Pumas took an early lead and held on for a 1-0 win over Pachuca in the first leg of the Clausura 2009 final.With a 1-0 win, Pumas took the first leg at home. Pumas instilled their style of play against a Pachuca who seemed to struggle under the very wet conditions. The Felinos also had a good second half and under the leadership of Sergio Bernal and Francisco Palencia were able to keep Pachuca on edge throughout the whole game.
Pumas controlled the entire first half at home. Leandro Augusto was ready to go but Ricardo Ferretti decided not to start him. His mix of players worked, as Pumas did not let Pachuca have any clear options in the half.
It was a real slippery beginning to the first half the rain would not stop pouring and it seemed to affect Pachuca more than Pumas. Pachuca, however, were the first to create danger. Ulises Mendivil had a shot that almost went in just after the third minute. But the savior for Pumas, Dario Veron, was there to kick the ball away only giving up a corner. Pachuca then had three straight corner kicks which were all taken the same and generated nothing for Los Tuzos.
Pumas took over for the rest of the half. There was a free kick which was taken by Ismael Iñiguez which after a series of bounces inside the box bounced off of Miguel Calero’s right post.
Pachuca was not able to get past the Pumas defense. Jose Maria Cardenas seemed to loose every ball down the left flank and Christian Gimenez was also being held in check. It was Gimenez though which gave a bad pass which led to the goal from Pumas. Francisco Palencia picked up the bad pass then gave it to David Toledo, who took a shot which Calero was able to clear. The clearance was received by Dante Lopez who had all the time in the world to control the ball and take a shot. Calero came late and the ball was already in the back of the net. Pumas won 1-0.
Pumas did what they had to in order to keep the score at 1-0 for the rest of the half.
The second half started and the heavens had completely cleared and it seemed to benefit Pachuca who was proposing more. Pumas still held up and were also searching for more goals.
Luis Montes took the place of Cardenas and the game seemed to open up for Pachuca. Pachuca had the first chance of the second half when Gimenez had the courage to shoot from long distance but the ball went well wide. But the first real dangerous play came from Pumas.
Iñiguez was face to face with Calero and shot to Calero's right post. The ball traveled through the ground and past the post but only to go out.
After that Pachuca had two very good chances. The first one coming from Damian Alvarez who positioned himself to shoot to Bernal's far post but the ball went down the middle and Bernal was able to swat the ball out for a corner. Damian Alvarez took the corner and the ball bounced off a player and then on the ground just to go over an open goal.
Pumas almost made it 2-0 in the 84th minute. Ismael Iñiguez riffled a shot from free kick which Calero was able to keep out with a good save. Pumas had equaled the ball possession and were again imposing their game over Pachuca. Pumas were able to hold off Pachuca for the rest of the half ending the game with a 1-0 win.
Pumas are 90 minutes away from being champions and will need to play a solid game again on Sunday in order to be crowned the best of Mexico.
Sylvestre Adame, Goal.com
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