Junior got off to the perfect start in the Liga Postobon semi-final stage as they beat 10-man Millonarios 2-1 in Barranquilla on Sunday.
A strike from Teo Gutierrez and a Lewis Ochoa own goal handed the hosts the three points while Millonarios grabbed a consolation from their goalkeeper Luis Delgado.
Junior broke the deadlock on 13 minutes when Ochoa despairingly put the ball into his own net from a cross before Millonarios defender Pedro Franco was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Gutierrez made the one-man advantage count as he doubled Junior’s lead 20 minutes from time. There was still time for late drama as Delgado scored in the 90th minute with a deflected free kick to ensure a tense last few minutes.
However the hosts managed to hold on and record what could prove to be a priceless victory.
In the other Group A match Deportes Tolima cruised to a 3-0 victory over Deportivo Pasto to go top.
The hosts dominated throughout and a brace from Paraguayan striker Robin Ramirez and an Andres Torres strike handed them a comfortable victory.
In Group B Atletico Nacional sit top after they took all three points from their trip to La Equidad with an impressive 2-0 victory.
Nacional went into the match as one of the in-form teams in the country and earned their fourth win on the bounce here thanks to goals in either half from Aviles Hurtado and Luis Mosquera.
Nacional’s fierce city rivals didn’t find it as easy in their opening group match and they failed to make home advantage count against a stubborn Itagui side.
Neither side lacked commitment or intensity but the killer touch eluded both sets of players as the game ended 0-0 meaning both lie joint second in the table.