Wonderkid Factory | Part 30 | Penalty Shootout Drama

A fourth successive Apertura stage title saw Envigado establish their dominance in Colombian football. Robinho Lazaró had led his fully homegrown team to three successive titles, seven of the last eight and ten of the last 13.

The big challenge still eluding the manager was success in the biggest competition of the lot, Copa Libertadores. However, that hurdle was proving much more problematic to clear.

Nightmare Copa Libertadores Draw

Despite winning their group, Envigado were handed the toughest possible Copa Libertadores second-round draw against Flamengo. In 14 previous meetings with Flamengo, Envigado have lost 13 and drawn one, conceding 45 and scoring just 13. So this was the nightmare scenario for Lazaró, but he had to take solace from Flamengo only getting nine points in their group.

Lazaró took a more cautious approach to the away leg and it didn’t start well as Flamengo walked through his defence to score twice in 14 minutes. So he changed up the approach, and midfielder Juan Fernando Rivas immediately got one back and Edisón Borrero swiftly equalised with a delicious chip. It got even better as Mateo Acevedo gave them an unlikely lead just before the break. But Flamengo battered them in the second half and eventually got the equaliser and an injury-time winner.

The second leg proved equally thrilling as Flamengo again scored their first shot and dominated the early stages. But Borrero was sent through and coolly finished after half an hour then winger Cristian Gutiérrez curled in a delicious free-kick. Flamengo equalised immediately after the break but Acevedo won a penalty and converted it to move them level on aggregate. Then a superb Gutiérrez through-ball put Borrero clean through again and, of course, he converted the opportunity. Acevedo then got himself sent off for a horror challenge so Lazaró went on full defensive mode. He thought it had gone horribly wrong in injury time but a Flamengo goal was cancelled out for offside by VAR. So Envigado held on for their first-ever win over Flamengo!

However, their reward for that success was a tie with Palmeiras, who they’d also not beaten in six previous meetings. They put in a great effort away from home despite again conceding the first shot. Rivas got them level just after half-time but a penalty earned the Brazilians a 2-1 win. But it was a very even clash with Palmeiras edging it by 14 shots to 13.

The second leg started with an absolute gift as a Palmeiras defender booted a clearance into Acevedo’s face and it rebounded into the goal. Three minutes later, Acevedo sent Borrero through to double the tally but Palmeiras got back into it just before the break. The visitors took control in the second half but midfielder Yelkin Montero picked out a great pass to send Borrero through to double his tally. But Palmeiras again levelled up the tie on 70 minutes, and the game ended 3-2. And that meant penalties.

Palmeiras scored their first and Acevedo followed suit as did both the second penalty takers. But José Mosquera came up big to save Palmeiras’ third and Gianfranco Bahoque put Envigado ahead. Both teams scored their fourth before Mosquera made another save from their fifth. And that inspired another giant-killing to send Envigado into the semis for the second time!

Another Brazilian team followed in Internacional, who Envigado had actually beaten twice in eight meetings. The away leg was first up again and Lazaró’s negative tactics worked a treat as Mosquera repelled all of Internacional’s 17 shots to earn a 0-0.

Envigado got an early opportunity but Acevedo’s penalty was brilliantly saved. And the second leg was equally dire and again drifted to a 0-0 draw. Both teams scored their first four penalties only for Acevedo to miss again, but Mosquera responded by saving their fifth. Both teams scored their next two but left-back Andrés Mira missed and Internacional won it 7-6 on penalties. Lazaró was devastated to have come this close and lose out on penalties, especially seeing two internationals Acevedo and Mira miss the key penalties. But simply getting this team to the semis was an impressive achievement.

Slightly Shaky Finalización Form

Finalización began with a bit of a thriller at home to Bogotá, who scored their first shot and both of their shots on target. But luckily Borrero, Acevedo and Rivas scored three of Envigado’s 30 shots. Lazaró rested the first team for the Flamengo return leg but a fully changed 11 won 2-1 at Millonarios with goals by winger Norberto Belrán and midfielder Cristian Ortíz, which shows just how good this Envigado squad has become!

