Cuadrangulares semifinales: análisis de las finales de la Liga BetPlay – Fútbol Colombiano – Deportes

200 games have already been played in the 2022-I League, but the fight for the first star of the year is really going to start next weekend, with eight teams starting from scratch and with a panorama in which what has been done so far, thinking about the title, will only serve as a tiebreaker.

Millonarios, Nacional, Junior and Bucaramanga, in group A, and Tolima, Medellín, Envigado and La Equidad, in group B, are the contenders for the crown. For the accumulated in the campaign of the first 20 dates, it would be assumed that the heads of series, Millos and Tolima, are the favorites. However, the championship system and history have amply demonstrated that this is not always in your favor.

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For example, the results of the all-against-all phase do not help Millonarios, thinking about the possibility of going to the final (see table). They only beat Junior, tied with Bucaramanga and lost against Nacional at home, in their only loss of the semester in Bogotá.

(In context: League: this is the schedule of the semi-final homers)

“The eight that arrive is because they made merit. Others who arrived in a hurry, others who were already there. The home runs will be difficult. All eight will want to be champions. We will try to improve and climb, to do our best to fight for the title. It is an achievement of the boys, every day they evolve, they mentalize”, said Gamero.

Three of the semifinalists of the League will also have the responsibility of fighting in international tournaments. Deportes Tolima, which qualified second and has been dosing its payroll thinking about the three fronts, counting the Colombia Cup, has a key match against América Mineiro on Wednesday, thinking of reaching the round of 16. And furthermore, after the first date of the home runs, against Envigado, he will have to travel to Brazil to play against the toughest rival in his group, Atlético Mineiro. Fortunately for them, if they advance, those games will be after the first champion of the year is known.

In the same situation are Junior and Medellín, who still have options to continue in the South American, more the first than the second. The team led by Juan Cruz Real has the advantage that it does not have more international trips: the two remaining games in that tournament will be at home, against Oriente Petrolero and Unión de Santa Fe. Medellín, on the other hand, will have to play in Brazil on Tuesday, against Internacional, to then close at ‘home’ against Guaireña, in Pereira.

“In these teams you always have to win. Now the best is coming, they are important and definitive matches
both in the South American and in the League. We arrived well, we arrived strong. It’s time to show it on the pitch this month”, said Junior’s coach, Juan Cruz Real.

For his part, Julio Comesaña, the Medellín coach, bets on them, now, on all fronts. “In the South American we are two points away and with the two rivals close, we are going to fight until the end. The classification in the League has been deserved, I don’t choose rivals. We must study them again and if we want to reach the final, we have to win everything”, he explained.

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National, with the obligation to get back on track

Apart from Millonarios, another one that has a huge responsibility is Nacional, which has not been a league champion since 2018. The end of the campaign was not good: they did not win any of the last five games. But the record against his group rivals favors him, except for Bucaramanga, which was the game that cost DT Alejandro Restrepo his job.

“You worry about those results. From now on, it’s a clean slate, we need the support of the fans, we’ll start from scratch and we have the team prepared to face the home runs in the best way”, said the DT, Hernán Darío Herrera.

Envigado, La Equidad and Bucaramanga are meritorious, considering that they have fewer resources than the others classified and, even, they finished above historical ones such as Santa Fe, América and Cali, which closed the semester with painful failures, especially the latter, which came from being champion and finished penultimate, in its worst campaign since 1955.

“When I arrived at the club I told the players to think as if they were their own company and to start building a project,” Bucaramanga coach Armando Osma said.

The draw for the home runs was ready. The table is served. Next weekend the party starts.

Joseph Orlando Ascension
Sports Sub-Editor