The start of the Apertura 2018 season was marred by fan conflicts prior to kickoff, as visiting Pumas UNAM fans encountered projectiles when they arrived at the Estadio Luis Pirata Fuente. Thirty-two people were detained, and Liga MX has roundly denounced the incident.
Veracruz’s night didn’t improve from there as they were handed a 0-2 home defeat by Pumas UNAM, who looked the better team throughout the 90 minutes.
The universitarios had the first chance of the game though Felipe Mora, but his shot was blocked by José Rivas. Veracruz tried their luck soon afterward with a shot by Carlos Esquivel from outside the box, but his attempt was just wide.
After that, Pumas began to control the game. Good combination play between Mora and Víctor Malcorra led to an opportunity that forced a save out of Melitón Hernández. Then, Carlos González had a shot from distance that would have been a goal of the week contender, only to be denied by the crossbar.
The breakthrough finally came for Pumas in the 36th minute from a set piece. Mora met the corner kick with a header that beat Hernández to make it 0-1 for the visitors.
Then, just before halftime, Carlos González was fouled in the box and Pumas was given the chance to double their lead from the spot. Pablo Barrera stepped up to take the penalty kick, and he converted it to make it 0-2 just before halftime.
Veracruz tried to get back into the game in the second half through quick counterattacks, but they were unable to trouble Alfredo Saldívar’s goal. In the end, Pumas was easily able to hold on to their lead and pick up the first points of the Apertura season.
With the 0-2 victory, Pumas reach three points while Veracruz still has zero.
Veracruz: Édgar Melitón Hernández, Guido Milán, Jefferson Murillo, José Rivas, Jesús Paganoni, Luis Martínez, Carlos Esquivel (Rodrigo Noya 56′), Joe Abrigo (Cristian Menéndez 45′), Adrián Luna, Diego Chávez, Bryan Carrasco (Ronaldo Prieto 69′).
Pumas: Alfredo Saldívar, Alan Mozo, Alejandro Arribas, Luis Quintana, Alan Mendoza, Kevin Escama, Víctor Malcorra, Martín Rodríguez (Andrés Iniestra 68′), Pablo Barrera (David Cabrera 89′), Felipe Mora (Matías Alustiza 75′), Carlos González.