Liga Águila round-up: Millonarios keep playoff hopes alive

By Alex Papadovassilakis October 22, 2018

Photo courtesy of @MillosFCoficial

After match day 16 of the 2018 Liga Águila Clausura, only three teams have guaranteed their spot in the quarter finals. And with three games to go, a number of teams are still fighting to make the top 8.

Millonarios still in the fight

Millonarios kept their hopes of quarter final qualification alive thanks to a 2-1 away victory against Envigado, who drop two places to 16th. Ayron del Valle scored a perfectly placed free kick on 58 minutes to put Millonarios in front, before Andrés Cadavid converted from the spot on 79 minutes to make it 2-0. Duván Vergara netted for Envigado in the 87th minute, but the Antioquian side were left with too little time to find an equaliser.

The Bogotá club’s third win in row sees them climb to 9th in the table, on 24 points, just one behind 8th placed Rionegro Águilas who were beaten 2-1 at América de Cali. Águilas hopes of reaching the playoffs appear to be unravelling, having lost two games in a row and taken just 4 points from a possible 15.

Millonarios now face league leaders Tolima in Bogotá on Saturday, before travelling to Atlético Huila and hosting local rivals Santa Fe in the final match of the regular season.

América de Cali move up to 12th place, on 20 points, and can still make the top eight.

The front-runners

Victories for league leaders Tolima, 2nd placed Bucaramanga and 3rd placed La Equidad guaranteed each team a spot in the quarter finals.

Tolima ran out 3-2 winners at home against bottom side Leones – Marco Pérez scoring twice and taking his season’s tally to 14 goals. Tolima now have 32 points – level with Burcaramanga and La Equidad but with a superior goal difference and a game in hand.

Goals from Sherman Cárdenas, John Pérez and Michael Rangel saw Bucaramanga brush aside Boyacá Chicó 3-0 and claim their 7th consecutive victory.

La Equidad were also victorious. A second half goal from Carlos Peralta sealed a 1-0 victory against Independiente Santa Fe. La Equidad have now take 21 points from 9 away games – the most in the division – and can start preparations for the quarter finals. Santa Fe, on the other hand, lie in 11th position and must win their remaining three games (against Leones, Tolima and Millonarios) and rely on other results going their way to qualify for the quarter finals.

Caldas, Medellín and Nacional close to qualification

Once Caldas dropped two places after losing 2-0 away to Patriotas Boyacá, but remain on the verge of qualifying for the top 8. Boyacá’s victory sees them move up one place to 15th.

In-form Independiente Medellín claimed their fifth consecutive victory, beating Jaguares de Córdoba in Montería thanks to a double from Argentine Germán Ezequiel Cano. Medellín have practically qualified for the quarter finals, and striker Cano now tops the scoring charts with 15 goals.

Atlético Nacional won 1-0 against Junior F.C. at the Estadio Atanasio Girardot – the Barranquilla side finishing the game with 10 men after Gabriel Rafael Fuentes Gómez was sent off in injury time. Junior drop one place to 6th on 28 points, above Nacional on goal difference.

Deportivo Cali’s hopes of reaching the top 8 were dealt a severe blow as they suffered a 2-0 away defeat to Alianza Petrolera, playing the final half hour with 10 men after Miguel Ángel Murillo was dismissed. Alianza move up to 13th place, whilst Cali drop to 10th and remain with an outside shot of reaching the playoffs.

Coming up

Monday night’s game sees 17th placed Deportivo Pasto face Atlético Huila, with little at stake for either side.

Here are the fixtures for match day 17, to be played between Friday 26th and Wednesday 31st October:

Friday 26th

Boyacá Chicó FC vs Deportivo Pasto (6:00 PM)

Saturday 27th

Leones vs Santa Fe (2:00 PM)

Deportivo Cali vs Jaguares de Córdoba (4:00 PM)

Millonarios vs Deportes Tolima (6:00 PM)

Rionegro Águilas vs Alianza Petrolera (6:00 PM)

Once Caldas vs Atlético Nacional (9:00 PM)

Sunday 28th

La Equidad vs Patriotas Boyacá (2:00 PM)

Junior F.C vs América de Cali (5:15 PM)

Atlético Huila vs Envigado (6:00 PM)

Independiente Medellín vs Atlético Bucaramanga (8:00 PM)

Wednesday 31st

Deportes Tolima vs Once Caldas (8:00 PM)