Envigado FC’s homegrown heroes enjoyed a historic season in 2030, winning a famous quadruple as they bagged both the Liga BetPlay Dimayor Apertura and Finalización titles, Copa Sudamericana and Súperliga BetPlay Dimayor. They were treated to a summer of fiestas by the good folk of Envigado and the town’s mayor had reportedly offered manager Robinho Lazaró the freedom of the city.
That success had seen the club’s popularity surge, gaining 200,000 social media followers in the last 12 months. While 16,815 people had suddenly joined the season ticket waiting list. As a result, the fair weather and casual fans chipped into the hardcore and core support.
The main focus of summer 2031 was retaining players as the biggest clubs across South America made bids for the likes of Francisco Ocampo, Jaiber Prince, Luis Ángel Díaz, Randi Redín, Frank Marimón, Jhon Banguera and Juan Manuel Zapata. But Lazaró just about held onto them all as Ocampo turned down a £20m move to Santos – what a legend!
They were joined by more exciting prospects as the latest youth intake delivered five players with 5-star potential, one with 4.5-star potential and a handful with 4-star potential. The pick of the bunch is striker Edisón Borrero, along with wingers Yhojan Vivas and Cristian Gutiérrez, goalkeeper Boris Mina and centre-back Eder Franco.
Early Opportunities For More Silverware
The 2031 campaign began with two opportunities to add more silverware as Envigado competed in Recopa Sudamericana against Copa Libertadores champions Corinthians then Súperliga BetPlay Dimyaor against Independiente Medellín.
First up, Envigado claimed possibly their biggest win so far as Ocampo and centre-back Rodolfo Vega earned a 2-1 win at home to Corinthians. But could they pull off a miracle in Brazil? Yes! A more cautious approach saw them somehow see off Corinthians’ 27 shots to nick a 1-1 draw thanks to Díaz’s first-half strike.
Apparently, Envigado had equalled a Súperliga record by going eight matches without winning. They broke that record with a 1-1 at Independiente but goals from Prince, Ocampo and left-back Oscar Arango’s first for the club sealed more silverware!
Apertura Season 10 Begins
The media and bookies now expect big things of Envigado, predicting them to finish third with odds of 11/2 to win Liga BetPlay. Ocampo and Prince are considered the best two players in the league with Díaz joining them in the media dream 11.
They began the season superbly as Díaz and Ocampo braces inspired a 4-0 win at Pasto then Ocampo went one better with a hat-trick to defeat Junior FC 3-1. Ronaldo Bermudez inspired a 3-2 win at home to Petrolera but the early season congestion with the cup competitions meant rotation was necessary and they went four without a win. But a mini-crisis hit as Ocampo, Redín and Prince all suffered serious injuries in the same training session, which saw another homegrown prospect step up in style.
Lazaró reached 600 games in charge of Envigado with a 4-1 win at Santa Fe, in which Bermudez and Ocampo’s replacement Mateo Acevedo both scored twice. Acevedo repeated the feat a week later to inspire a 4-1 win at home to Quindío, which suddenly had Envigado up to 4th, and again two weeks later in a 3-1 win over Depor. That had the young striker up to 11 goals in 10 games, so not a bad replacement for Ocampo! But he wasn’t done there as he went one better with a hat-trick in a 5-0 win at Santander, which more or less secured post-season qualification.
And that was lucky, as the final two league games were played on the Friday and Sunday after a continental game played on the Wednesday! So Lazaró threw all the kids in and they lost at Cúcuta but claimed an impressive 2-2 at Expreso Rojo. And that was enough to just about secure a 6th-place finish. Acevedo has the league’s second-best average rating of 7.80 with 11 goals in 11 games, but trails Once Caldas striker Carlos Viáfara, who’s bagged an outrageous 27 goals in 20 matches!
Copa Libertadores Group Stage
Fresh from winning Copa Sudamericana, Envigado were placed in Pot 1 of the Copa Libertadores group stage draw. That got them a decent draw – which, incidentally, saw Lazaró take on two sides he managed in a former life on his Aventuras Américas journey – alongside Alianza Lima, Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle and a qualifier that turned out to be Universidad Católica, who they played in last season’s Sudamericana semis.
They began at home to Católica and Ocampo and Prince goals earned a 2-0 victory and took control of the group with a 3-0 win in Ecuador and a 1-1 in Chile. Díaz’s last-minute goal nicked a 2-1 win at home to Alianza, which virtually sealed qualification. And they confirmed it in style as an Acevedo hat-trick led a 6-0 rout of 10-man Valle. Envigado concluded with a feisty trip to Católica in which both teams had a player sent off and Acevedo’s goal nicked a 3-2 victory to top the group in style.
Envigado were drawn in the more favourable post-season group alongside América, Bogotá and Junior. They began at home to Bogotá and eased to a 2-0 win through Vega and Díaz then two days later (ridiculous) a rotated side drew 0-0 at home to Junior. A rare chance to rest players was followed by an América double-header, which began with a 3-2 home win before an impressive 3-1 win in Cali, inspired by Prince scoring on his return and Acevedo’s late third.
A 1-1 at Bogotá thanks yet again to Acevedo’s goal moved Envigado to the top of the group and one point clear of Junior, who they visited in the final game. And a 2-1 win saw them secure the group unbeaten.
That teed up an Apertura Final against Nacional, with Envigado chasing four successive league stage titles! Ocampo returned after two months out for the home leg and scored but his defensive teammates let him down in a 3-2 defeat. That continued in the second leg as, despite taking an early lead through Malcom Mina Camacho’s penalty, they lost 2-1. But three consecutive league titles and four finals in a row is a pretty impressive achievement.
Another Trio Of Colombia Call-Ups!
Two more Envigado stars earned their first Colombia call-ups as Redín, Prince and Marimón made the squad in March, joining Ocampo and Marcelo Guzmán plus real players Felipe Parra and Yaser Asprilla. None of the trio made their debuts, but Envigado’s production of seven players in the national squad is more than double that of any other club. Guzmán, by the way, has scored 46 in 155 for Bordeaux and five in eight for Colombia.
Could Lazaró’s team push for another final in Finalización? And could they finally win a Copa Libertadores second-round tie? Join us on Monday to find out!
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