Victories for Millonarios and Itagui saw them join Junior at the top of the table with the three teams all but assured of their places in the play-offs.
Millonarios came out on top against America in a match that was marred by a horrific injury to Millonarios midfielder Jose Luis Tancredi. The Uruguayan broke his tibia and fibia after America’s Andres Cadavid clattered into him with a sliding tackle from behind. The foul earned Cadavid a second yellow card and an early shower while Tancredi is facing up to six months on the sidelines.
America started brightly and dominated the first half hour. However, it was Millonarios who broke the deadlock when Erick Moreno stole in behind the defender smash home a right-wing cross. The goal knocked the fight out of the “Red Devils,” and their play was becoming increasingly desperate by the time a 76th minute goal put the game out of reach.
America will now have to fight for their place in the top division against a League B team in the end of year promotion tournament.
Itagui joined Millonarios at the top after edging out Pereira in a close match. A Lionard Pajoy goal in the 56th minute was enough to secure victory for the “Golden Eagles” and to ensure Itagui will not have to compete in the promotion tournament.
The top three now have 27 points and are six points clear of the teams competing for 8th spot with two games remaining. Junior had the opportunity to make their qualification a certainty but suffered a 3-0 defeat to Chico.
Twice, Junior goalkeeper Carlos Rodriguez couldn’t hold on to efforts on goal and twice Chico players reacted quickest, first Johnny Ramirez in the 9th minute, then Jose Correa in the 15th minute. Any hopes of a comeback were put to rest by a 40th minute free kick, floated over the wall and into the top corner by Ramirez. The victory moved Chico up to fifth, two points behind the leaders and level with fourth placed Envigado.
Envigado also moved a step closer to qualifying with a win over Tolima. Although they fell behind to a Diego Aroldo Cabrera goal on the stroke of half-time, two goals in ten minutes at the start of the second half earned Envigado a crucial three points.
Quindio sit in sixth after beating Nacional 2-1. Quindio took the lead after 31 minutes when, with the Nacional defense guilty of ball-watching, Jhon Edwar Valoy headed home. They doubled the lead just 3 minutes later when Nacional conceded a soft penalty, which was slotted home by Hamilton Cuesta. Nacional were never out of the game and clawed back a goal in the 73rd minute but they could not find an equalizer.
Currently occupying the last two play-off places are Once Caldas, who demolished second from bottom Cucuta 5-0, and Cali who played out a dull 0-0 draw with ninth placed Santa Fe.
In other matches, Medellin kept their slim hopes of qualification alive with a battling 3-2 victory over Huila, as did Cartagena, who won 2-0 win against La Equidad.