Cruz Azul dispatched 10-man Pumas UNAM 2-1 to solidify their place in the playoff standings. The result keeps La Máquina unbeaten in eight, while the universitarios have now lost two of their last three and are eliminated from playoff contention.
Cruz Azul had the better of the early opportunities, but they struggled to convert them. Orbelín Pineda in particular had two clear chances that he was unable to finish off as the score remained stubbornly 0-0. Then, the visitors thought they had taken the lead when Carlos González beat Jesús Corona, but VAR review disallowed the goal for offside.
The evening got worse for Pumas in the 38th minute, when Kevin Escamilla was sent off after a studs-up tackle on Rafael Baca, leaving the visitors to see out the rest of the game with just 10 players.
It didn’t take long after that for Cruz Azul to take the lead. In the 42nd minute, Milton Caraglio was brought down in the box to give the hosts a penalty kick. Caraglio himself stepped up to take it, and he converted it to make it 1-0 for La Máquina.
Cruz Azul added a second shortly after the second half began, with Caraglio heading home a cross from Yoshimar Yotún to make it 2-0.
The visitors were able to reduce the deficit in the 64th minute, however, after Pablo Aguilar fouled Víctor Malcorra in the box to give Pumas a penalty kick. Pablo Barrera took it and converted it to make it 2-1.
Pumas then appeared to have equalized when Pablo Mozo put the ball in the back of the net, but once again VAR intervened to disallow the goal for an offside in the build-up.
Cruz Azul nearly shot themselves in the foot in the waning moments, when Pablo Aguilar came within inches of scoring an own-goal after his wayward header hit the woodwork. But the ball stayed out and Cruz Azul was able to hold on to the lead.
With the 2-1 win, Cruz Azul reaches 26 points while Pumas still have 16,