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Colombian Primera A Wrap: Atletico Nacional, Santa Fe in Apertura final

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Jul 2013

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Atletico Nacional have qualified for the Apertura final of the Colombian Primera A with a 2-1 win over Deportivo Pasto.

Francisco Najera’s goal in the second minute of the second half decided the contest for Nacional, which secured a berth in the final of the first half the 2013 Primera A season against Santa Fe.

Nacional started the final round of the semi-final stage in third position in Group B but leapt into first with their victory over Pasto, while former leaders Deportes Tolima lost 1-0 to Itagui.

It took Nacional just six minutes to open the scoring on Sunday with Fernando Uribe powering a scorching header into the net from Elkin Calle’s cross but Pasto equalised in stunning fashion in the 42nd minute when Humberto Marquinez thrashed a first-time shot into the top corner.

A win for Pasto would have sent them into the Apertura final but it was Nacional who struck next.

In the 47th minute, Juan David Valencia slid the ball through to Najera, who peeled off on the left-hand side of the penalty area and struck a low shot past Pasto’s Lucero Alvarez and into the bottom corner of the net.

Nacional survived a nervous finish to clinch victory with Pasto going closest to claiming a draw in the 51st minute when Marquinez was denied a brace for offside.

The victory took Nacional to 10 points and top of Group B, one point ahead of Itagui, while Tolima (eight points) and Pasto (seven) finished third and fourth respectively in the semi-final group.

Nacional will take on Santa Fe in the Apertura Final after the Group A winners completed the semi-final stage with a 1-1 draw against Deportivo Cali, while Millonarios defeated Once Caldas 3-2 in the other match.

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