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Dramatic finish in Puebla

Chiapas turned the game around in Puebla.
Chiapas turned the game around in Puebla.

It was a game of contrasts in Puebla, Mexico on Sunday when the Southern Mexican squad of Chiapas FC took on Puebla FC at the Cuauhtémoc Stadium in week 4 action of La Liga MX. With three draws, La Franja was looking to win their first game of the Clausura 2014 and what perfect way to accomplish this than at home against a Jaguares team that had only a draw this season.

Perhaps the home side felt overconfident allowing the Jaguares to show their claws throughout the game. While it was not easy for the visiting squad to take the game, their effort and persistence paid off in the end.

The first 45 minutes of the game had a lot of contrasts. The scoreboard showed a 2-0 lead in favor of the camoteros. However, what happened on the pitch was totally different. The first half appeared more as a defensive task for Puebla since they took the early lead. That made the game look like it was under Chiapas’ control.

Saul Villalobos surprised the visiting team defense when he plowed through several players to get within firing distance. Without thinking about it the 22 year-old fired from outside the area. Goalkeeper Alfredo Frausto Mendoza dove, but the ball had too much velocity and buried itself in the net to give Puebla the 1-0.

At this point La Franja shifted priorities and the game became defensive for the home side. U.S. international Michael Orozco had several interventions in the area as Chiapas moved their pieces forward in an attempt to close the gap. The other U.S. international, DaMarcus Beasley was also active on the pitch using his speed to recover the ball in dangerous areas.

When Chiapas played better, an error from their defense cost them the second goal. A play that initiated with Puebla goalkeeper Jorge Villalpando on a clearance ended up in the net. Defender Luis Robles headed the ball back to his keeper. However, Mendoza was too close to Robles and too far off his line. The ball flew over the keeper and into his own net to give La Franja the 2-0 minutes before the half.

Chiapas turned the game around in the 57th minute. Mauricio Romero, who entered the game at the break, received a pass back from Argentine Lucas Viatri. Romero was already running in and on first touch hammered ball past the keeper for the 2-1.

Less than one minute later, on the kick off Chiapas won the ball and ran it back to the Puebla defense. Viatri once more set up the play sending it to Luis Alfonso Rodriguez who approached from the far side of the area. He shot. Villalpando dove, hit the ball, but it had too much force and ended in the net to close the gap 2-2.

Jaguares continued to control the ball in the minutes that followed. Puebla was still content with the draw and allowed the visiting squad to take the initiative. The southern Mexico squad did not waste the chances that the camoteros were allowing them. It would be a matter of time before the felinos’ efforts would pay off.

It looked like the game would end with the 2-2 draw when Martin Zuñiga, who entered the game as a substitution in the 77th minute, headed the ball past the keeper for the 3-2. Pablo Gabas took the ball down the line in compensation time and centered to Zuñiga who beat his marker and headed the ball past Mendoza, who dove but could do nothing to stop the ball from entering his net. After dominating the game for most of the 90 minutes, Chiapas took the game earning an important three points.

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