Soccer returns to Colombia this weekend as the country’s top league kicks off on Saturday. The question is which team will succeed reigning champions Junior.
Junior of Barranquilla beat Bogota side La Equidad in June’s final to win the first championship of the year and secure a spot in next year’s Copa Libertadores.
But whether this is enough for Junior remains to be seen, as they will surely want to become the first team to win both championships in one year since Atletico Nacional in 2007.
Junior begin their championship campaign against Deportivo Pereira on Saturday, but the first match of the season is to be played a few hours earlier with Santa Fe hosting Independiente Medellin for a high-profile match in Bogota.
Both Santa Fe and Medellin are candidates for the title and Saturday’s result may well reveal which team is most likely to compete for the top spot.
On Sunday, losing finalists La Equidad play an away match to Deportes Quindio, one they should be able to win. Atletico Huila host America de Cali, Boyaca Chico reveive Cortulua, Cucuta Deportivo face Envigado and Deportes Tolima visit Deportivo Cali later in the night.
Only sixteen teams will play this weekend as Nacional and Millonarios begin their season a week later.
The Colombian league is traditionally hard to predict, with a large number of teams capable of winning the trophy. The opening round of matches may well give some more clarity on what to expect this season.
Saturday, July 17
6:20PM Santa Fe – Medellin
8:30PM Junior – Pereira