By Greg Oldfield | Florida Cup
Jonatan Álvez scored two first-half goals and Jarlan Barrera added a goal and an assist to lead Atlético Nacional to a 3-2 win over Millonarios in an incredible first half that featured all five goals. David Silva scored twice for the Bogotá club in defeat as the two rivals met for the 280th time and entertained the raucous crowd inside Camping World Stadium Wednesday night for the final match of the 2021 Florida Cup.
Millonarios opened the match with nearly the same lineup that played against Everton Sunday night with Fernando Uribe up top and Jorge Rengifo, Harrison Mojica, and David Silva playing behind as attacking midfielders. Andres Llinás, who scored against Everton, started in the center back alongside Juan Pablo Vargas, and Juan Garcia replaced Stiven Vega in midfield. For Nacional, Jarlan Barrera and Andrés Andrade started in the attacking midfield with Dorlan Pabón wearing the captain’s armband and Álvez starting as the striker in place of Jefferson Duque. Baldomero Perlaza anchored the midfield alongside Sebastián Gomez.
Atlético Nacional came out pressing the Millonarios backline and were rewarded in the sixth minute when Jarlan Barrera scored the opener off a strong counter press. Álvez picked off a poor outlet pass from the back and tipped the ball through to Barrera, who side-footed a shot under the arms of Vargas. The pace of the game continued to build on both sides as each team utilized a high press for the duration of the half, and Juan Carlos Pereira came in strong on several challenges, the second through the heels of Barerra to earn the first booking of the game in the ninth minute.
In the nineteenth minute, Fernado Uribe had a good look at goal after Mojica controlled a cleared header, cut inside and slid a pass to Uribe at the top of the box. But Uribe’s shot missed wide. Millonarios soon found the equalizer off the foot of Silva in the twenty-fifth minute. Rengifo broke free down the right side and drove a skipper across the box that Felipe Aguilar failed to clear. The ball fell to Silva, and he took a touch to settle then ripped a volley that deflected off Aguilar into the net.
Following the hydration break, the pace of the game reached an extra gear as Andrade took a volley off a Pabón cross that Vargas pushed away. Álvez gave Nacional the lead three minutes later when he ran onto Barrera’s through-ball and slid it past Vargas for the 2-1 lead. With both teams pressing, Millonarios countered immediately with Elvis Perlaza down the wing crossing a ball to Uribe, but Uribe’s powerful header barely missed wide. Keeping the pressure up, Millonarios forced a turnover from Quintana that Pereira pushed to Silva, and the captain slotted home his second of the game to tie the score at 2-2.
The action went back and forth with Pabón missing inches wide then Mojica blasting a shot from distance that Quintana saved for a corner. A minute from halftime, Àlvez gave Nacional the lead again when he tapped home Perlaza’s header off a Pabón corner. Álvez, left unmarked at the back post, scored his second of the game to make the score 3-2. Álvez nearly added his third a minute later when Nacional had good combination play off a short corner and Barrera found Álvez at the far post, but his quick shot forced a good reaction save from Vargas, and the referee’s whistle blew, no one in the stands wanted the half to end, except maybe to catch their breath.
Both teams made changes to start the second half. For Millonarios, Daniel Ruiz and Edgar Guerra came on for Rengifo and Mojica, and for Nacional, Jonathan Marulanda entered for Candelo. Though the second half may not have had the same explosiveness as the opening forty-five minutes, except for the fireworks from the Millonarios end, the tackles were still flying with Ruiz being introduced to the derby several times.
And with the arrival of leading scorer Jefferson Duque for Álvez, the game had the potential for even more goals. Nacional had two chances in quick succession by Perlaza in the sixty-sixth minute. Perlaza’s first shot took a deflection, and Vargas made a difficult save, but his second was headed for the bottom corner until Vargas dove to slap it away.
Several subs followed over the final twenty minutes with Vargas coming off for Juan Moreno and Ricardo Marquez on for Uribe. But Pabón still had fresh legs as he broke down the right side, beat Omar Bertel, and found Duque free at the top of the box, but Duque’s shot was blocked by Llinás. Several more changes followed with Alex Castro on for Barrera and Andres Murillo in to replace Juan Garcia. It was Murillo who had Millonarios’ best chance at a late equalizer in the eighty-fifth minute when his driven header was kept out by Quintana on the goal line. Both teams fought and attacked until the final whistle, neither wanting to leave the field on the losing end in a true classico.
ATL- Barrera 6’
MIL- Silva 25’
ATL- Álvez 31’
MIL- Silva 33’
ATL- Álvez 44’
MIL- Pereira 9’
MIL- Silva 65’
ATL- Perlaza 88’
C. Vargas, J. Vargas, Llinás, Bertel, Perlaza, Garcia, Pereira, Silva, Mojica, Rengifo, Uribe
Moreno, Romero, Rosales, Murillo, Roman, Banguero, Vega, Ruiz, Guerra, Quinoñes, Marquez, Abadia, Valencia
Quintana, Candelo, Córdoba, Aguilar, Fory, Perlaza, Gómez, Barrera, Pabon, Andrade, Alvez
Uribe, Rovira, Marulanda, Duque, Palacios, Angel, Castro