Wonderkid Factory | Part 16 | Lazaró’s Best Envigado Team

The absence of continental football had seen Robinho Lazaró’s Envigado FC return to the upper echelons of Colombian football, finishing second in their Apertura post-season group. And Lazaró was excited to see if his promising homegrown squad could continue to flourish.

His team also had the rarity of a mid-season break, which turned out to be an extensive six weeks, between the Apertura and Finalización stages. So, for a change, they came into the second half of the season nice and refreshed.

Strong Start To Finalización

The rest did Lazaró’s players the world of good as they opened the Finalización stage with a 3-0 win at Bogotá led by winger Jaiber Prince’s brace and a last-minute goal from midfielder Ronaldo Bermudez. Top scorer Francisco Ocampo bagged a brace to down Fortaleza 3-1 before a 1-1 at Junior, to whom they lost 6-0 at home six months ago. But their poor record against América continued with a 2-1 home defeat.

Lazaró threw 16-year-old Juan Camilo Rojas – who’s been dubbed the new Radamel Falcao – in for his debut at home to Millonarios, and the striker repaid him with an assist in a 2-1 victory. They enjoyed a 3-1 win at rivals Águilas Doradas before Randi Redín and Ocampo secured a 2-0 victory over Petrolera, which sent Envigado up to 2nd in the league. The rarity of a goalkeeper getting player of the match earned a 2-0 win at Cúcuta, which was another sign that Frank Marimón could become the long-term stopper Lazaró had been seeking for several years.

Marimón kept another clean sheet as Bermudez and Ocampo goals defeated Deportivo Cali 2-0 to take Envigado top of the table at the halfway point. Ocampo bagged a brace to down Nacional 3-1 and a Díaz hat-trick inspired a superb 5-1 thumping of bottom of the league Once Caldas away. And Prince and Bermudez goals edged a 2-1 win at Expreso Rojo, which saw Envigado set a new club record eight successive wins.

The run continued as Rojas replaced the injured Ocampo and not only scored his first goal for the club but bagged a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Quindío. It ended with a 1-1 against Magdalena, which took Envigado five points clear going into the final five games.

Rojas scored again as they maintained that lead with a 3-0 win at Cortuluá then scored a second hat-trick in four games to inspire a 3-1 win over Tolima. And a reminder, he’s 16 years old!! Out of nowhere, they got hammered 4-0 at Quindío but remained four points clear heading into the final two games. And a 2-2 at home to Independiente was enough to secure top spot with a game spare in Lazaró’s 500th game in management – but they lost Ocampo to injury for five weeks.

Finalización Post-Season

Having secured the league phase win, Lazaró was now focused on leading Envigado to their third official title. To do that, they needed to win a post-season group of Santa Fe, Deportivo Cali and Junior. And yet again, the scheduling madness saw them have to play six games in 13 days.

They began at Santa Fe and Rojas, Jhon Banguera and Prince earned a 3-2 win. Then put in a dominant performance to beat Cali 3-0 with Rojas scoring again, but lost Redín to a devastating cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out for seven months. Lazaró had to fully rotate and they lost 2-0 at Cali two days later. A rested first 11 returned to nick a 3-2 win over Santa Fe thanks to Malcom Mina Camacho’s late penalty.

With two games remaining, Envigado had a three-point lead over Cali. A 94th-minute Prince equaliser at home to Junior retained that gap, before a rare three-day gap allowed Lazaró to get some rest into his players’ legs. A point at Junior would be enough to reach the Final and they did it in style, as Díaz scored and laid on goals for Rojas and exciting centre-back Rodolfo Vega to inspire a 3-1 victory.

Envigdo’s continued impressive form took them into a first league phase final for three-and-a-half years, since they won Apertura in 2026. They now faced a Finalización Final against local rivals Independiente Medellín and, unusually, there was a nine-day gap between the end of the season and the first leg then a week to the second leg.

Independiente had the better of their home leg and scored midway through the first half but substitute Álvaro Pena nicked Envigado a probably undeserved equaliser. Ocampo was just about passed fit for the return leg so Lazaró threw him straight in. The first half was dreadful but Envigado fired the first punch as great work by Prince teed up Bermudez to tap home after an hour. They offered nothing else and Lazaró went defensive as he saw Independiente hit the bar twice in the final half hour. But they couldn’t find a way through and Envigado celebrated a wholly undeserved 2-1 aggregate victory.

Envigado were Finalización Champions and won their third Colombian title!!

That final victory also saw Envigado top the overall Liga BetPlay Dimayor final table for the third time, with 105 points and a massive 114 goals and a fairly hefty 82 conceded in their 54 matches. Díaz set a new league record with 30 assists in 51 league games and had the most player of the match award with nine. While Ocampo was third-top scorer with 28 goals, well behind Junior’s Juan Gutiérrez, who scored 41 in 49.

Lazaró’s Best Envigado Team So Far

Behind the scenes, Lazaró had been hard at work locking down his best talents to three-year deals with optional two-year extensions. That was to prevent the frustrating situation where players announced they wanted to leave when they had 18 months remaining on their contracts and to ensure the best youth products would be at the club for the long haul.

And some of those players had been making stunning progress. Top of that list was Ocampo, who made his debut for Colombia as a substitute against Venezuela in November. That means he’s now officially better than former man Marcelo Guzmán, who’s not made the Colombia squad since he departed for Bordeaux but is on £79k a week and worth up to £39m! Ocampo bagged 28 goals in 38 games this season with a 7.25 average rating.

However, the star man this season was arguably Díaz, who set a new club record with 30 assists alongside 14 goals in 52 appearances. Pushing him closer were Bermudez (18 goals and 14 assists), Prince (13 goals and 15 assists) and the exciting Rojas, who scored 12 in just 14 matches.

How would Lazaró’s exciting young team progress moving into the 2030s? And how would they get on back in Copa Libertadores? Join us on Friday to find out!


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