Envigado failed to qualify for a Colombian league stage post-season for the first time in Robinho Lazaró’s sixth season in charge. That saw him fail a board objective and, strangely, called into a team meeting with unhappy players – whose fault it was they didn’t qualify in the first place.
The positive of this failure was that Lazaró got to give his exhausted squad three weeks off. While the fact that both the bookies and his board expected to finish in the top eight was a sign of just how far Lazaró had brought Envigado in the last five years.
However, there were even more departures as a favourite of the save so far Josep Mejía, who wanted £21k per week when Envigado could afford £10k, had his minimum fee clause of £1.5m met by Mexican side Mazatlán. But not to worry, as the youth team served up ready-made replacements in Ronaldo Bermudez and Norberto Donzelot, who’d appeared out of nowhere as another outrageous prospect.
Another Horrible Copa Libertadores Draw
Despite winning their group, Envigado got yet another horrible second-round draw with Brazilian giants Palmeiras. So in the last four years, they’ve qualified from the group only to face runners-up Atlético Mineiro, semi-finalists Boca Juniors, winners Flamengo – and now Palmeiras. Some positive news was Palmeiras had sold Endrick to Barcelona, where he scored 24 in 34 in his first season! But they still have a strong squad with 20 players worth more than Envigado’s most expensive player.
Just to make it even harder, Envigado lost star player Juan Manuel Zapata to injury just before the first leg in Brazil. Without him, they got battered by 25 shots to eight and were 4-0 down inside 29 minutes. But they rallied as Bermudez and winger Felipe Toro dragged two goals back to at least give them some hope at home. Envigado also applied themselves well in the home leg, but Palmeiras had too much for them and scored twice late on to easily qualify. Palmeiras reached the semis where they lost to Flamengo, who went on to win it again beating Santos 1-0 in the Final.
Looking For Improvement In Finalización
Lazaró was keen to make the mid-season break count by having a strong Finalización campaign. They began with a solid 1-1 at Santa Fe thanks to striker Jhoao Trivino’s equaliser. And a first home game looked to be heading for defeat before Luis Ángel Díaz equalised in the final minute then Huila gifted them all three points with an injury-time own goal.
Trivino was making significant progress, to the point he’d become the highest-rated player at the club. And he proved that with a brace in a 3-0 win over Cúcuta, the only goal against Cartagena and Bogotá, then a brace in a 3-0 win over Cortuluá. He also earned a 1-1 at Tolima, which moved him seven goals behind Marcelo Guzmán’s club record of 38 goals in a season.
The good start ended with a first defeat at Magdalena but Trivino and Jose Luis Ortiz got them back on track with a 2-1 win at Once Caldas, which moved Envigado up to 2nd. Injuries struck the squad, especially the wingers, which saw Lazaró throw a debut to 15-year-old academy product Jaiber Prince at home to Millonarios. Things weren’t going well as Millonarios led 2-0 inside 36 minutes, but Prince got one back a minute later and striker Lucas Florez came off the bench to nick a late equaliser.
Donzelot chose a good time to score his first goal for the club as he got the winner to defeat Real Santander 2-1, which saw Envigado leapfrog them into 2nd and just three points off top spot with five games remaining. But title hopes were ended by a 2-1 loss at Independiente then drawing 1-1 with struggling Jaguares.
The big focus at the end of the season was whether Trivino could chase down Guzmán’s record. He scored both goals as Envigado won 2-1 at rivals Águilas Doradas and the opener in a 3-1 win over Petrolera, which moved him to 37. But he couldn’t add to his tally as Envigado pulled off a surprise 3-2 win at leaders América, which saw the Cali side lose top spot on the final day! That wrapped up a third-place finish, just two points back from Independiente and scoring a joint league-high 36 goals and beating their Apertura points tally by 12.
A Copa BetPlay Run!
Prior to this season, Lazaró had thrown the youngsters in for the Colombian Cup as the two-legged ties began during Apertura post-season and his players were exhausted. But this season he had no excuse not to target it, which saw Envigado sneak past Bogotá then a debut goal by exciting 16-year-old striker Francisco Ocampo defeated Junior 3-2 on aggregate to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time.
That teed up a very winnable semi-final with Real Santander. Ocampo got another start in the first leg and scored again in a 2-0 win confirmed by right-back Malcom Mina Camacho’s penalty. However, that win came at a costly leg as Zapata broke his leg and would miss the rest of the season. And with a lead to hold on to in the away leg, another solid defensive effort earned a 1-0 win with Zapata’s replacement Saleth Cambronell scoring the only goal.
So Envigado were off to their first-ever Copa BetPlay Final against Cortuluá which, obviously, is a two-legged affair. And an added incentive was that the cup winner secures a place in Copa Libertadores. The home leg was up first again and Envigado dominated by 20 shots to seven but only managed one goal through Bermudez with Trivino missing a hatful of chances.
Lazaró dropped him for Ocampo in the away leg, which started terribly as Cortuluá scored, had a man sent off and scored again! Lazaró swapped goalkeeper Andrés Tovar for Roberto Torres and they turned things around with a Mina Camacho penalty and a delicious Bermudez free-kick. They let Cortuluá back into it immediately after the break but Betancourth and Díaz strikes put them in full control at 4-3. And there was no coming back for Cortuluá this time.
Envigado were Copa BetPlay Dimayor winners for the first time!!
This victory marked Lazaró’s fourth trophy in charge of Envigado, which was enough to put him into the Colombian Hall of Fame for the first time.
Envigado got a tough post-season group with Indpendiente, Santa Fe and Millonarios. And in some of the stupidest scheduling of all time, they had to play all six of their matches in a 10-day period. Making it even stupider, the post-season began two days after the regular season finished!
Envigado began at home to Santa Fe and Trivino equalled Guzmán’s club record with the opener in a 3-2 win. Lazaró had to massively rotate, especially when injuries and suspensions racked up. And the stupid scheduling saw them lose four and draw once, as eight youth players made senior debuts. That left a bitter taste after Lazaró had been impressed with his side’s form in the second half of the campaign.
The only positive was Trivino breaking Guzmán’s record when he scored the opener in a 2-2 draw at Millonarios then extending it to 40 goals for the season in a 2-1 loss at home to them. And 40 goals is some achievement!
Celebrating Another Successful Season
Lazaró was quick to put the ridiculous season conclusion behind him by reflecting on the positive of winning Envigado’s maiden Colombian Cup title and a massive improvement in form in the Finalización league stage.
This season’s star man was undoubtedly Trivino, who scored an incredible 40 goals in 56 games with a 7.48 average rating, which also broke Guzmán’s club record set in 2025. His 27 goals in 36 league games saw him named Best Young Player of the Year and in the league’s Team of the Year.
The next highest scorer was Florez with 15 in 42 then Betancourth with 10 in 56. Díaz led the assists with 20 plus nine goals in an impressive 60 appearances. That was followed by Beatncourth (14), left-back Emanuel Londono (9) and midfielders Randi Redín (7) and Bermudez (6).
Could Robinho Lazaró build on the positives of the 2027 season to mount a title challenge in 2028? And could they finally break their Copa Libertadores second round jinx? Join us on Friday to find out!