Another season of the Copa Conmebol Libertadores has started and here we analyze how the performance of the Colombian clubs could be in this edition .
Photos: IG-cdtolima, IG-deportivocalioficial
LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González
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Leer en español: ¿Qué esperar de los clubes colombianos en la Copa Libertadores?
The ball began to roll in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world of soccer: the Copa Conmebol Libertadores. The 32 clubs already know which rivals they will face during the group stage and based on that they have made calculations to determine if they will get a place in the round of 16 or if, on the contrary, they will have an extra opportunity by qualifying for the Copa Sudamericana. Of course, none of them have plans to finish last and they will do everything possible to continue competing until they reach the final.
As in any major tournament, a qualifying stage is played before the start of the group stage, and the Copa Libertadores has three preliminary stages to define the last four classifieds. Precisely, in these instances, the Colombian clubs Millonarios and Atlético Nacional, who could not prevail over Fluminense and Olimpia, respectively, fell by the wayside. However, there are two other teams from the coffee country that will be there from the start of this edition: Deportes Tolima and Deportivo Cali. What can we expect from them?
Tolima and its Great Present
The champion of the 2021 Opening Tournament lives a magnificent present at the football level. In fact, he was very close to revalidating his title in the Finalization Tournament, but in the final, he ran into a Deportivo Cali that had more than just luck. Prior to the start of this Copa Libertadores 2022, those led by Hernán Torres Oliveros fought for the top positions in the Colombian tournament and hope to maintain the same trend to advance as far as possible in the international competition.
Tolima did not have easy rivals and we will surely see a very intense dispute to try to be among the first two in the group. On the first date they will host Atlético Mineiro in Ibagué, while on the next two they will visit Independiente del Valle in Quito and América Mineiro in Belo Horizonte. It should be noted that the wine and gold club was paired in the only group with two Brazilian clubs, so the effort must be doubled.
Without a doubt, the rivals to beat will be Independiente del Valle and Atlético Mineiro . To do this, the team will have to rely on the genius of players like Anderson Plata, Yohandry Orozco, and the goalscoring contribution of Luis Miranda. Being first is difficult, finishing second is what they expect, while third place is the minimum they have to achieve. Will they make it?
Deportivo Cali: a Cup to Vindicate
It has been an unforgettable start to the season. And it is that after winning the 2021 Completion Tournament, Deportivo Cali finds itself wandering in the lower part of the Dimayor 2022 league table. Many wonder how such an atrocious fall was possible for the team led by Rafael Dudamel, who will have a (possible) last chance to carry out a project that deserves more. For this, they will try to vindicate themselves in the Copa Libertadores and thus achieve the necessary momentum to improve the results.
But if the bad present they are experiencing was not enough, Deportivo Cali has been dealt an extremely difficult group. The debut will be at home and they will do it against a great from Argentina like Boca Juniors, always the favorite to win their groups. Then, they will have two visits that look close and they will be to São Paulo to face Corinthians and La Paz to measure themselves in height against Always Ready. One detail to consider is that the Brazilian team, beyond being a favorite, has not played the Copa Libertadores since 2018.
What to expect from the Dean in this Libertadores? Getting points from Boca and Corinthians will be the main objective, but without neglecting the always dangerous Bolivian team. For this, Rafael Dudamel will have to continue trusting in the potential of some of his most decisive players such as the Chilean Sebastián Leyton or the Colombians Kevin Velasco and Teófilo Gutiérrez. For his present, third place will be more than a prize.