Nacional and Santa Fe move into the play-off places as Junior extend their lead at the top with just three games remaining in the first stage of the Ligapostobon.
Champions Nacional turned around their recent slump in form with a 3-2 victory at home to Tolima that highlighted both their attacking threat and their continuing defensive frailties. The visitors took a first minute lead when Nacional failed to clear allowing Julian Hurtado to poach a goal from close range.
Dorlan Pabon leveled for Nacional just before half-time, finishing off some one-touch soccer on the edge of the area with a superbly struck volley. Just after half-time, Pabon struck again, racing past the Tolima defense before lashing a ferocious long range effort past the keeper. Carlos Renteria made it three, 15 minutes later with a headed goal from close range. However, just one minute later another defensive lapse allowed Wilmer Parra Cadena to steal in at the back post and tap home, setting up a nervous finish for Nacional.
Nacional will now travel to Quindio, who are level on points but three places behind after losing 3-0 to relegated Pereira.
Santa Fe occupy the last play-off place after a 2-0 victory over Chico. Two quick goals on the stroke of half-time were enough to secure victory for the “Red Express,” the first a firm header into the top corner by German Centurion, the second coming just four minutes later when Jonathan Copete stretched to meet a cross at the far post.
Santa Fe will now face Cali, whose victory over local rivals America saw them move up to sixth, one point ahead of the play-off chasing throng. A 23rd minute goal by Luis Calderon was enough to steal the points in the Cali “clasico.” The result leaves America languishing in 13th place and in desperate need of a victory against Millonarios this weekend to keep alive their hopes for a last eight place.
Millonarios continued their run of good form since their cup victory to come from behind to secure a 2-1 win against La Equidad. The win leaves them in third place, level on points with Itagui who could only draw 1-1 with Cucuta. Itagui will now take on Pereira, who will still be hoping for a last eight finish despite already being relegated after their dreadful campaign in this year’s opening tournament. Both teams are now three points behind league leaders Junior, who came out on top in a seven goal thriller against Medellin earlier this week.
In other matches Envigado kept pace with the leaders thanks to a 2-0 win over Real Cartagena, while Huila beat Once Caldas 1-0. In this weekend’s fixtures, Envigado will travel to Tolima, while Cartagena meet La Equidad, Hulia take on Medellin and Caldas play Cucuta.
Saturday November 5th:
3:30 PM Itagüi VS Pereira
3:30 PM O. Caldas VS Cucuta
6:20 PM Millonarios VS América
8:00 PM R.Cartagena VS Equidad
8:00 PM Medellín VS Huila
Sunday 20th November:
3:30 PM Tolima VS Envigado
3:30 PM Cali VS Santa Fe
5:30 PM QuindioVS Nacional
5:30 PM Chicó VS Junior