COLOMBIA: LIGA POSTOBON CLAUSURA – WEEK 1 Review

Colombia

This article is courtesy of COLO FUTBOL

WEEK 1 – 26th-31st July 2013

Just two weeks ago, the Apertura season ended with Nacional claiming their 12th Colombian league title.  Last night, the Clausura part of the league campaign began with the championship all to play for once again.  Even within the few weeks after the Apertura’s end, a lot of teams have began to lose players aboard and reshuffle their squads.

The Apertura champions, Atletico Nacional started their aim for the sweep with an away game to Huila. Their seasons chances were dealt a blow losing a major player in that title win. Colombian international midfielder Macnelly Torres, after lifting the Liga Postobon trophy two weeks ago, he notified the club he was off to sign a lucrative deal in Saudi Arabia. With young starlet Steffan Medina going from strength to strength at his new right-wing role (after starring in defence) and strikers John Pajoy, Fernando Uribe and Jefferson Duque firing on all cylinders, they may be able to mount a serious challenge. Filling the gap Torres left will be Sherman Cárdenas, the long-haired playmaker has been influential in the Apertura campaign and will look to make an even bigger bang in the second half of the season.

ATLÉTICO HUILA 2-3 ATLÉTICO NACIONAL

Nacional’s season started off on the wrong foot as the unlikely Huila lead by 2-0 at half-time, but a sending off and yet another tremendous late comeback, gave the visitors all three points.

Cristian Canga put a smile of new coach Javier Álvarez Arteaga’s face after 17 minutes putting the team ahead with some good skill that split the young El Verde defence. Starting at his undesirable central defensive role, 21-year-old Steffan Medina alongside Miller Mosquera (also 21) looked shaky throughout the first-half and Canga took full advantage. Tricky feet by the powerful striker caught the two defenders out and as the ball slipped into the box from a flick from Luis Alfonso Paéz fed Canga through and he powered Medina away from his path and blasted the ball home into Cristian Bonilla’s goal. Canga at just 21 himself, looked lively throughout and took the chance well, making a statement that he could have a big future in the league this season.

Just seven minutes later, Paéz doubled Huila’s lead sending the home crowd into raptures. Canga again involved holding up the ball well from a Jhonatan Murillo throw-in, he played the ball back into Murillo’s path who swung in a first time cross. Paéz jostled in the area and got in front of the struggling Mosquera and hit the volley past Bonilla.

The champions found themselves two goals down and Juan Carlos Osorio needed to rally his team this did not happen until 67 minutes when Huila defender Camilo Mancilla was dismissed for bringing down Farid Díaz in the penalty area. It was Mancilla’s second bookable offence and it would be the beginning of a new Colombian football campaign without the usual red card. Medina stepped up to convert the penalty, sending goalkeeper Williams Buenaños the wrong way, the comeback was on.

Nacional, notorious for comebacks, did not disappoint. Seven minutes from time, the impressive John Valoy skipped past three Huila defenders and fired the ball across the goal for Orlando Berrío to score. Berrío has just returned back to Nacional after loan spells at Millonarios and Patriotas the past two seasons, and was thrown in up front with veteran Juan Pablo Angel.

The comeback was completed four minutes later, half-time substitute Francisco Nájera rising above everyone and heading home from an Elkin Calle corner. It was a great win for El Verde, which once again showed tremendous spirit and energy that helped them win the Apertura championship.

Javier Araujo (L) tries to dominate the ball to Fabio Rodriguez brand of Itagüi.  The 'Eagles' began well the Liga II.

CÚCUTA DEPORTIVO 1-2 ITAGÜÍ DITAIRES

First-half goals from Diego Cabrera and Víctor Cortés gave Itagüí the win in their first game away to Cucuta Deportivo despite a late rally from the hosts.

The opening goal came on 17 minutes, with Cortés crossing the ball to the unmarked Cabrera. The ball was behind Cabrera but he controlled, then spun superbly around to fire a venomous shot into José Hubert Escobar’s goal.

