SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras - Puebla won a remarkable match in Mexico at the weekend, scoring four first-half goals then having two men sent off before hanging on for a 4-1 victory over Cruz Azul.
Atletico Nacional midfielder Giovanni Moreno scored a hat-trick before being sent off in Colombia and teenager Marlon de Jesus hit four for El Nacional in Ecuador.
Pumas UNAM became the fourth side to reach the eight-team Clausura championship knockout phase with a 2-0 home win over Morelia at the Olimpico in Mexico City.
They joined Guadalajara, Toluca and Apertura title holders Monterrey, who dealt America's chances a blow with a 2-1 home win.
The top two teams in each of the three groups plus the next two best-placed sides go through.
Cruz Azul fielded several reserves and lost 4-1 to nine-man Puebla, putting their qualification for the knockout phase at risk.
Puebla's American forward Hercules Gomez scored twice in the first half before being sent off in the 66th minute for a second booking.
The home side also had Rodrigo Salinas dismissed in the 45th minute but, having taken a 4-0 halftime lead, their nine men hung on for a deserved victory.
Midfielder Giovanni Moreno scored three goals to lead Atletico Nacional to a 4-2 home win over 10-man Real Cartagena but was sent off in the 87th, a minute after completing his hat-trick, for a second booking. Cartagena had defender Alexander Anaya sent off in the 38th.
Tolima extended their winning run to six matches with a 1-0 win over Deportivo Pereira to remain two points clear at the top of the Apertura championship.
Title holders Independiente Medellin could have overtaken them but went down 2-1 at La Equidad.
Nineteen-year-old Ecuador youth international striker Marlon de Jesus scored four goals as El Nacional crushed Emelec 5-0.
Leaders Barcelona ended Deportivo Cuenca's unbeaten run with a 2-1 victory to remain three points clear of LDU Quito.
Penarol's record 12 consecutive wins from the start of the Clausura, which they clinched the previous weekend, came to an end in a 0-0 draw in the "Superclasico" with bitter enemies Nacional, champions last season.
The Montevideo rivals will meet again at the end of the season for the overall title of Uruguayan champions, Penarol as Clausura winners and Nacional having won the Apertura. PERU
Sporting Cristal recovered from conceding two early Andy Pando goals to crush CN Iquitos 5-2 with a brace from Uruguayan Miguel Ximenez, the championship's top scorer.
Cesar Vallejo recovered top place from San Martin by beating them 2-0 at the Manische stadium in Trujillo.
The leaders have 24 points after 10 matches with San Martin and Cristal on 22.
Leaders Cerro Porteno crushed title holders Nacional 3-0 with a hat-trick from Pablo Zeballos to remain four points clear of second-placed Guarani with a game in hand.
Cerro Porteno have 34 points to 30 for Guarani, who beat Tacuary 4-1 with two goals from Brazilian Rodrigo Teixeira.
The Strongest beat San Jose 3-2 and took over from them as leaders of Group A with 13 points after eight matches.
Bolivar, top of Group B with 19 points, beat Real Mamore 3-1 with two goals from Anderson Gonzaga and another from fellow Brazilian Alex Da Rosa.
Champions Colo Colo beat Huachipato 3-0 to stay on the heels of leaders Universidad de Chile, who beat Universidad de Concepcion 4-2.
"The U" have 25 points and Colo Colo 23.
Caracas remained top of the Clausura when two goals from midfielder Alejandro Guerra helped them beat Real Esppor 3-2 at home.
They are two points ahead of Zamora with two games in hand due to their South American Libertadores Cup commitments.comments