Wonderkid Factory | Part 31 | Record-Breaking Form

Fifteen years into life at Envigado, Robinho Lazaró had overseen the transformation of a club considered relegation favourites to the dominant team in Colombian football and competing with South America’s best.

Lazaró had achieved that feat relying solely on the youth prospects developed by Envigado’s wonderkid factory. So it’s worth reflecting on some of the players the club has produced to date.

The all-time best 11 features five players still at the club, with José Mosquera in goal, Andrés Mira at left-back, Rodolfo Vega at centre-back, Mateo Acevedo on the right wing and Edisón Borrero up top. The pick of those players has to be Borrero, who’s scored 184 goals in 179 games in all competitions and is just one goal behind Acevedo’s all-time club league record of 153.

Key players from the past include long-time captain Juan Manuel Zapata, who made 495 appearances and rejoined as an under 20s coach this season. Second on the appearances list is Jhon Banguera, who now plays in Brazil alongside the likes of Randi Redín, Ronaldo Bermudez and Jaiber Prince. Impressively, former strikers Marcelo Guzmán, who’s scored 122 in 332 games for Bordeaux, and Francisco Ocampo, who just moved to PSV at the end of his contract, can’t even make the all-time best 11 bench!

However, another one of that best 11 was departing the club in the summer of 2037 as Mira wouldn’t sign a new contract and joined Wolfsburg for £5m. Mina’s exit handed a significant opportunity to 18-year-old Jhohann Belalcázar, who looks like a good prospect and has been progressing nicely.

The promise in the squad was added to by a youth intake that was probably the worst in Lazaró’s time at the club. It produced the obligatory 5-star potential goalkeeper in Elían Arango but 4.5-star potential striker Yan de Armas looks a much better prospect and scored a hat-trick on his under 20s debut. Beyond that, there wasn’t too much to shout about, but 4-star potential talents midfielder José Zuluaga, left-winger Dennieer Menco, striker Juan Palacios, right-back Juan León and right-winger Elder Molinari could be worth keeping an eye on.

Lazaró Claims Trophy Number 25

Alongside their domination of the Colombian league, Envigado had won a record six Súperliga BetPlay Dimayor titles, which is essentially the Colombian super cup. Last season’s double sent them into another against Nacional, which they took control of with a 4-1 home leg victory led by an Acevedo brace. Then a first senior goal by left-back Ruyery Mendez nicked a 1-0 away win. And that saw Lazaró win his 25th trophy in charge of Envigado, with 11 cups and 14 league titles.

Finally Favourites For Apertura

After winning four on the bounce, Lazaró’s team was finally made favourites to win Liga BetPlay. They are 9/4 favourites followed by Millonarios (10/3) and Nacional (9/2).

The season began with 10 players on international duty at Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-17. But first-half goals by winger Cristian Gutiérrez and midfielder Gianfranco Bahoque sealed a 2-1 opening-day win at home to Santa Fe. And their man two men stepped up in the first away day as Acevedo opened the scoring then a Borrero brace sealed a 3-1 victory at América.

Young winger Jorge Rentería got his first league goal for the club in a 3-1 win over Expreso Rojo before Borrero scored two more, which saw him become the record league goalscorer in Envigado history. He surpassed teammate Acevedo with his 155th and 156th goals in just 157 games.

Rivals Águilas Doradas finished 2nd in Apertura 2030 then managed to get relegated, but they were back due to promotion in 2036. And they got a nice welcome back as first-half goals by Acevedo, Bahoque, Gutiérrez and Borrero led a 4-1 win. That set the tone for the start of the campaign, as Envigado won their first 10 games, including a late Jhon Medina brace in a 4-0 win at 10-man Petrolera and a Borrero double leading a 5-2 victory over Pereira.

That form continued even as five players were called up by Colombia as a heavily rotated team won 3-2 at Nacional, inspired by a goal and two assists from young winger Norberto Beltrán, then beat Bogotá 3-0 led by the exciting Yelkin Montero, who’s quietly become the best player at the club and has attracted the attention of Arsenal!

The first 11 returned to dominate Millonarios 3-1 away with Acevedo scoring inside four minutes then a second-half Borrero brace. That took Envigado onto a 13-match winning streak, which is just one behind the all-time record set by América in 1996. The record was equalled as a rare goal from holding midfielder Diego Mena nicked a 1-0 home win over nine-man Cortuluá. And it was smashed in style as a Borrero hat-trick led a 4-1 win at Santander.

