Wonderkid Factory | Part 22 | 50 Goals, 50 Goals, Acevedo

Robinho Lazaró oversaw a mass of sales and somehow dragged one of his youngest group of homegrown players so far to a sixth successive Liga BetPlay Dimayor league stage final. But the sales weren’t done there as another young starlet departed between the Apertura and Finalización stages.

Goalkeeper Frank Marimón had been called into the Colombia squad a few times but his performances weren’t up to standard as interest from elsewhere had seemingly distracted him. So when Monterrey came in and Lazaró negotiated them up to £6m with a 40% sell-on clause, he saw that as a good deal. He also sold on a couple of youngsters that weren’t developing with striker Juan Camilo Rojas going to Nacional for £185k and left-back Guillermo Sinisterra joining Xolos Tijuana for £100k. Lazaró also agreed a £13m fee with Tigres for Jaiber Prince, who rejected the move!

That saw Lazaró put his faith in youth with 18-year-old Marlon Pérez, 17-year-old José Mosquera and 16-year-old Nicolás Meneses his best keeper options. The squad overall is outrageously young, with an average age of just 19. While 16 of the 24-man squad are teenagers and only midfielders Randi Redín (23) and Ronaldo Bermudez (22) are older than 21.

Yet Another Bad Copa Libertadores Draw

Envigado’s Copa Libertadores second round misery continued as they were drawn against one of the favourites Palmeiras, who had the likes of Talles Magno. And their cause wasn’t assisted by four players swanning off to the Olympics.

The home leg was up first and they did well to score twice through attackers Mateo Acevedo and Alirio Plaza. However, they also conceded four times including a Luis Guilherme hat-trick. They also did well in Brazil as Acevedo scored twice but that man Guilherme scored another hat-trick to secure another 4-2 win and an 8-4 aggregate score. So, for the seventh successive time, Envigado lost in the Copa Libertadores second round!

Targeting A Strong Finalización Campaign

The Olympics players were also missing for the first four Finalización games. Regardless of that, Envigado started well with a 2-0 win at home to Expreso Rojo, thanks to goals by Redín and striker Luis Mendoza, then a 0-0 at Santa Fe. But the kids hit top form with a thumping 5-0 win over Apertura champions Junior FC led by an Acevedo brace and goals by his replacement Mendoza, Jaiber Prince and centre-back Rodolfo Vega.

The Olympians returned at home to Cali and one of them opened the scoring in a 3-1 win as Jonathan Arias headed home inside 10 minutes. Mendoza got a start at Pasto and scored again in a 1-0 victory but dropped back to the bench as Acevedo bagged a hat-trick in a 4-0 thumping of Bogotá. The main striker was at it again at Cúcuta, scoring twice in a 3-2 win to move to 36 goals for the season, just eight behind Francisco Ocampo’s club record of 44.

That win sent Envigado top of the league for the first time all season before a surprise 2-1 home loss to Once Caldas. But Acevedo inspired them back to winning ways with both goals at Petrolera and another brace in a 3-1 win over Quindío, which took the 20-year-old to 40 goals for the campaign. He added two more in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Millonarios, who raced into a 2-0 and 3-1 lead but Mendoza’s 92nd-minute strike sealed a point.

That left Envigado two points clear of Millonarios with five games remaining, while surprise package Orsomarso were six points back in 3rd. The run-in began well as an Acevedo penalty nicked a 1-0 win over Magdalena, while Millonarios lost to open up a five-point lead. But Envigado immediately handed that advantage back by losing 2-1 at Santander.

A rare two-week break ended by welcoming Orsomarso and Envigado nicked a close game 3-2 thanks to a Prince brace and a 90th-minute winner by Bermudez. An even later goal nicked a 3-2 win at Quindío, as winger Alirio Plaza celebrated his first for the club with a 95th-minute winner. Millonarios also won to take Envigado into the final day with a two-point lead.

