With one league game to go, the last four play-off spots will be fought over by ten teams as the Liga Postobon heads for a tight finish.
In Wednesday’s matches Junior, Envigado, Itagui and Millonarios confirmed their progress to the next stage. Junior cemented their place at the top of the table with a comfortable 2-0 win over Cali thanks to two goals from Luis Ruiz while Envigado clinched a 1-0 victory over Quindio with a Neider Morantes penalty.
Millonarios qualified despite losing to fierce rivals Santa Fe, who kept their play-off dreams alive with a dramatic last gasp goal by goalkeeper Camilo Vargas. With just seconds to go, Vargas stormed into the area to meet an Omar Perez corner with a thunderous header. The result leaves Santa Fe in 7th place on 25 points and just needing a victory against Cartagena to clinch a place in the last eight. Cartagena’s outside chance of making the cut faded on Wednesday when they went down 2-1 to America.
Itagui are also play-off certs even though they lost to Once Caldas. The Manizales based Caldas struck in the 56th minute when the unmarked Mario Gonzalez put away a left wing cross from close range. Jefferson Cuero made it two 13 minutes later when a clever turn and pass from Jorge Nuñez found Cuero at the far post. The win put Caldas in joint fifth place with Chico on 26 points. With only Cali from the chasing pack able to catch them and with a strong goal difference, Caldas are all but certain to qualify.
Chico missed the opportunity to claim a place in the last eight on Wednesday when they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Huila. They took an early lead when Charles Monsalvo latched onto a long ball and slotted home. However, the lead only lasted for half an hour after a fine save from Chico goalkeeper Cristian Bonilla only succeeded in deflecting the ball into the path of Milton Rodriguez. Despite the setback Chico will be feeling confident of qualifying as they meet bottom placed Cucuta and have a healthy goal difference advantage over Cali.
Currently occupying the last play-off position is Quindio who are just one point clear of Cali, who play Huila on Sunday, and two points clear of the four teams below. They too will be feeling confident as they play strugglers La Equidad at home. Nacional, Medellin, Tolima and America all retain an outside chance of qualifying and will be hoping either Quindio or Santa Fe slip up, while Pereira have a mathematical chance of making it.
Nacional’s disappointing season continued on Wednesday as they twice contrived to throw away the lead, giving away a sloppy penalty and failing to defend crosses costing them dear for the second match running. Their local rivals Medellin will be happy to still be in with a chance after a mostly dismal season that could still be salvaged after a recent run of good form. On Wednesday, they beat Cucuta 2-1 thanks to a well-taken goal by Jaime Castrillon and a Luis Mosquera penalty. Both teams face difficult last fixtures with Nacional playing Itagui while Medellin take on Once Caldas.
The other two teams with any real hope of qualifying, America and Tolima will meet each other on Sunday. Tolima missed a golden opportunity to move into the top 8 earlier in the week but could only draw 1-1 with lowly La Equidad. One place below on 21 points, Pereira will be hoping for a big win against Envigado and a mass failure of the teams around them. Of the chasing teams, only Nacional has a positive goal difference, although with Quindio on -3 and Santa Fe on +2 this doesn’t rule out the other teams.
Sunday November 27
3:30 pm Itagüi VS Nacional
3:30 pm Quindio VS Equidad
3:30 pm R.Cartagena VS Santa Fe
3:30 pm Cali VS Huila
3:30 pm Millonarios VS Junior
3:30 pm Chico VS Cucuta
3:30 pm Medellin VS O. Caldas
3:30 pm Pereira VS Envigado
3:30 pm Tolima VS America