Independiente deny Pumas excellent chance at Copa Libertadores semis

MEXICO CITY -- Pumas have joined Morelia, Xolos, Chiapas and Atlas as Liga MX clubs who were only able to reach the quarterfinal stage of the Copa Libertadores.

After 180 minutes of play that finished with an aggregate score of 3-3, Independiente del Valle defeated Pumas from the penalty spot 5-3.

Independiente will face either Boca Juniors, Atletico Nacional or Sao Paulo in Libertadores semifinals.

Here are three takes after Pumas fell agonizingly short of progression:

1. Pumas waste an excellent chance

Pumas were unable to extend their early 2-0 lead after Independiente saw Luis Ayala get red-carded in the 56th minute.

After picking up two goals in the first 20 minutes of the match, the host's attacking surges decreased as if the team lowered its intensity because of the lead, and the fact that Independiente would play most of the second half down a man.

Luis Quinones and Fidel Martinez were unable to break down Independiente's defense on the wings, while players such as Matias Britos and Ismael Sosa would try to finish most of their plays by themselves. Pumas' teamwork, especially in the second half, was practically nonexistent against this edition's Cinderella Story in the Libertadores.

Independiente executed correctly the only thing that would keep them in the game, and that was to maintain concentration in defence after Junior Sornoza's goal in the 66th minute made the score 2-1. Sornoza's strike made the aggregate score to 3-3, a result that would define the fourth and last semifinal participant via the penalty spot.

Pumas had more than 20 minutes to avoid penalties at Ciudad Universitaria, a place where last December saw Pumas lose to Tigres in penalties in the 2015 Apertura final. Nowadays, penalties provoke more than one headache among Pumas' fans.

The team coached by Guillermo Vazquez Jr. gave the impression of a team that was unable to command a game in which it played a long stretch of it with one extra player.

Independiente's Jose "Tin" Angulo, who scored twice in the first-leg, was able to create worry along Pumas' backline. When he went to the attack, Angulo took his chances and attempted to escape Pumas' defenders with his speed and dribbling techniques.

What Angulo did towards the end of the match was something many Pumas attackers lacked in the last 20 minutes, that little bit of intensity and daring needed to achieve a comfortable win.

Pumas finished its Copa Libertadores participation with five wins and zero losses at home, but because it was unable to score that third goal that would have secured a ticket to the next round.

2. Ismael Sosa's night full of emotions

It only took three minutes for Ismael Sosa to score a brace against the Ecuadorian side. With his two goals, Sosa reached eight goals in the South American tournament and is tied for top-goalscorer with Marco Ruben and Jonathan Calleri.

Both goals showcased the speed and finishing accuracy he owns. His second goal, in the 18th minute, was a hard right-footed shot that was impossible for goalkeeper Librado Azcona to stop.

Perhaps Sosa's stats in the 2016 Clausura were not as dazzling as his 2015 Apertura's stats, where he finished with 10 goals and 3 assists. Nevertheless, Sosa's contributions in the Libertadores have been remarkable; his goals have helped Pumas be among this edition's best offensive teams with 22 goals.

It was unlucky for him to be the only Pumas footballer to miss a penalty in the crucial moment of the night.

In a week in which Liga MX clubs have been given the green light to have up to 10 foreigners in their matchday rosters, Sosa is the type of foreign footballer Mexican clubs should be looking for in the coming months. Yes, his penalty was stopped by Azcona on Tuesday night, but that doesn't take away the impressive Copa Libertadores displays he showed in this edition.

3. Independiente del Valle displayed a lot of heart

Before Independiente del Valle's visit to Mexico City, Pumas boasted of a home record that included four wins and zero losses. Three of those four wins finished with significant scoring margins in favor of Pumas -- 4-1 against Olimpia, 4-1 against Deportivo Tachira and 4-2 against Emelec.

The 58-year-old club's away record in the Libertadores wasn't fantastic coming into the game at Estadio Olimpico Universitario -- two losses, one win and one draw. In front of almost 45,000 Pumas fans, Los Negriazules beat the Mexican club from the penalty spot.

Pablo Repetto's boys demonstrated a lot of heart when everything appeared to be against them, the crowd, the score, and the fact of being down a man for much part of the second half.