La Liga Águila halfway talks

By bogotapost September 16, 2016
La Liga Águila

Independiente Medellin have gotten off to a good start to the season.

The Colombian league has reached round 11 and it is an open affair. None of the teams have secured a guaranteed top eight spot, which would mean qualification to the season finals.

Reigning champions Independiente Medellín started the season with aplomb. Leonel Álvarez’s side continued exactly where they left off last season, with solid tactics and match-winning performances. Goalkeeper David González, a perennial substitute throughout his career at numerous clubs, has risen from the ashes to make it into the Colombia squad, and the team is on the cusp of reaching the third round of the Copa Sudamericana.

However, it appears that the amount of games is starting to take its toll. Top goalscorer Leonardo Castro is out injured until the end of the season, playmaker Cristian Marrugo suffered an injury and Luis Carlos Arias is also out for a month. Without their main men it looks like they will have a tough schedule coming up, but they have a healthy point margin to fall back on.

The surprise so far has been Atlético Bucaramanga. Los Leopardos were in a tough relegation battle at the start of this season, but a great run of victories sees them amongst the leaders now. Deportivo Cali, under Colombia’s most capped international player Mario Yepes, are struggling. Camilo Vargas, Aquivaldo Mosquera and Abel Aguilar brought some national team experience into the side but they are yet to put together a string of good results. Yepes’ reputation at Cali gives him the credit he needs to stay in the job, but failing to qualify for the playoffs could cut short his managerial career at Los Azucareros to just one season.

In Bogotá, both Millonarios and Santa Fe have changed manager already this season. The teams from the capital are struggling to make the top eight, but there is still plenty of time to make that happen. However, they won’t have access to their homeground to reach that goal. The pitch at El Campín is being relaid and the stadium won’t open until at least November 20. The smaller Metropolitano el Techo stadium will see Millonarios aim for the playoffs, while Santa Fe are much more interested in defending their first ever international title, the Copa Sudamericana.

At the bottom of the table, it looks like the candidates for relegation have already been decided. Fortaleza, Bogotá’s fourth team, and Boyacá Chicó from Tunja are both twelve points behind the safety of 18th place. With only nine rounds left to be played it might be a safe bet to say they will soon be preparing themselves for the second division.

By Freek Huigen