Pumas pursues Liga MX Apertura playoffs

Pumas' Abraham Gonzalez (pictured) has scored four goals in 15 2016 Liga MX Apertura games. (Photo: Carlos Ramirez/Straffon Images)

VERACRUZ, Mexico – Pumas joined the top eight sides in the 2016 Liga MX Apertura standings thanks to Friday’s impressive 4-1 win at Veracruz

If the season was to end today, sixth-place UNAM (7W-2D-6L, 23 points) would have a spot in the post-season, leading current ninth-place occupant Toluca (5-6-4, 21) by two points with two games left to play.

Midfielder Abraham Gonzalez netted twice against the Tiburones Rojos in a performance that earned the praise of Pumas head coach Juan Francisco Palencia, who set an objective of ending the regular season with three straight wins.

“We had three to win,” the 43-year-old said. “It was earned as a reward for the players and their footballing capability.”

Palencia diffused the notion that the three-goal triumph was a product of luck or errors committed by Veracruz. Rather, he insisted the offensive outburst was the result of a desire to win.

“Lopsided scores are a consequence of certain errors,” noted the former Mexico international. “We saw a match to win. We haven’t had any fortune, but yes we played to win and the reward came.”

Pumas – a 206/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist -- will complete its schedule by hosting Morelia on Sunday and then visiting Puebla on November 20. Palencia knows that his side cannot rest the playoff berth is secured.

“It has happened to us that we played well, but we did not win the matches,” he finished. “There are times you play well and you deserve to win. We are happy, calm, but not satisfied. We have to improve in order to fight for the playoffs.”