Santa Fe Fail To Live Up To Expectations, Coach Gutierrez Resigns

By bogotapost May 16, 2014

Independiente Santa Fe started the league with a great run of games under the leadership of Omar Perez and Wilder Medina, but the side could not maintain their high level as the league wore on.

Santa Fe’s excuse for its poor performance during the league stage was that it had to conciliate local matches and the international Copa Libertadores tournament – a decent challenge given that they ended up playing a staggering 30 matches in less than four months.

Having qualified for the quarterfinals, their first leg in Manizales was a positive exception to the poor level the team had showed since March, and they comfortably beat Once Caldas 4-1. The return game should have been a formality but Once Caldas almost surprised Santa Fe in El Campin winning 2-1; at one stage, at 2-0, they were just one goal away from dragging the game into penalties on aggregate.

Santa Fe survived, and their semi-final against Nacional started with a scandal in Santa Fe’s favor. Nacional were forced by the league federation’s schedule to play their Copa Libertadores quarterfinal and league semifinal within 24 hours. Santa Fe beat a heavily weakened Nacional – who had saved their main team for the Copa Libertadores – in Bogotá by the minimum score line.

In the return game, Santa Fe looked paralyzed at moments and went out without a real fight. Successful manager Gutierrez took the blame: he had led Santa Fe to their first league championship in 37 years in 2012 and guided the team to the semifinal of the Copa Libertadores a year later, but resigned after claiming responsibility for the recent below-par results.