Nov 30, 2007

3-0! Pumas Shock Top Seed Santos In Liguilla Semifinal

Mexico City's U.N.A.M. Pumas scored a stunning upset over top-seeded Santos Laguna, winning the first leg of the Liguilla semifinals 3-0 at a raucous Estadio Olimpico Universitario last night. Pumas' impressive victory was shocking for its scale: Santos had previously lost only once in 19 Apertura season games and was never shut out. Pumas, by contrast squeaked into the liguilla with the second-worst record of the 12 playoff teams and upset second-seeded Toluca in the first round.

But Pumas were downright dominant for stretches of last night's game and easily could have scored four or five goals. Twenty-two year old Argentine Ignacio Scocco opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a screaming drive from 30 yards. Hector Moreno, a 19-year old defenseman (I told you to watch these Pumas cubs!) doubled up in the 51st minute and Scocco completed his brace with a free header three minutes later. Scocco was completely unmarked in the box with Santos still stunned from Moreno's goal.

The teams meet again at Santos' Estadio Corona on Sunday. If I'm not mistaken, Santos--by virtue of being the higher seed--win the tie-breaker, meaning they only need to score three goals, a feat they managed in five of their nine home games during the Apertura. That's assuming, of course, that Pumas score none. And Ricardo Ferretti's young team is obviously peaking in confidence right about now. I for one will be surprised if Santos pull it off. But I've been wrong before...

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