli as the senior man leading the squad. The universitarios and red devils had several runs on goal with the action being a back-and-forth game.
Carlos Esquivel gave the first warning shot for Toluca when he fired a ball that went over the crossbar. The chorizeros suffered a loss when Luis Tejada was taken off the field in the 26th. The Panamanian limped off the pitch and was replaced by Flavio Santos.
The visiting squad began to control the ball as time moved forward. Romagnoli had a shot that goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera had to punch away as the Pumas attack increased. Cortes was also a very active chasing after loose balls and taking shots on the red devils’ net.
With a minute left in regulation in the first half Cortes put UNAM on the board. He recovered a loose ball inches outside the area and battled three defenders for control driving the ball into the area. He hit the ball with his toes and sent it past Talavera to give Pumas the 1-0 before the break.
“It’s what the team is known for, to be on our opponent, to keep the intensity up, I think we recovered that during the game,” Cortes said. “We’ve worked hard to get there.”
The second half was also fast paced with attack runs coming from both sides. Paraguayan Edgar Benitez was able to get a few shots on target for Toluca but with no success.
Pumas Coach Antonio Servin bet on defending the goal. They reduced their attack, defending their area not allowing the red devils to get close to Alejandro Palacios’ net. With 10 minutes left in the game, Pumas completely fell back to defend the lead leaving Robin Ramirez as the pointer waiting for the counterstrike pass. This allowed Toluca to close the spaces and push to get the goal they needed to salvage a draw. However, that came to an end when in the 86th Edgar Dueñas was sent off for hitting Cortes without the ball.
The universitarios held their line with the one-man advantage to win their first game of the season. Pumas will host Santos in week 5, Toluca travels to Pachuca.