The 10th round of the Liga Postobon kicks off this weekend, but the news for fans is that the Colombia cup semifinals are now set.
Of the 32 teams that started off, only four are now left, heading into the October 9th start of the Cup Semifinals.
Nacional vs. Alianza Petrolera
Nacional continued what has been an impecable season last week with a 2-0 over crosstown rivals Independiente Medellin on Saturday in the local ‘clasico’, and another 1-0 win over Quindio, in the second leg of the Cup Quarterfinals.
So far this season, Nacional has yet to lose a game in Colombian competition. In the Cup, the ‘Verde’ boast a perfect 4-0 record, which goes nicely with a growing six-point lead in the Liga.
On Saturday, Nacional have a tough matchup at home with Tolima. But the defending league-champions will be confident going into Antasio Girardot Stadium, where they haven’t dropped points since the second week of the season.
Alianza Petrolea has been a more surprising story this season.
The recently promoted Alianza side finds itself in the middle of the table in the Primera, with some good results to its name against the teams directly ahead of it.
The real surprise has been in the Cup, though, where Alianza has snuck through with some dramatic finishes.
The ‘Oil-dealers’ beat last year’s league runner-up Santa Fe on penalties in the first round of Cup play, and followed that up with a late goal in the second leg against Tolima, sending the series to penalties, where the black-and-gold again came out on top.
After getting shelled by Equidad in Bogota, Alianza return to Barrancabermeja for an important matchup against Patriotas. Manager Guillermo Berrio has said he wants his team to replicate its tough Cup play in the league, where it is sitting four points back from Patriotas.
Inconsistent results have been a problem for a side just getting accustomed to top-flight game speed, but a win against Patriotas would shoot Alianza into the top half of the tables in its first season in the Primera.
Cartagena vs. Millonarios
Some fans prefer the Cup to the Liga, specifically because it gives teams like Cartagena the chance to make improbable runs like the one it is currently on.
For most of its history, Real Cartagena has played in the Second Division. But because of the Cup format, it still gets a chance to show its worth against the top flight.
After beating fellow Second Division Bucaramanga in the first round, Cartagena won both legs against a strong Deportivo Cali side, currently fourth-place in the Primera.
At first place in the Segunda, Cartagena is making a run for a return to elite Colombian soccer. And in the Colombian Cup, it gets a chance to show it’s already ready to compete with the best.
To go any further, however, Cartagena will have to get through a Millonarios side currently finding its best form of the season.
It took penalties for the giants of Bogota soccer to get past a Second Division Fortaleza side in the last round of the Cup, but in the Liga, Millonarios is riding a six-game unbeaten streak into its second Bogota clasico in a row against Santa Fe.
With one point separating the two teams, at second and third place respectively, the weekend’s most important matchup is likely to be a conservative one.
Last week’s 0-0 draw was a disappointingly strategic stalemate. But the presence of its “home” fans in the El Campin stadium could give Millonarios the impulse it needs to attack, and put some space between itself and its crosstown nemesis.