Wonderkid Factory | Part 8 | Guzmán Breaks Goalscoring Record

The brutal nature of the Colombian football season had seen Envigado FC play 38 matches at the halfway mark of the 2025 campaign. Robinho Lazaró’s young squad was exhausted, so he gave them a week off training between the Apertura and Finalización stages.

Unfortunately, the Finalización league began four days after the second leg of the Apertura final, which they lost to Independiente. Their preparations were further affected by losing goalkeeper Felipe Parra, who wanted outrageous money to renew his contract, for £550k to Mexican side Toluca. That saw 19-year-old Andrés Tovar become the club’s number one and 16-year-old Jorge Bocanegra, who came through this season’s youth intake, promoted to the first team.

The entire first-choice 11 is now fully homegrown at Envigado with record goalscorer Diego Rodríguez and midfielders Julián Reyes, Agustín Obregón and Lorenzo Brun the only squad members who developed at different clubs.

Finalización Defence Begins

Lazaró hugely rotated his side for the first few games of Finalización to address the massive exhaustion. That saw them get battered 5-1 at home to Nacional with four players making debuts, including midfielder José María Romero becoming the youngest player in Envigado history aged 15 years and 220 days.

The first team returned at home to Cali and won 2-0 thanks to youth academy graduates star striker Marcelo Guzmán and exciting midfielder Randi Redín’s first career goal. The graduates were at it again at Pasto as midfielder Jafe Ostos opened the scoring, Guzmán doubled the lead and winger Felipe Toro – who was proving the value of 20 determination – bagged two in a 4-0 victory.

Lazaró rested players for a big continental game (see below), which led to two more defeats including a mad 6-3 defeat at Tolima. And that left Envigado 15th after six games. But Heidy Juliao’s goal earned a 1-0 win over Apertura champions Independiente and the centre-back scored again in a 3-2 win at rivals Águilas Doradas. And winger Luis Ángel Díaz scored the only goal at home to bottom side Patriotas, which swiftly had Envigado back into the top eight. But a defeat at Cúcuta, draw at Curtuluá and defeat at home to Millonarios saw them drop to 11th after 12 games.

Tricky Copa Libertadores Draw

Having qualified from their group for the second successive season, Envigado got another tough draw in the second round. This time, they were up against a South American giant in Boca Juniors.

The home leg was up first and Envigado started superbly with Guzmán missing two decent chances. He made one count after half an hour, only for the ref to gift Boca a dubious penalty. Envigado continued to be much the better team but Boca moved 2-1 ahead against the run of play with a long-range strike. But an unlikely hero dragged them level as Jhon Banguera stabbed home. Lazaró made five subs and one of them delivered as Redín ran down the wing and put a second goal on a plate for Guzmán in the 89th minute. They went defensive and held on for what has to be the biggest win in club history!

However, any kind of result at La Bombonera would far outstrip that victory. Lazaró rested the first 11 for the league game in between to keep them fresh. He took a more cautious approach that saw Boca have lots of shots but no major chances, while Díaz hit the post from a rare Envigado attack. But Boca eventually made the breakthrough, courtesy of a suspicious VAR call, quickly added another and got a third as Lazaró pushed for a late goal. But Lazaró was massively proud of his player’s efforts against a far superior Boca, who have 17 players earning more than Envigado’s top-paid player.

James Rodríguez Comes Home

Envigado hero James Rodríguez was repeatedly praising the club’s youngsters, so when he was released by Inter Milan, Lazaró jumped at the chance to offer him a trial. And, for some reason, James was actually interested in signing. So Lazaró ripped up his youth development approach to bring him in as an inspirational mentor to the club’s exciting youngsters. However, a slight admin issue due to signing outside the transfer window meant that Rodríguez couldn’t be registered for the Finalización campaign!

Rodríguez’s presence alone had an instant impact as Envigado won 3-1 at Petrolera then a Guzmán brace led a 3-0 win at home to Once Caldas. That took the striker two goals behind D Rodríguez’s club record of 36 goals in a season. He edged one goal closer with the second in a 2-0 win at Quindío but then picked up an ankle ligament injury that ruled him out for seven weeks.

His replacement D Rodríguez reminded the fans what they were missing as he bagged a new club record four-goal haul in a 4-0 thumping of Cartagena that lifted Envigado back into the top eight. He scored again as Josep Mejía bagged a brace in a 3-1 win over Pereira, which suddenly lifted Envigado into a title race! A draw at Once Caldas left Envigado two points off leaders Tolima going into a thrilling final-day battle for top spot. Envigado were at home to Santa Fe and nicked a 2-2 in the last few minutes, which saw them drop to fifth place in the Finalización table.

Finalización Post-Season

Envigado got a tough post-season group alongside Tolima, Millonarios and Junior, which wasn’t helped by several defensive injuries. They began by drawing 1-1 at home to Junior then lost 1-0 at Tolima and 2-1 at Junior, in which Guzmán scored on his comeback to equal Rodríguez’s record. He scored his record-breaking 37th of the season at Millonarios, despite the team falling to a 3-1 defeat, then extended it with the opener in a 2-2 draw at home to Millonarios, which saw Envigado set a new club record seven games without winning.

That streak was snapped as D Rodríguez came off the bench to bag a late brace that downed Tolima 3-2, in what could be his final game for the club. But Envigado finished bottom of their semi-final group as the Colombian season caught up with a young squad.

However, they did top the overall Liga BetPlay Dimayor table for the first time, racking up 95 points and 106 goals from 54 games. And with 77 conceded, there’s no denying that Envigado were a fun watch. Guzmán set a new league record with an average rating of 7.34 followed by Toro’s 7.32, which equalled Mejía’s previous record. Guzmán was second-top scorer with 32 in 41 and, as a result, was named Colombian Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year. While Díaz topped the assists with 17.

Academy Products Reaching New Levels

Lazaró’s achievements in developing his youth players were rewarded as Juan Manuel Zapata became the first Envigado player to be called up to the Colombia squad in August. And he made his Colombia debut as a substitute in a 2-2 draw at Bolivia. Prior to that, Guzmán had been linked with a call-up, but at 18 it seems a little soon for him.

That said, the striker has been exceptional this season. He scored a new club record 38 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions along with six assists and a 7.36 average rating. Not bad for an 18-year-old!

D Rodríguez also did well with 23 goals in 43 games. While other key performers included Toro getting 16 goals and 12 assists, Mejía scoring 12 with 13 assists and Díaz a club-high 19 assists with five goals. William Hurtado got 11 assists from midfield and winger Diego Betancourth scored six and got eight assists, but was poor in the second half of the campaign.

This was another slid season for Envigado, topping the Apertura league and coming runner-up in the post-season and reaching an eighth successive post-season in Finalización. Lazaró’s efforts saw Envigado hand him a new three-year contract worth £2.5k a week until 2028. But, in a strange set of circumstances, the club President immediately began takeover talks with a local entrepreneur that swiftly collapsed.

Would a takeover happen in the summer? And could Lazaró build on this success in 2026? Join us on Monday to find out!

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