They ended the league stage at home to local rivals Nacional. Acevedo had been away on international duty but returned to score the only goal and wrap up 1st place. That goal also tied Ocampo’s record as he moved to 44 goals for the season. He’s scored the league’s most goals (35), most player of the match awards (10) best average rating (7.68) from 37 matches, while Redín has the most assists (14) and Prince has the second-best average rating (7.40).

Finalización Post-Season

Envigado got a post-season group alongside Orsomarso, Junior and Santander, and this year the six fixtures were played over an 11-day period. Good one!

They began away to Santander and Acevedo smashed the goalscoring record with a hat-trick inside 38 minutes to lead a 5-1 thumping. Three days later, they travelled to Orsomarso and a heavily rotated side drew 3-3 with goals by Mendoza, winger Cristian Gutiérrez and Acevedo’s late equaliser. Two days later, the teams met again and Envigado won 3-0 with two Aria assists.

Acevedo also scored in that game to move two goals behind the all-time Liga BetPlay record for most goals in a season. Pedro Cabillón scored 42 goals for Millonarios in 1949, a record that has stood for 83 years. He couldn’t trouble the record in a 3-1 loss at Junior and was rested two days later as his replacement Mendoza scored both goals in a 2-2 with Junior. That left Envigado top on goal difference heading into the final game.

They were at home to bottom-side Santander and a thriller saw the hosts win 4-3 and secure a seventh successive league stage Final. But the main talking point was Acevedo scoring twice to equal the league scoring record and go past 50 goals for the season, prompting the chant of “50 goals, 50 goals, Acevedo” from the Envigado faithful, which is sure to stick.

A tasty Finalización Final saw league favourites Millonarios, who were in their first league final for four years, face Envigado chasing a fourth successive Finalización title. First up was a trip to Bogotá, where the hosts led early. Goals by Bermudez and Prince had Envigado ahead at the break but Millonarios got a deserved equaliser 20 minutes from time.

So the title boiled down to a big clash at Polideportivo Sur. Envigado started well and hit the post through Acevedo after six minutes. They soon took advantage of that good start as Vega headed home a corner five minutes later before Acevedo had a goal narrowly ruled out for offside. And they took control as a fantastic team move ended in Arias crossing for Bermudez to volley home. They allowed Millonarios back into the game with their first shot on target just after the break then VAR failed to award a penalty for a blatant foul on Acevedo! But they held on for a 4-3 aggregate win.

Envigado won their 4th successive Finalización title!!

Lazaró Becomes One Of South America’s Greatest

Lazaró’s 7th career league title saw him enter the South American Hall of Fame for the first time. He sits in 16th place on 1038 points, some way behind Flamengo’s Gabriel Milito, who’s won 17 trophies including four Copa Libertadores and five Série A titles and has 3200 points! Lazaró trails Colombia’s best Gabriel Ochoa by 332 points, and wasted no time in proclaiming himself “a special one.”

There’s no question who Envigado’s star man was this season as Acevedo obliterated the club’s goalscoring records with 51 goals in 54 games. He also set a new league average rating record of 7.69 and a new club record of 7.62. As a result, he unsurprisingly won Liga BetPlay Player and Young Player of the Year.

Behind him, Prince has been excellent with 22 goals, 15 assists and 7.39 average rating from 57 games. Arias and Redín topped the club’s assist chart with 17 each, while Bermudez got 15 goals and 12 assists and Mendoza scored 16 from 14 starts and 49 sub appearances (which has to be some kind of record in itself). But centre-back Vega deserves recognition for his 7.32 average rating from 56 appearances. And a special mention goes to Redín for a club-high 58 appearances!

Away from the first team, the U20s retained their U20 Division 1 title with striker Edisón Borrero leading the way with 46 goals in 28 matches, which was 30 more than any other player in the competition!

Could Lazaró hold on this season’s star players and taste more success in the 2033 campaign? Join us on Friday to find out!


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