With Atletico Nacional not playing in mid-week, Cali moved within six points of the pacesetters - although they should have made a much more significant divot in the margin, as they led for the majority of their encounter at home to Boyaca.
Lucas Scaglia had Cali ahead on 17 minutes and, despite seeing Andres Perez handed his marching orders shortly after half-time, the hosts looked set to hold onto their one-goal advantage.
But there would be heartbreak for the home fans, as Boyaca were awarded a late penalty - converted by Gonzalo Martinez - before Faryd Mondragon was dismissed to leave Cali with just nine players on the park at the final whistle.
Cali are second on 19 points but have also played two more games than leaders Atletico.
Two points back from Cali are Millonarios, Santa Fe and Junior - with the latter of that trio the only to win on Thursday.
Junior accounted for Deportes Quindio 3-0 at home, with Samuel Vanegas, Luis Ruiz and Edwin Cardona all on target.
They remain in fifth spot though, with inferior goal difference but Santa Fe were held to a 1-1 draw on the road at La Equidad.
A 90th-minute own-goal from Boyaca Chico's Diego Chica handed Alianza Petrolera a 2-1 away win.
Mid-table Medellin chalked up a 4-0 win over Atletico Huila, with Andres Mosquera, Cleider Alzate, Marcos Perez and Amilcar Henriquez all netting in the first half.
Envigado are unbeaten in four league outings, after a 2-0 success at home to Cucuta Deportivo.
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