Defeat last week in Venezuela had left an out of form Colón with plenty still to do in Santa Fe on Thursday but a rampant second half display against an ill-disciplined Zulia side saw El Sabalero cruise into the Copa Sudamericana semi-finals.
After a goalless first half and Zulia precariously only one away goal from leaving Colón in need of three, things could have been very nervy for Pablo Lavallén’s side. Yet almost immediately after the restart the deadlock was broken and the home side were able to breathe a sigh of relief, Cristian Bernardi’s cross from the right bobbled in the penalty area and half-time substitute Wilson Morelo fired home.
With the tie all square, Zulia continued to probe for an away goal and in committing players forward for a woeful free-kick they were left open to the counter, wonderfully finished by the inspirational Luis Rodríguez.
Behind for the first time, the visitors then lost their heads and within four minutes were reduced to ten men. Gabriel Benítez was the first to see red for a late challenge worthy of a second yellow card and soon after Jerry León suffered the same fate.
Tomás Chancalay added a third and although VAR saved Luis Paz from becoming the third Zulia player sent off it didn’t prevent Federico Lértora capping off Colón’s victory with a superb fourth.
Lavallén’s side might be without a win in eleven league games but they have a place in the Copa Sudamericana semi-final and await either Atlético Mineiro or La Equidad.
— CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana) August 16, 2019