Pumas left it for late but the club finally knocked off Puebla in the semifinals to advance to the Clausura 2009 final. Pumas will try and beat Pachuca to win their first title since 2004.Clausura 2009 record: 8 (2 Liguilla)-5 (2) -4, 28 points. Goals scored 23 (6 Liguilla). Goals allowed: 17 (5 Liguilla). Leading scorer: Martin Bravo, 6 goals. Primera Division titles: 5. Last League title: Apertura 2004. Last playoff appearance: Apertura 2008. Went out in the quarter finals to Cruz Azul.
Regular season recap: Pumas came into the Liguilla as one of the best teams in the league. They came in third after defeating Monterrey in the final game of the regular tournament. Pumas lacked a bit in offense during the regular season. They were only able to find the net 23 times. Even Cruz Azul who finished last had more goals scored than Pumas. But Pumas made up for that by having a superb defense. They tied with Tecos having 17 goals allowed which was the fewet in the league.
Quarterfinals: Pumas stumbled in the first leg of the quarterfinal series. They fell 2-0 away to Tecos and all seemed lost for them. It was going to be tough to score on Tecos since they tied for the best defense with Pumas. But Pumas did what they had to. They played an outstanding game and left till the 85th to tie the series at two a piece. The tie went in Pumas’ favor thanks to their better position in the overall standings. Pumas earned their ticket to the semifinal and went on to face Puebla.
Semifinals: Pumas took control of the first leg of the semifinal series. They won 2-1 in Puebla. The Poblanos would not die easily though. Puebla came out firing on all cylinders in the second leg. They scored just after the third minute and had accumulated a two goal lead by the second half. Pumas were 45 minutes away from being eliminated. Puebla seemed to have their bags all ready to go to the final. The clock was winding down and still nothing. But in the 89th minute a savior arose, Dario Veron scored for Pumas and gave them a berth in the final.
Final outlook: The game should be a classic defense vs. offense duel. In this case Pachuca have the offense with a regular-season high 42 goals, while Pumas pose the defense, only allowing 17 to go through during the regular season. Pachuca did defeat Pumas 3-2 back on Valentine's Day. This time though no love will be shown between the two. Pumas need to stand firm in the back and play a counterattack game. Pachuca love to attack and it could lead to their down fall. Pumas also need to make sure they do a great job in both legs they can not lose won and expect to win the other especially against Pachuca. The series is way too tight to predict a champion they will just have to play it out and by Sunday we will know.
Sylvestre Adame, Goal.com
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