This article is courtesy of COLO FUTBOL
SUNDAY 14TH JULY – APERTURA FINAL – FIRST LEG
NACIONAL 0-0 SANTA FE
A tremendous performance from Nacional’s fan favourite Steffan Medina was not enough to gain them an advantage in the first leg against Santa Fe. A goal-less draw means that both sides will enter Thursday’s second leg on a level playing field with all to play for.
The young Medina, started the season at centre-back wearing Nacional hero, the late Andres Escobar’s number two shirt. Manager Juan Carlos Osorio put his faith in the youthful and inexperienced defender even though he was sent off twice in three games, getting caught out badly in the central position. Osorio, witnessing the youngster struggling decided to place him at right full-back due to his attacking tendencies. What a transformation. The timid, often confused-looking defender turned into an attacking machine, bombing down the right-wing scaring the opposition’s defenders.
We headed into Sunday’s major spectacle with Medina playing the group games leading into the final on the right side of midfield, Osorio looks to finally found this player’s most natural position. Last night’s game provided, a show that proved that the Medina could be in lead contention to line up with the likes of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and team-mate Macnelly Torres for Jose Pekerman’s national side heading to Brazil next summer.
Medina provided attack after attack for the veteran Juan Pablo Angel and John Pajoy. The latter missed the best of the chances and the former Aston Villa striker Angel looked alone up top with hardly any support from the cautious midfielders, as did his second-half replacement Fernando Uribe.
As expected, both sides were alert of each other’s forward play, and did not want to risk conceding what could be an important goal.
In the second-half the game opened up and it was the visitors that look more likely to take the lead. Wilder Medina, playing his last few games for Santa Fe before moving to Barcelona of Ecuador, had close chances but all failed to surpass Franco Armani in the Nacional goal.
Nacional pressed late on, mainly with the right-wing attack of Medina, but even though the balls in the box were well delivered, the away sides defence battered them away.
The two sides meet again on Thursday night to play in Bogota, and both sides know they will have to try harder to breach the others goal to claim the Apertura championship.
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