Atlético Bucaramanga and its path to the grand final of Colombian professional football

Atlético Bucaramanga and its path to the grand final of Colombian professional football
Atlético Bucaramanga and its path to the grand final of Colombian professional football

Different historical campaigns rest in the memory of the followers of Atlético Bucaramanga, such as the third places in 1958 and 1960 with Norberto Peluffo and Juan Barbieri; and it is impossible to leave aside the one from 1997, when the ‘auriverde’ club achieved runners-up status against América de Cali and obtained a place in the Copa Libertadores.

Now, the history of the ‘Leopardo’ club will also talk about the first part of 2024, when under the technical direction of Rafael Dudamel, a cast full of enthusiasm surprised the disbelievers and against all odds reached the grand final after finishing in first place. position of all against all of Colombian professional soccer.

“Let’s dream together”

With the aim of giving hope back to the ‘auriverde’ fans, in December 2023, the Venezuelan Rafael Edgar Dudamel Ochoa arrived in Bucaramanga, with a totally new team and without raising many expectations for the upcoming contest.

“Let’s dream together,” was the phrase the strategist used in the official presentation of the squad at the beginning of the season, in which he made it clear that his project would be built on hard work and discipline.

However, the first duel that the Santander team had was not the best, on January 21, 2024, the Roberto Meléndez Metropolitan Stadium witnessed the 2-0 defeat of Atlético Bucaramanga against Junior de Barranquilla.

A fall that was the basis for the construction of the game idea of ​​a team, which on matchday 15, after defeating Deportivo Cali 2-1, with an unbeatable setting in the then Alfonso López stadium, ensured its presence in the home runs semi-finals after two years of absence.

Since that remembered defeat in Barranquilla, 15 days would have to pass for ‘El Leopardo’ to once again know the bitter taste of defeat, at that time, already classified, it was beaten 1-0 by Independiente Medellín at the Atanasio Girardot.

A result, which like the first date, served to settle down and work towards the most important thing, the second phase of the Colombian championship, without leaving aside the possibility of finishing in first position in the classification.

With a clear goal, Rafael Dudamel and company continued working, obtaining a total of 38 points as a result, the product of eleven wins, five draws and three losses, enough numbers for the ‘auriverde’ institution to be left with the invisible point after having been the best team in all against all.

The ‘little miracle’ was done

Hope began to take over the ‘auriverde’ fans, who did not stop believing in a squad that humbly demonstrated on the pitch that it was ready for great things.

Millonarios, Pereira and Junior were the rivals to face in the home run, all Colombian soccer champions; Despite this, the followers remained firm in their position with the slogan “no one can steal our hope.”

Words that were key until the last day, as the Bumangueses reached the sixth date depending on other people’s results to continue dreaming of the possibility of ‘fighting’ in the grand final.

At that time, Atlético Bucaramanga had played five duels, with the balance of one win, two draws and two losses, that is, a total of five points out of a possible 15.

With the support of their fans, who played a final from the stands and against all the comments, the Bucaros defeated Deportivo Pereira 3-1 and in Bogotá, in a heart-stopping finish, Millonarios beat Junior, giving him the step to the Santander team at the last resort, something that had not been achieved for 27 years.

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