Liga Águila three quarter round-up
While the Colombian squad have just started their campaign for qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the domestic league is reaching the final stages of the ‘todos contra todos’, where each team faces each other. The top eight from this stage will qualify for the quarterfinals of la Liga Águila.
With five rounds to go, we have three teams on the verge of a preliminary qualification. Title favourites Atlético Nacional from Medellín, surprise from Barrancabermeja Alianza Petrolera and ‘los tiburones’ (the sharks), Atlético Junior from Barranquilla.
Behind them, 10 teams are in a fierce battle for the remaining five spots, including all three Bogotá teams. Independiente Santa Fe have continued their battle on three fronts with the Copa Sudamericana and the Colombian cup as well. They are struggling with the amount of games and injuries, but ‘los cardenales’ keep their head above the water, just behind the top three.
La Equidad had a fantastic run in September, winning four out of five games bringing them to a privileged position for the quarterfinals as well. The squad from ‘Sachi’ Escobar has been extremely consistent and are tipped as outsiders for the title.
Millonarios saw a change of manager result in a slight uprise in results. The big change has been the newly organised defence.
Since Ruben Israel has been in charge, ‘Los Azules’ have only conceded one goal in five games. They have a difficult schedule coming up and are not at all certain to reach the top eight, but the five rounds to come give the 14-time champions the opportunity to make it to the final stages.
In the battle against relegation, the deal seems done for Deportivo Cúcuta and Uniautonoma, Barranquilla’s second team. ‘Los universitarios’ who are on a good streak, winning four out of their last seven games, keep hope with ten points to make up in the five matches left to reach the safe zone that is now occupied by Jaguares de Montería and Cortulua while Cúcuta have only a mathematical chance left at 14 points from safety.
The last round of this stage won’t be until the weekend of November 22, and until then the foreplay for an exciting climax will only get more and more intense.
By Freek Huigen