A New Direction | Tolima: Colombia #6 | Football Manager Stories

Welcome to part 19 of VivaGlobetrotting, the story of Alejandro Hurtado and his quest to win each top tier South American competition.

Hurtado is currently in Colombia where he is managing Primera A side Tolima. He is also manager of the Colombian national side having been hired just over a year ago in 2025.

However, after the gutting events of the previous season, Hurtado decided that 2026 would be his last season with Deportes Tolima before moving on in a new direction. And with the 2026 World Cup coming up in July, it would prove to be a difficult season to manage.

Copa Libertadores

To complete the Colombian leg of our challenge, we would need to win the Apertura and Finalizacion (or the Overall league table).

Thanks to the performance of Tolima last year, we were entered into the Copa Libertadores 1st Preliminary Round. Here we played Mexican side Pachuca.

pachuca-home

pachuca-away

After the first leg, although we were delighted with the win we were also dispondent at conceding what could be a vital away goal.

However we dominated the away leg, winning 3-1. This set up and 2nd Preliminary Round tie against Argentinean club Rosario Central.

v-rosario-2nd-leg-loss

But unfortunately we were outplayed by a strong side, losing 3-1 over two legs.


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Primera A – Apertura 2026

league-form-apertura

Patchy. Our form, especially towards the end of the stage, fell away from us. We played well in patches, but either struggled to score or struggled to defend. We never managed to both attack and defend well at the same time.

This cost us as we finished in 5th in the league. But, as is customary in Colombia, we still had the chance to win the Apertura through the 8 team playoff. We drew Millonarios in the Quarter Final.

millonarios-1st-leg

In the 1st leg we threw away a 2 goal lead to lose 3-2. Alejandro Hurtado berated his players, both to their face and to the press. After losing three finals on penalty’s the previous season it was ever more vital to build up a big lead moving into the second leg.

millonarios-2nd-leg

Indeed, Tolima were duly knocked out of the Apertura race by drawing 2-2, conceding a 90th minute equaliser to avoid the penalty shootout.

A New Direction

The inability to win the Apertura signalled the end of the line at Tolima. Despite his best intentions, Alejandro Hurtado just couldn’t find the spark between himself and Tolima that existed with Union San Felipe.

Perhaps another year could lead to success, but with the World Cup looming, Hurtado decided that it would be best for both parties to resign from his role as Deportes Tolima manager.

hurtado-steps-down

 


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Thanks for reading this FM17 story. The next VivaGlobetrotting post to be released will focus on the 2026 World Cup as Hurtado leads Colombia into the tournament.

VivaLaVidaFM

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