When the InterLiga calendar came out, I was excited that Pumas UNAM would finally be a part of the tournament. Since I began covering the tournament in 2005, Pumas hasn't been a part of the field because of their league results, both good and bad.
Now, though, they may again evade InterLiga once again. Pumas destroyed Santos by 3-0 on Thursday in the first leg of their semifinal series. Pumas need only to avoid a three-goal loss to advance to the finals, where they'd face the Chivas-Atlante survivor.
Pumas upset Toluca in the quarterfinals with a win-at-home-tie-on-the-road formula that they'll try to follow up with on Sunday in Torreon. Pumas, though, wasn't content with settling for just a win. They wanted to take care of business at home, which they did.
All season long, Pumas hasn't been one of the flashier clubs. They certainly weren't as flashy as Santos or Toluca but now they are poised to return to the final for the first time since Hugo Sanchez guided Pumas to consecutive league titles in 2004.
Pumas, incidentally, would qualify for the CONCACAF Champions Cup by winning the Mexican league and thus would be ineligible to participate in Copa Libertadores, for which InterLiga serves as a qualifying tournament. No Libertadores, no InterLiga. Nimodo.