After a two month wait, football is finally returning to Colombian
soil. The 2009 edition of the Copa Mustang I kicks off on Friday, as
the fans of 18 teams dream of winning the championship.
On the transfer market, some teams were more active than others. But ambitions will be the same everywhere as all 18 participating sides aim to finish within the top eight to secure a spot in the semi final phase.
Defending champions América de Cali get to open the tournament against Cúcuta Deportivo. A week after losing the friendly Copa CAFAM final because of penalties, América will be determined to win this time around. Cúcuta had a horrible Copa Mustang II last year and hope to do much better this year. Nevertheless, odds are certainly in América’s favour.
Independiente Medellín appear to be in good form, beating Uruguayan side Peñarol to advance to the group phase of the Copa Libertadores. Their first task of the domestic season could be harder, as the Paisas face Deportivo Pasto, not one of the best teams in the country.
Another attractive clash should be the one between La Equidad and Atlético Nacional, at Bogotá’s El Techo stadium. Both sides missed out on last year’s final and will want to make up for that this year. Bookmakers are slightly in favor of La Equidad for this particular match.
Millonarios, winners of their own Copa CAFAM last week, begin their league campaign at Junior in Barranquilla. The hosts are known to impress at home and are therefore favorites to collect three points from this game.
The remaining Bogotan side, Santa Fé, host newly promoted Real Cartagena at El Campín. Cartagena did well to earn their return to Colombia’s top flight but the real test starts now, and the Costeños are expected to struggle against the home side.
Deportivo Cali will travel to Antióquia to face Envigado. Whereas Cali are clearly the stronger side of these two, Envigado could well use their home advantage to at least secure a draw.
The league also includes Deportes Tolima, the side from Ibagué that tried to skip this Copa Mustang I due to financial problems. However, the association rejected their request and Tolima will have to play against Deportes Quindío on Sunday.
Full list of fixtures
América – Cúcuta (7:30pm)
Huila – Chicó (3:30pm)
Junior – Millonarios (6:20pm)