That ridiculous form meant they topped the league with five games remaining, so Lazaró handed more chances to youngsters. That included handing de Armas his debut at home to Independiente and the 15-year-old took just seven minutes to score his first senior goal before wingers Beltrán and Sandoval made it 16 consecutive victories. The streak ended with a 0-0 at Cúcuta, but a backup 11 beat Fortaleza 2-0 then Borrero, Bahoque and Belalcázar’s first senior goal earned a 3-0 win at Cortuluá. That took Envigado to 30 league games unbeaten, which broke the Liga BetPlay record for most consecutive matches without defeat.

The unbeaten season eventually ended on the final day as a fully rotated squad only lost 3-2 to 2nd-place Deportivo Cali. But this was an impressive half-season!

Facing Flamengo Again!

Envigado finally defeated Brazilian champions Flamengo for the first time in their 16th meeting last season. And they were drawn in a group with Flamengo for the fifth time in the last 10 seasons alongside Caracas and Penarol.

They got the toughest game out the way first with a trip to Maracana, which they came into on the verge of a new club record winning streak. But that ended with a 3-0 defeat that allowed Lazaró to fine seven players for poor performance.

They got their campaign up and running with a dominant 4-0 win at home to Caracas with goals by Montero, Borrero, Acevedo and Bahoque. They backed that up with a 2-0 win in Uruguay thanks to centre-back Yaliston Hernández and Bahoque goals, but they were reliant on Mosquera saving an early penalty. Borrero’s brace earned a 3-1 win at home to Penarol that this time did set a new club record of 10 consecutive wins in all competitions.

Envigado booked their place in the knockouts in style as Acevedo scored two followed by goals from Montero, Borrero and Beltrán to crush Caracas 5-1 away. That took the pressure off and they finished the group with a bang, dominating Flamengo and winning 2-0 with an Acevedo penalty and a late Montero screamer. And that ensured 1st place in the group by one goal.

Seeking A Fifth Consecutive Apertura

After dominating the Apertura stage, Lazaró had rested his key players ready for a post-season group with Nacional, Cortuluá and Junior. They picked up where they left off with a 2-0 win over Nacional thanks to Montero creating Medina and Acevedo goals. Acevedo nicked a draw at Junior. Borrero missed those games with a knock but returned with a hat-trick to down Cortuluá 4-1.

His replacement Medina seemed to have seized control of the group with the only goal at Nacional. But two days later, an exhausted team lost 1-0 at home to Junior. However, Borrero and Gutiérrez eased them a 2-0 victory over Cortuluá to ensure another Final.

The Apertura Final saw Envigado take on Deportivo Cali, who reached a first final of this entire save and since winning Finalización in 2021. The away leg was up first and they dominated but couldn’t finish their chances, so settled for a 0-0 to take back to Polideportivo Sur. They also dominated the early stages of the second leg and Borrero eventually made it count following poor defending after 21 minutes. But they switched off and allowed Cali back into it then missed a host of chances in the second half so, yet again, it went to penalties.

The shootout started well as Mosquera saved the first penalty but Gutiérrez’s miss evened things up. Both teams scored their next two to go into sudden death and Mosquera stepped up again to save their sixth. Belalcázar had the chance to win it and coolly slammed the ball home to win yet another league stage title.

Envigado won their fifth successive Apertura and fifth straight Liga BetPlay league stage title!!

Delivering On Potential At Envigado

Envigado continue to lead national team production with centre-back Eder Franco earning his first Colombia call-up in March, joining teammates Acevedo, Borrero, Gutiérrez and Mena as well as Yaser Asprilla and previous wonderkid factory graduates Guzmán, who now has 29 goals in 57 caps, Marimón, Mira and Prince. Soon to be joining them could be converted right-back Diego Ceballos, who was named number nine on the NxGn 2037 list. And the club’s prodigious youth development was confirmed by topping the number of players in South America’s top divisions, with their 52 bettering Colo-Colo and Caracas’ 49.

The opening half of this season only confirms Envigado’s dominance in Colombia, smashing records left, right and centre en route to winning nine of the last 10 titles and 13 of the last 16!

Could Lazaró’s young squad maintain that dominance in the second half of 2037? Join us on Monday to find out!


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