The pre-match favourites doubled their lead on the half-hour mark hitting Cucuta on the counter-attack. It was two against three and Luis Quiñones threading a wonderful ball through to Cortés, and the striker twisted past defender Mauricio Duarte and coolly finished in style.

The hosts improved in the second-half and grabbed a goal back with veteran Milton Rodriguez smashing home a spot kick on the hour but they failed to create an equaliser and Itagüí got off left Cucuta with maximum points.

An unusual lack of goals in day two of the first week of the Clausura season with just three goals shared across the three games on Saturday night/early Sunday morning. One of the league favourites Millionairos failed to clinch their first three points away to La Equidad. Millos have strengthened extensively after losing Fredy Montero to Sporting Lisbon and star defender Pedro Franco left for Turkish side Beşiktaş. Using the funds from the Franco transfer, Mario Alejandro González, Alexis Pérez, David Ramirez, Felipe Andres Cadavid and Dayro Moreno have all arrived to challenge for the Clasura title. Profilic striker Moreno should be the biggest hit with the Bogata giants, arriving on loan from Junior, he linked up well with Edison Toloza last year and scored 10 goals in 32 appearances in his time with the Barranquilla side. Despite Saturday’s setback, they will surely be challenging for honours come the end of the season.

BOYACÁ CHICÓ 0-0 PATRIOTAS BOYACÁ

A tight affair in the Boyacá derby with both sides unable to find the net and shared the points. The deadlock was nearly broken on the stroke of half-time after the hosts were awarded a soft penalty when Andres Felipe Arboleda was penalised for a slight shove on Juan David Perez. Edwin Móvil stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired it low down the middle which was saved by the legs of Nicolás Vikonis.

Gran triunfo del Tricolor (MPSportimages.com)

DEPORTIVO PASTO 1-0 DEPORTES QUINDÍO

Pasto gained a narrow 1-0 victory even though they controlled the game from the kick-off and only Quindío goalkeeper Julián Viáfara could stop the score from being greater. The only goal of the game came on 28 minutes through Mauricio Mina. The win was not the only good news for Pasto, as they welcomed the return of Víctor Manuel Zapata to the first team after seven months absent with injury.

Dayro Moreno (L) is about to hit the ball in an influx of millionaires versus Equity.  The whole 'PAN' club drew 1-1 against 'insurer'.  Back from the attacker tolimense appears Camilo Ayala.

LA EQUIDAD 1-1 MILLONARIOS

Young La Equidad striker Esteban Castañeda hit a late equaliser to stop Millos gaining a precious three points in their opener.

Los Embajadores took the lead with a perfect 25-yard free-kick from Luis Hernán Mosquera just seven minutes inside the first half. Mosquera lofted the ball over the defensive wall and sent the shot flying into the top corner of Diego Novoa’s goal giving the ‘keeper no chance.

After tasting a heavy 4-0 defeat to Portuguese giants FC Porto in midweek, Millos looked a different side creating chances and testing the Equidad defenders, but they were unable to stretch their lead, and they paid for it a minute into injury time.

Substitute striker Castañeda grabbed the headlines with the goal that robbed Millos of the spoils. Darwin Andrade swung a ball into the box, which debutant Jonathan Álvarez knocked into the 21-year-old’s path on the edge of the area to fire home.

Deportivo Cali and Atletico Nacional lead the table with just one match remaining in the opening week of the Clausura season. Vladimir Marin was up to his old tricks, hitting in a forty-yard set piece home to clinch a big 3-0 win for Cali away to Once Caldas.

INDEPENDIENTE MEDELLÍN 1-1 DEPORTES TOLIMA

In a steamy hot Sunday afternoon in the Estadio Atanasio Girardot, it was an even game that finished in a deserved draw for both sides.

The away side took the lead after a long-range effort from debutant Hugo Lusardi deflected past Leandro Castellanos on 41 minutes. It was a hopeful low driving effort from around 35 yards out, that clipped the foot of Davidson Monsalve before nestling in the right-hand corner of Castellanos’ goal.

