Pumas' Marcelo Alatorre (left) looks to make a pass against visiting Tigres in a Liga MX Apertura match on October 23, 2016, in Mexico City. (Photo: Straffon Images)
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – After a 3-1 loss to visiting Tigres on Sunday, Pumas (6W-2D-6L, 20 points) fell a point off the 2016 Liga MX Apertura pace and currently occupies ninth place, with three other sides lurking three points or fewer behind.
Despite the setback, which came just three days after UNAM posted an 8-1 victory over DirecTV W Connection to secure a berth in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, head coach Juan Francisco Palencia believes that his team will rebound.
“The boys are strong, just like the coaching staff and the entire Pumas community,” said Palencia. “The defeat is not going to weigh us down, not at all, because we are a mentally capable team. I have no doubt that we are going to move ahead.”
Pumas lost for the second straight time in domestic play, conceding two goals following defender Marcelo Alatorre’s 20th-minute ejection.
While Palencia acknowledged that playing with 10 men for 70 minutes had a negative impact, he also noted that mistakes are part of football and an immediate focus must be placed on Friday’s encounter at 17th-place Veracruz.
“Playing a man down against Tigres is something that’s very hard, but we showed a lot of character and we had our chances,” the 43-year-old former Mexico international finished. “What (Alatorre) did cost us. We did not compete under even circumstances, but here everyone wins together and loses together. He made a mistake just like many times we made a mistake in marking or in trying to score.
“We are already thinking about Veracruz. It doesn’t matter if we are away. We have to win the matches that remain.”
Pumas is 0W-2D-5L in seven Apertura road outings.