Robinho Lazaró had taken Envigado FC from no trophies to two-time South American champions and just one title behind Millonarios’ all-time league title record.
Their 2039 Apertura success was their 19th in total, but also their seventh successive Apertura win and their 16th of the last 19 available! There was no doubting that Envigado were very much the dominant team in Colombian football.
Targeting 3 Successive Copa Libertadores
Envigado got a slightly easier draw than in recent years as they took on Argentinian side Estudiantes (LP). The away leg was up first and they fell behind early but dominated and got a deserved equaliser through Edisón Borrero. They dominated the home leg even more, preventing Estudiantes from having a shot on target as Gianfranco Bahoque and Borrero sealed a 2-0 win.
The quarter-final saw them face a tougher tie with Fluminense, in which a late goal from young striker Yan de Armas ensured they only lost the away leg 2-1. And they took control back at Polideportivo Sur as Bahoque scored early on before a brace from the brilliant Mateo Acevedo.
That sent Envigado into a fourth successive semi-final, where they took on Flamengo. They went to the Maracana and a feisty game saw Flamengo win 3-2 but have two players sent off late on while Envigado also had goalkeeper José Mosquera sent off after an hour. Ridiculously, they had nine players on international duty at the Pan-American Games for the return leg and they unsurprisingly lost again, but did really well to only lose 3-2. So the dream of three Copa Libertadores on the bounce was over.
Quest For Colombian Record Begins
The Finalización stage began with Lazaró celebrating his 1200th match at the club by defeating Santa Fe 3-1 with a hat-trick from de Armas. That began a strong start to the campaign, in which they went unbeaten for the first 10 games before a 3-2 defeat at leaders Nacional.
However, the form dropped off as the international call-ups left Lazaró massively short on players for the entirety of October, including a 4-1 defeat at table-toppers Millonarios. That poor form coincided with Borrero suffering an unusual 15-hour goal drought, but he broke it with the opener in a 2-0 win over Petrolera.
That seemingly sparked him back into form as his hat-trick inspired a 3-1 win over Fortaleza and took him to 40 goals for the season. Before he scored again in a 3-2 win over Independiente on the final day, which secured a 3rd-place finish.
Envigado got a potentially tricky group with Millonarios, Independiente and Cúcuta. They looked to be getting a bad start as they trailed 2-0 at home to Independiente, but de Armas got one back then midfielder Álvaro Polo scored an injury-time equaliser. Borrero scored back-to-back braces to move past 250 league goals for Envigado and inspire a 3-1 win at Cúcuta and 2-1 win at Independiente before a 0-0 at home to Millonarios.
They kicked into gear as Acevedo returned from injury to score alongside a Borrero double in a 5-1 thumping of Cúcuta. That teed up a final day decider at Millonarios, where a Bahoque goal was enough for a point, top place and yet another Final.
That teed up a Final against Nacional. The away leg was up first and they went behind after 32 minutes but centre-back Eder Franco immediately headed him an equaliser. And they nicked an away win with Acevedo’s second-half penalty. The second half was a terrible game in which nothing happened until an Acevedo free-kick bounced off the bar and Rodolfo Vega headed home the rebound for a 1-0 victory.
Envigado wrapped up a record-equalling 20th Liga BetPlay title!!
Lazaró’s side became the joint-greatest club in the history of Colombian football with their 10th successive Liga BetPlay title, winning both titles in the last five seasons. This year’s star man was undoubtedly Acevedo, who scored 30 and got 22 assists with a 7.55 average rating in 57 matches. That saw him defend his Liga BetPlay Player of the Year.
Pushing him close was Borrero, who scored a club-high 47 goals, de Armas with an impressive 25 goals and Bahoque with 16 goals and 16 assists in a ridiculous 65 appearances! While Vizcaino topped the Envigado assists chart with 25 and Juan Fernando Rivas chipped in with 16. And only two outfield players didn’t get an assist this season!
Could Lazaró make Envigado the most successful Colombian club ever in 2040? Join us on Monday to find out!
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