The equaliser came just three minutes later, on the stroke of half-time and it was hit from around the same distance. Marco Perez Murillo hit an excellent power free-kick home, giving goalkeeper Anthony Silva no chance of stopping.

The game continued, but in the stifling heat either side failed to produce the goods and find a winning goal.

20130729 - Vladimir Marin Deportivo Cali

ONCE CALDAS 0-3 DEPORTIVO CALI

Leonel Alvarez’s Deportivo Cali romped to a 3-0 win although Once Caldas dominated the majority of the play. The home sides’ defensive frailties gifted Cali the match with the opening goal especially emphasising this matter.

The hosts failed to clear their lines on 34 minutes and Miguel Murillo took full advantage of this. Working hard on the edge of the box, Nery Bareiro won the ball and passed it through the defence to Murillo in the area, the striker smashed his right foot through it and past 41-year-old goalkeeper Juan Carlos Henao.

Caldas grafted and missed glorious chances to get back into the game. Young strikers Clemente Palacios or Jose Izquierdo failed to have an impact in front of goal and the game was all over on 77 minutes.

Sergio Romero doubled the lead on the counter attack after a great surging run by substitute Stiven Mendoza. Picking the ball in his own half, Mendoza sped past the back trailing Caldas defenders and played the ball to Romero just inside the box, who controlled with his left and hit with his right into the top corner.

It was three just moments later with Vladimir Marin special. When you see a free-kick fly in at forty yards you would normally be shocked, but when you see Marin line up, you except it. Once again, an unbelievable effort sailing straight into the top corner of the net making Henao look foolish. To celebrate, Marin went to the bench and stole head coach Alvarez’s jacket.

It was a poor display in defence and front of goal by Once Caldas, who may look to add to their squad sooner rather than later.

ENVIGADO 0-1 JUNIOR

A 12th minute Luis Carlos Ruiz spot-kick settled the Sunday night game as Junior the three points against a new-look Envigado side giving debuts to four new players.

The goal came about after Andrés Felipe Orozco pulled down Jossymar Gómez, when a free-kick was floated in towards the pair. It was dubious decision by referee Ramiro Suárez but Ruiz sent Jimmy Schmidt the wrong way to give Junior the three points.

With Wilder Medina opting to leave for Ecuador, Santa Fe began the season without their major threat in the Apertura campaign and unfortunately for the Bogota side, it showed greatly on Tuesday night when they hosted the unfavoured Alianza Petrolera.

SANTA FE 2-2 ALIANZA PETROLERA

Chances were created but not taken and it took a 58th minute penalty to break the deadlock. The spot-kick was awarded after defender Elkin Serrano punched the ball while jumping for a header, Argentine midfielder Silvio González easily converted sending goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez the wrong way.

Santa Fe were coasting the game now and looked more likely to extend their lead until they were hit with a suckerpunch from Luis Carabalí to tie the game up on 74 minutes. Carabalí had to tahnk 19-year-old Cristian Palomeque for the assists. The Colombian Under-20 international weaved his way through Santa Fe defenders and fired a ball across the goal, Carabalí poked home at the second attempt after Juan Manuel Leyton pulled off a great save from close range.

The score was only level for six minutes as Fernando Cárdenas must have believed he had won the game for his side sending El Campin into raptures. After Petrolera defenders failed to clear the ball, it found its way out to González on the right wing, he smashed the ball across goal for Cárdenas to finish. It was 2-1 to Santa Fe, with only ten minutes to go, game over right? Wrong.

With just five minutes remaining, Petrolera found the equaliser to take a share of the points with a scrappy free-kick goal. A free-kick was in a dangerous position and the man of the moment, Palomeque strick the ball towards goal where Leyton tipped the ball magnificently onto the post. The ball ricocheted back into play and into the path of Felipe Aguilar Mendoza who connected with the ball just enough to send it towards the open goal but Leyton got a hand onto the ball again. Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, he failed to keep the ball out of the path of Michael Rangel, who pounced on the loose ball to steer into the empty goal.

A great surprise point for Petrolera, a loss of two points for Apertura finalists Santa Fe.

STANDINGS

20130731- Clausura

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