The championship debut for first-year Atlético Nacional head man Jorge Almirón took a sour turn after a promising start in his team’s 2-1 Superliga title loss to Millonarios Wednesday night. Despite an early goal from Andrés Renteria, the home team quickly fell off after goals in the 34th and 54th minutes from Paraguayan striker Roberto Ovelar gave Millonarios its first Superliga title in the upset road victory.
“We started the game off really well and had the chances to extend the lead to 2-0 a few times,” Almirón said at a press conference following Wednesday’s loss.
Almirón did not hide his disappointment with the “unfair” officiating, pointing out in his presser that a would-be goal was called offside for Nacional in the first half. Though they dominated play for much of the first half, Nacional allowed a lob pass played into the center of the box to land at the feet of an unguarded Ovelar, who turned around and fired the shot past Nacional keeper Fernando Monetti.
“Sometimes football has surprises in store for everyone,” said Millonarios coach Hugo Gottardi. “If you would’ve told me early in the first half that we would lose that game 4-1, I would’ve agreed. But in football when you do things right, you can turn around the game and that’s what we did.”
After last week’s 0-0 tie in the first leg of the Superliga in Bogotá, Millonarios’ victory in Medellín’s Atanasio Giradot Stadium builds on last year’s championship run in the Closing Tournament.
Two-time Superliga champions Nacional won the tournament’s first edition in 2012. The two-leg championship brings together the two winners of the previous year’s Opening Tournament and Closing Tournament that decide the winners of Colombia’s first division.
Millonarios was also helped in large part by a stout defensive effort and is led in goal by 19-year-old sensation Wuilker Farinez, who just joined the club in January. Fans of Colombia’s national team may be familiar with the Venezuelan wunderkind who stifled Colombia’s normally potent attack with a bevy of acrobatic saves in an August World Cup qualifier that led to a surprising 0-0 draw between the neighboring countries.
The football season is just beginning in Colombia as Atlético Nacional will have a chance to rebound at home on Saturday in a highly anticipated match against Santa Fe in their second league game. For their part, the newly crowned Superliga champs Millonarios will take the pitch back home in Bogotá against the Patriotas Boyacá on Sunday.