Millonarios have one foot in the Liga Postobon final after a three goal blitz left table topping Junior reeling in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals.
Striker Erik Moreno opened the scoring for Millonarios after 15 minutes when he jinked past his marker into space and fired home a low shot from the edge of the area. Millonarios continued to dominate the first half and subjected the Junior goal to a wave of attacks. However, the teams went in at half-time with just the one goal separating them and Junior clinging on.
After the break Junior came out determined to haul themselves back into the game. Millonarios however, held firm in defense and were sharp on the break. After 64 minutes, Moreno struck again, chesting down a cross from the right before wrong footing the keeper by finishing low to the left.
The knock-out blow for Junior came just seven minutes later. Moreno was again involved, winning a free kick after Junior defender John Valencia brought him down with a crunching tackle from behind right on the edge of the box. Midfielder Mayer Andres Candelo stepped up and sent the ball flying into the top left hand corner.
Despite having home advantage in the second leg on Wednesday, Junior now require a minor miracle to keep their championship dreams alive.
In the second semi-final, two goals either side of half-time saw Once Caldas and Santa Fe draw in a game dominated by solid defending. Caldas started brighter and took the lead after 41 minutes when midfielder Jorge Nuñez whipped in a teasing cross with the outside of his boot, which was met by a flying header from Jose Moreno.
Five minutes after the start of the second half, Argentinian striker Omar Perez came to the rescue for Santa Fe for the second match running. It was Perez’s free kick that put “The Red Express” into the semis against Itagui. This time Perez found space at the back post and headed home from a right wing cross.
After the equalizer both teams opened up in search of a winner but neither could find a way through. The tie is now finely balanced for Wednesday’s second leg, with Santa Fe the slight favorites as they enjoy home advantage.