Envigado FC moved into the 2040s level with Millonarios as the joint-most successful club in Colombian history with 20 league titles to their name. Robinho Lazaró was keen to extend that record and establish Envigado as number one.
A big change over the summer was triggered by goalkeeper José Mosquera revealing he didn’t want to renew his contract at the club. Lazaró wasted no time in taking advantage of the considerable prolonged interest in him and eventually negotiated £15m out of Flamengo. That saw the pressure move onto 20-year-old Amaury Brochero and 6ft 5in 19-year-old Osnar Becerra to fill the gloves of Mosquera’s 299 league appearances.
Lazaró was beginning to get worried about the lack of quality coming through recent youth intakes. But that changed with a much-needed good intake in January 2040. The pick of the players is probably 6ft 4in midfielder Killiam Garza closely followed by attacking midfielder Joan Zuniga and centre-back Filippo Rossi. Also worth keeping an eye on are brilliantly named midfielder Stalin Valoyes, striker Jaime Julio and goalkeeper Alexis Antonio Prescott.
Quest For Title 21 Begins
Envigado continued to be overwhelming title favourites at 8/11 to lift Liga BetPlay again. Nacional have jumped to 2nd favourites at 9/1 ahead of Millonarios at 11/1.
The new decade began with an easy 3-0 win at Santa Fe led by an assist hat-trick from wonderkid winger Juan José Vizcaino, including Edisón Borrero’s 255th league goal for the club. Vizcaino backed that up by scoring a hat-trick along with a Mateo Acevedo brace and a Borrero goal in a 6-2 hammering of Bogotá. And the flying start continued with a 3-0 win at Tolima.
That setup a five-game winning start before a rotated side lost 3-1 at Junior. But a Borrero hat-trick got them back on track with a 3-1 win at Santander, which sparked another strong run including a 2-0 win at local rivals Nacional and Acevedo scoring twice in a wild 5-3 win at Cortuluá. A calmer victory saw Gianfranco Bahoque and Borrero seal a 2-0 win at home to Once Caldas, which took Envigado top with three games remaining.
An Acevedo brace and a late strike from young attacker Yan de Armas moved them three points clear and an early Borrero brace set up a 5-1 win over Cortuluá to top the table with one game spare.
Tough Copa Libertadores Group
Envigado were dealt a tricky-looking Copa Libertadores group alongside two Brazilian sides Operário Ferroviário and Santos and Peruvian side Juan Aurich. They began with a must-win game in Peru and got the desired result as centre-back Yaliston Hernández’s late header earned a 1-0 victory.
But they struggled to a 2-1 defeat at home to Santos before Borrero’s early goal gave them something to hang onto at Operário, which they did until a cruel but deserved 93rd-minute equaliser. They improved to win 3-0 at home to Juan Aurich with goals from Acevedo, Borrero and Rodolfo Vega, which left them 2nd with two games to play. Next up was a tricky trip to Santos, which wasn’t looking good as the hosts scored in the first minute. But Envigado dug deep and two goals in six minutes from a Yelkin Montero free-kick and a tidy Borrero finish earned them a massive victory.
Elsewhere, the other two sides drew 0-0 in Peru, so Envigado went top of the group and confirmed qualification before hosting Operário. But, despite a 3-1 win led by a Borrero brace, they finished 2nd based on results between teams as Santos beat Juan Aurich 4-0, which saw the two sides finish with identical records.
Envigado got a relatively straightforward group with Pereira, América de Cali and Junior FC. Early goals by Borrero and Acevedo gave them a good start in a 2-0 win at Junior before thumping Pereira 4-1 at home. They seized full control of the group as winger Norberto Beltrán scored twice in a 5-1 win at home to América then drew a crazy match 3-3 at home to Junior and repeated the feat as a fully rotated side drew 3-3 at América. But a first-half Borrero brace and Acevedo goal then a late Vizcaíno strike helped them top the group with a 4-0 win at Pereira.
That teed up a Final against local rivals Independiente Medellín with a chance to win a record 21 titles. However, that was made more difficult as key players Acevedo, Montero, Diego Mena, Ceballos and Hernández missed the Final due to being called up to the Colombia squad for Copa América and Bahoque was out injured. However, the good news was that at least half of Lazaró’s first team had been dropped by the Colombia manager.
The first leg was away and a first Envigado goal for right-back Juan León and midfielder Álvaro Polo earned a narrow 3-2 defeat despite being dominated by 15 shots to eight. More goals flowed as Polideportivo Sur served up a classic. Envigado started well ad got their reward as Juan Fernando Rivas slid in Vizcaino to open the scoring on 12 minutes. Independiente scored their first shot on target after an hour before holding midfielder Aldemar Trivino fired home from 30 yards for his first goal of the season. However, the visitors swiftly made it 2-2 on the night and went 5-4 ahead on aggregate.
Five minutes later, midfielder Juan Fernando Morales took advantage of some wayward defending to level the tie with his first goal of the season. Lazaró took off Beltrán to bring on de Armas, who moved to the left with Vizcaíno switching to the right. And the youngster had an immediate impact, latching onto a clearance down the left, turning back and swinging in a great cross for Morales to rise highest and hammer a header past the keeper. Lazaró went into full defensive mode and they held on for a 4-2 win on the night and 6-5 aggregate success.
Envigado FC became the most successful Colombian club ever with their 21st Liga BetPlay title!!
Lazaró had effectively completed his mission to transform a small club with great youth production into the greatest Colombian team ever solely relying on homegrown prospects. Little Envigado had surpassed Millonarios as the most successful Colombian club as they collected their 21st title.
Their manager wasn’t 100% sure what to do next. However, he did decide to give it until at least the end of the 2040 campaign to see if he could bring more success to Envigado.
Borrero continues to be the main source of goals with 29 in 31 games followed by Acevedo with 15 goals and six assists in 27 games. But the star man this first half of the season has been Viczaíno, whose racked up an incredible 24 assists and seven goals in 31 games. That’s just six behind the club record set by Luis Ángel Díaz way back in 2029.
Could Lazaró bring even more success in the second half of 2040? Join us on Monday to find out!
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