3 Penalty Shootouts in 3 Finals | Tolima: Colombia #5 | Football Manager Stories

In the last part of VivaGlobetrotting, we saw our Chilean manager Alejandro Hurtado experience defeat in the Apertura Final, losing out to Atletico Nacional in a penalty shootout.

Since then, Deportes Tolima have performed against the odds to reach two more domestic finals, la Finalizacion Final and the Colombian Cup Final. Could Hurtado and his men atone for their loss in the Apertura?

La Finalizacion 2025

You last saw us after eight games in the final stage of the Colombian season. Tolima sat second having won seven of their opening 8 games.


From here we went on to finish in 5th place. We fell off towards the end of the season despite our promising start, however as long as we finish eight or above it doesn’t really matter. In the Colombian Primera A the top eight teams go into a knockout tournament to decide the stage winner.



Our record of 13 wins, 3 draws and 4 losses is identical to the Apertura and so finishing two places lower didn’t really matter to Alejandro Hurtado.

From here, Deportes Tolima would need to progress through four matches before reaching the Final (each round, including the final, is played over two legs).

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The Colombian Cup

By the end of the previous part we had reached the Semi-Final of the Colombian Cup. This is the main Cup in Colombia and so to complete the Colombian stage of our challenge (which is to win each top tier competition in the playable South American FM nations) we need to win it.

We progressed through the Semi-Finals, as expected, although the task was made harder by a stubborn and resilient Rionegro Aguilas of the second-tier. In the Final we played Medellin…

Colombian Cup Final starting XI (2nd Leg in brackets)

GK: German Zuniga

DR: Darwin Molina

DC: Jonathan Urrutia

DC: Francisco Munoz

DL: Jorge Roa (Juan Celaya)

MC: Wilson Pinzon (Sergio Nunez)

DMC: Victor Vega (Marlon Galvao)

MC: Miguel Molina

AMC: Emmanuel Zurbriggen (Gabriel Higuita)

AMC: Charles Tieppo Paz

ST: Diego Zuluaga (Emmanuel Zurbriggen)

For the first leg at home we were without both Marlon Galvao and Marcio Antonio, which meant that youngster Diego Zuluaga would start upfront allowing Zurbriggen to fill up the AMC role.

Victor Vega replaced Galvao, a standard swap over the course of the season, which meant that our side was close to being our full strength side.

However the lack of creativity up top hurt us, and despite being defensively solid we were unable to create any chances to kill off the game. We drew our first leg 0-0.

The Second Leg

For the second leg we were hurt with several injuries pre-game. Jorge Roa injured himself in training, meaning he would not only miss the Final but the rest of the season too. Wilson Pinzon was also ruled out of the match with a slight niggle.

In attack Gabriel Higuita came in for Zuluaga, meaning Zurbriggen could move back into his favoured striker position.

This move proved successful, as in the 22nd minute Zurbriggen scored Tolima’s only goal of the game. However Medellin equalised soon after and pressed for a winner. Our defence held firm, lead by ball-winning midfielder Galvao, and we drew the match 1-1.

This meant that the Colombian Cup Final would be decided by a penalty shootout, our second of the season.


Heartbreak for Hurtado. Turmoil for Tolima.

Charles Tieppo-Paz, our star signing over the summer, missed the crucial penalty that lost us the shootout. Emmanuel Zurbriggen missed his penalty too. Both men were first to put their hands up to take a penalty, they are understandably devastated.

La Finalizacion

After finishing fifth in the final stage of the Colombian season, we were drawn against Junior in the Quarter Final.


We beat Junior 5-2 over two legs. This win meant we would go on to play Pereira in the Semi-Final.

Both Junior and Pereira are teams that we would usually be heavy favourites for, and as such we can be pleased with how the draw panned out for us.


The first-leg against Pereira was played away from home. We drew 0-0 which put us in a strong position moving into the home leg. Indeed, we took advantage of playing in front of our own fans as we progressed through to the Finalizacion Final.

Another Penalty Shootout?

As we played Pereira, Atletico Nacional faced off against Medellin. These two sides have already ended our hopes of a trophy so far this season, with Atletico beating us in the Apertura Final (on penalties).

Leg One

0′ – Deportes Tolima without Charles Tieppo-Paz and Jorge Roa. Emmanuel Zurbriggen leads the line having scored 40 goals so far this season

24′ – Medellin take the lead after a brilliant passing move

45′ – At half-time Tolima are still well in the match, albeit trailing 1-0. With this being our home leg we need a better result at the end of the match

65′ – An equaliser! It comes courtesy of an own-goal from Medellin, but this is our way back into the tie

70′ – Idiotic challenge from central-midfielder Wilson Pinzon results in a red card. This could be the beginning of the end for us in this match

73′ – Medellin immediately take advantage of the extra man. Guillermo Florez slots in an easy finish to give his team the lead

78′ – Deportes Tolima are back in the match, Marcio Antonio hits a beauty to equalise. 2-2

83′ – EMMANUEL ZURBRIGGEN scores!!! A brilliant comeback from the ten men of Tolima! GOLAZOOOOOOOOOO

Full-Time: Deportes Tolima 3-2 Medellin

An incredible fightback from our team after going down to ten men. It sets up our second match to be a thriller.

Leg Two

0′ – Tolima are without injured Tieppo-Paz and Jorge Roa, and after the 1st leg Wilson Pinzon is suspended

1′ – Disaster for Tolima as Medellin cancel out the 1st leg one goal advantage. Just 14 seconds into the match as Flores scores his second goal of the two-legged tie

67′ – Medellin double their lead as they score a penalty… 0-2 (3-4)

88′ – Gabriel Higuita nets the most important goal of his career as he forces a penalty shootout in the Finalizacion Final. 4-4 after two legs

Full-Time: Deportes Tolima 4-4 Medellin


Take a look at our penalty shootout as it happened. Deportes Tolima are playing in white and will take the first penalty. Vamos Tolima, third time lucky!

Have you watched the penalty-shootout yet??

An incredible season for Deportes Tolima. With different luck, we could have seen a season which ended with three trophies. Instead, we see it end with none.

Three penalty-shootout losses from three finals. Devastated.

  • Apertura Final: Lost v Atletico Nacional on penalties
  • Colombian Cup Final: Lost v Medellin on penalties
  • Finalizacion Final: Lost v Medellin on penalties

What now for Alejandro Hurtado?

Can Alejandro Hurtado move on from this season of hurt? It will be a big task picking up his side from these losses. The Apertura final defeat was expected, and despite it being on penalties our morale remained high.

However losses in BOTH the Colombian Cup and Finalizacion finals have cracked the resolve of our squad and it will take a strong leader to pick up the pieces. Is Hurtado the man for the job?

With the aim of this series being to win each top tier competition in the South American nations, Colombia could have been completed had we won each of our three finals. In the end we have made no progress towards completing Colombia.

To complete Colombia we need to win EITHER the Apertura, Finalizacion and Colombian Cup OR the Colombian Primera A (Apertura + Finalizacion combined) and the Colombian Cup.

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Thank you for reading this VivaGlobetrotting post. I hope you are enjoying the series so far and if you have any thoughts on this post or the series feel free to post them in the comments below!


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