BOGOTA – Atletico Junior beat fellow Colombian side Independiente Santa Fe 2-0 on Thursday in Bogota’s El Campin stadium in the first leg of Copa Sudamericana semifinals, as they bid to progress to their first-ever final in the tournament.
Junior outplayed hosts Santa Fe, with the first goal scored by Teofilo Gutierrez shortly before half-time, which was awarded after consulting the VAR after initially being ruled out by the assistant referee, while the second was scored by Marlon Piedrahita.
The first clear chance of the game came on a shot by Santa Fe’s Diego Guastavino, which was stopped by Junior goalkeeper Sebastian Viera.
Junior scored the opening goal in the 41st minute when Gutierrez received a pass from Jarlan Barrera and scored after beating veteran goalkeeper Robinson Zapata with a feint. After initially being ruled out for offside, the goal was confirmed by VAR.
The visitors, based in the coastal city of Barranquilla, doubled their lead soon after half time in the 49th minute when Piedrahita took advantage of a rebound from a corner and scored with the help of Luis Diaz.
The hosts were unable to bounce back from the deficit despite creating some chances late in the game, and were left with 10 men in the 84th minute when defender Javier Lopez was shown a red card for a heavy tackle on Barrera, another decision made with the help of VAR.
Santa Fe face an uphill task to turn the tie around in the next leg in order to progress to their second Copa Sudamericana final, after their title win in 2015.