After finishing first in the regular season, all eyes were on Medellin to do well at Pereira. Instead, it was the home side to leave a better impression and things would likely have ended differently if it wasn’t for a number of fine saves from Medellin keeper Aldo Bobadilla.
Against the run of play, it was Medellin to take the lead through Jackson Martinez after a defensive mistake in the 41st minute.
Pereira soon reacted however, as a failed off-side trap left no less than four home players in front of Bobadilla. John Lozano made no mistake and struck home for 1-1.
The second half had a bad start for the visiting side as Jackson Martinez picked up a red card in the 52nd minute and misses his team’s second group game as result.
Throughout the half, Pereira came closer and closer to a winning goal but never managed to get a shot past the impressive Bobadilla. Instead, it was Juan Ortiz to hand Medellin the victory with a 93rd-minute strike.
The group phase kicked off earlier on Saturday with the coastal derby between Junior and Cartagena in Barranquilla.
After a goalless first half, the match was dominated by penalties in the second. Teofilo Gutierrez converted two spot kicks, one in the 58th and one in the 83rd minute to hand his side a 2-0 win.
Cartagena, for whom Mauricio Arquez was sent off in the 74th minute, had a chance to score back in added time but Juan Garcia directed a spot kick onto the post.