Alejandro Hurtado has settled in Colombia, but it’s fair to say that he has endured a tough start to life at Tolima.
With a new league with a different format and different rules to adapt to, Hurtado has struggled to make the best of his first few months in Colombia.
In Chile each squad was allowed 7 foreign players with five allowed to play in the first XI. In Colombia that number drops to four foreign players permitted in the squad and just three in the match day squad. As such, Hurtado had to quickly appraise his current foreign players to see if changes were needed.
Five foreign players at the club at the beginning of Hurtado’s reign departed. These five players were deemed surplus to requirements from Hurtado’s point of view, either through a lack of quality or because of high wages.
Three foreign players remained to be part of Tolima’s squad which left one foreign space for Hurtado to fill.
Introducing Marcio Antonio. A Brazilian attacking midfielder could be the X-Factor that Tolima need the season. He is naturally an attacking midfielder through the centre but Hurtado will employ him out wide on the right wing.
In total Tolima brought in 9 players in the January transfer window, of which 3 will be first team regulars. The rest will form the spine of the squad.
Here is Wilson Pinzon. He will be the starting centre-midfielder in our side this season and looks to be a decent all-round Colombian player.
I couldn’t resist bringing this guy in: Cristian Montano. Any of you who have played lower-league English saves on FM may well have come across this player. We’ve bought him in as backup as his age is clearly affecting his attributes.
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Primera A – A Tough Start Indeed
Here is the tough start that we spoke about earlier. Despite an encouraging first two league games we somehow derailed after our first loss.
We kept just one clean sheet in these first ten games, that being in the first against Fortaleza. Much improvement was needed for the second half of the Opening Stage if we were to keep our job…
Five wins from ten matches was good enough, though we still only managed to finish 14th in the league.
In Colombia there are two seasons as mentioned in my previous post. At the end of the Apertura the top eight teams go into quarter finals. From this the winner of the knockout playoff is the champion of the Apertura.
For the sake of clarity, as the aim of VivaGlobetrotting is to win every top tier competition in South America we will say that to complete Colombia we need to win the Overall table (the combined results of the Apertura, Finalizacion and Playoffs).
Hurtado’s tough start was made tougher throughout the season as injuries hit several key players. Nelson Angulo, our key striker, missed seven weeks of the season, as did our first-choice centre-back Jhonny Vargas. Both of these were highlighted in our previous post as key men moving forward and to be without them hurt Tolima.
The other competition that we need to win to complete Colombia is the Colombian Cup.
I really like the format of this Cup. There are eight groups of four with the teams being those in the Primera A and B. 16 teams progress from these 8 groups to the 2nd Round.
In complete contrast to our league form, we stormed through our group without conceding any goals. We only scored in two of the six matches but remained undefeated.
The 7-0 away at our fierce rivals Huila was a brilliant game where our star man Marcio Antonio scored four.
The aim of the Finalizacion has to be top eight. It will be difficult but we were only 8 points of eighth place in the Apertura. We also want to perform well in the Colombian Cup.
Here is 16 year old forward Diego Zuluaga. Due to the injuries we suffered across the stage we bought him into the first-team and he has made a big impact, scoring twice and assisting 9 in his 12 starts.
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