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Yet another week and yet another instance of sportsbooks marking Puebla as the underdogs in a fixture. It has been a story to savor so far this season when it comes to Puebla – at the helm is a 37-year-old manager, Nicolas Larcamon, and in his team a mixture of youth and experience that might not be so much by design as it is them having no real choice; by roster market value, they are the least valuable side in the Liga MX. But what looked like it was a sprightly start to a season with good form has quickly become hard to ignore. Once again, Puebla will go into the Liga MX weekend on top of the standings, still unbeaten. And still, somehow, offering long-ish odds that do not reflect how well they’re doing.
They take on Guadalajara next, a team that had only just put together a two-game unbeaten streak before going on to lose two in a row. They’ll be looking to stop that barrage, at home against the league leaders.
Guadalajara seemed to have almost done it. Having gone 1-0 down as early as in the 18th minute, they took control of the game, for the most part without any tangible success. Playing away against Leon is one of the harder matches in this league, and Guadalajara did a commendable job in sewing up the midfield with 57 percent of the possession, and an 83 percent passing accuracy that tends to be on the higher end in this league.
From their persistence came opportunities in offense, as they took 13 attempts at goal with an impressive conversion rate of nearly 50 percent of those attempts being on target. It all added up to a solitary goal, in the 81st minute through Cristian Calderon. Only a little more of the same was required for Guadalajara to hold onto the point or push for more, but they were brutally pulled back down through an Osvaldo Rodriguez goal in the 94th minute to make it two consecutive losses.
Guadalajara now have 7 points from 6 games, and are one point behind Leon, who took bragging rights and 8th place from them. They’re among the six teams who’ve put up double-figures in the league so far, with 10 goals scored, but are among the nine teams who make up the bottom half for goals conceded, with 9 against their name.
We must pick up on the thread of team values once again to put Puebla’s last match into context. It was against Monterrey, who sit on the other extreme in this league as the most valuable team by transfer value and who had just flown back from the Club World Cup, where they went as the defending CONCACAF champions.
Before this match too, Puebla were listed as underdogs, and perhaps there was some merit in that given the teams’ reputational gaps. But Puebla put all that to rest as soon as they took the ground, as they’ve been doing consistently in the Clausura season. A Diego de Buen goal in the 3rd minute put them in the lead, but one that can get cagey in soccer sometimes – it is infinitely harder to maintain an early lead than one that comes later in the game. It got even cagier for them, as they lost Gustavo Ferrareis to a red card in the 53rd minute, while Monterrey were employing the full force of a talented offense to break down the doors.
Monterrey ended up turning their 62 percent possession into a staggering 24 attempts on goal. Only 5 of those were on target, but despite having played 37 minutes with an extra man on the field, they could not dent the Puebla fairytale. That was Puebla’s 4th win of the season and 6th straight unbeaten game, while also being their 3rd clean sheet, and a result that gave them a one-point cushion at the top of the standings against Pachuca.
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|Guadalajara vs Puebla Information
|Guadalajara vs Puebla
Estadio Akron Zapopan, Mexico
|Sunday, 27 February 2022, 2 AM EST
|How to watch
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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