Junior and Millionarios will be meeting in a leg of the playoffs for the third time in the last five years. The Dimayor draw also pairs Atletico Nacional with Antioquia’s rival, Rionegro in the quarter-finals. The winners of these two clashes will form the first semifinal.
The games of the quarterfinals will be disputed with the first leg between June 1st and 2nd, and the second leg on the weekend of June 4th. Since Junior wasn’t able to secure a position on the top four, the preliminary match will be played at Metropolitano Stadium in Barranquilla on Thursday at 8 p.m., and the defining match, at Campín Stadium in Bogotá. The series between Azules and Rojiblancos is the most contested in the quarterfinals. Both teams qualified for the playoffs with 37 points; the Ambassadors had a bigger goal difference, which gave them the third position of the table, while the Sharks finished in the fifth position.
They are equally strong at home, this year, the blue ballet had their best campaign in Bogotá since the league is played every six months (25 points in 10 games), and Junior hasn’t lost in Barranquilla. This season, the Sharks were the second best team on the road, but curiously one of their worst performances was against Millos, with whom they lost 3-1. It’s also well known that these two teams suffer when they visit this rival, one agonizes on the second halves because of the capital’s altitude, and the other gets overwhelmed by the coastal heat.
Millonarios is the fourth team in the league with the most goals scored (30 in 20 games), while Junior, very close, is the eight spot with 28 goals. Although the team from the capital is slightly better offensively speaking, the costeños also take a small lead on defense; they had seven games without permitting even one goal, whereas Junior kept the sheet clean across eight matches, the third best score in Colombia.
The remaining semifinal will come from the winners of the other two games. Santa Fe against Cortulua, and a replay of the first 2015 finale, Medellin will be facing Deportivo Cali.
Road to the championship
Semi-finals: Matches, First leg June 8th/9th & Second leg June 12th.
Final: First Leg June 15th & Second Leg June 19th.
The Sharks faced Millonarios in the 2011 and 2014 semifinals, defeating both of them in penalty kicks. Since 2010, Junior has reached the final across four opportunities, hoping that in 2016 it goes the same as when they won the league. In eight out of twelve finals since 2010, a team from Medellin has been disputing the title. This year the department of Antioquia will have three contenders for the title, so there’s a high chance of it happening again.
Aguila Cup, Eight-finals Draw
The tournament where Junior is the current champion was also drawn Sunday night in Bogotá. The Sharks were paired against the two time runner up, Deportivo Pasto.
These eight finals games will be disputed, with the first leg on July 27th, and the second on August 10th. The Final of this championship is scheduled for October 26th & for November 2nd.
The rest of the clashes are:
Real Cartagena vs. Atlético Nacional
Independiente Medellín vs. Valledupar FC
Cúcuta Deportivo vs. La Equidad
América de Cali vs. Deportivo Cali
Patriotas vs. Envigado FC
Quindío vs. Santa Fe
Millonarios vs. Tolima