Another good start saw six wins on the bounce before a rotated side got thumped 4-0 by early pacesetters Once Caldas, who are managed by Lazaró’s former assistant Ezequiel Bustamante. More enforced rotation followed and they lost several more games but a Borrero hat-trick got them back on track with a 4-0 win over Independiente.

And somehow, with three games remaining, they were still third. Lazaró reached 1,000 games in charge of Envigado with a 3-1 win over Pereira. A mass of internationals saw huge rotation at Cortuluá but a Jhon Medina hat-trick inspired a 3-2 victory to give them an outside chance of nicking first place on the final day.

The league stage concluded by welcoming 2nd-place Nacional and a Borrero brace earned a 2-1 win that lifted them above their rivals.

Seeking Four Successive Titles

Finishing 2nd probably gave Envigado a tougher post-season group alongside Millonarios, Junior and Independiente Medellín. They began away to Millonarios and Borrero and Montero strikes either side of half-time earned a 2-1 win. Then a Medina brace and Acevedo penalty (now he decides to score one) earned a 3-1 win at Junior before a 1-1 with Millonarios.

But now the fixture chaos kicked in with the final three games played over six days. A fully rotated side drew 1-1 at home to Independiente, which just about kept them top of a tight group. Two days later, the local rivals met again and a stronger team won 3-0 with goals by Acevedo, centre-back Rodolfo Vega and Medina. Envigado would progress barring a big defeat at home to Junior on the final day, and they managed it in style with a 5-1 victory led by Borrero, who scored the fastest goal in league history inside 11 seconds, and Bahoque braces.

For the fifth time in four seasons, the league stage final pitted Envigado against Nacional, who’ve lost their previous five final appearances. A lively start saw Nacional score after three minutes and Bahoque equalise two minutes later. Nacional regained the lead after half an hour and Envigado eventually levelled things up through Borrero’s 48th of the season on 75 minutes.

Envigado started the second leg well as Borrero tucked home after eight minutes, only to concede twice to Nacional striker Daniel Restrepo. Lazaró laid into his team at half-time and eventually got the desired result as Acevedo scored from a narrow angle on 64 minutes. And, predictably, it ended in a draw that meant a third penalty shootout of the season.

Both teams scored their first five penalties to send it into sudden death. Rivas tucked home Envigado’s sixth and Nacional full-back Gómez hit his miles wide.

Envigado won back-to-back Apertura and Finalización titles!!

Reflecting On A Positive Campaign

A big positive to take from this season was that Envigado had beaten the champions of Argentina and Brazil this season, finishing ahead of Boca Juniors in their Copa Libertadores group then defeating Flamengo in the knockouts.

The main man of the season has again been Borrero, who scored 49 and got seven assists in 53 appearances with a 7.62 average rating. He also set a new Liga BetPlay record 14 player of the match awards, which saw him win the league’s Player and Young Player of the Year for a third year in a row.

Pushing him close was Acevedo, who scored 22 and got 16 assists in 48 appearances, and Gutiérrez, who got a club-high 25 assists with six goals in 43 appearances. And they came second and third in the Player of the Year award. Rivas got an impressive 18 assists and his midfield partners chipped in as Bahoque scored 11 and got nine assists and Montero got 11 assists and three goals. While Medina scored 21 in 46, of which just 21 were starts.

Lazaró believed he’d very much established Envigado as easily the best team in Colombia, having won four league titles in a row, eight of the last nine and 12 of the last 15. However, the Libertadores run gave him hope and belief that they could compete with the best in South America.

Could Lazaró lead Envigado to continental glory in 2037? Join us on Friday to find out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Uncovering The Unsolved

Exploring history's greatest unsolved crimes and mysteries


Writing Football Manager content about some of the oldest football clubs in the world.

Load FM Writes

A written home for my Football Manager and Football ramblings.

Robilaz Writes

Freelance copywriter and content creator

Kartoffel Kapers

(Hopefully) making The Potato Beetles bigger than Jesus


Football Manager 2022 blogs

Dave Goodger FM

Musings from a Football Manager 2022 player as I attempt to manage my way across Europe and reach the very top.

%d bloggers like this: