Club Deportes Tolima S.A., commonly known as Deportes Tolima, or simply as Tolima, is a Colombian professional football club based in Ibagué, Colombia. The club currently plays in the Categoría Primera A, the country’s highest level of professional club football.
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On December 18, 1954, Manuel Rubio Chávez gave Juan Barbieri, an Argentinean who was living in Ibagué, Colombia at the time, a sum of $5.000 Colombian pesos in order for Juan Barbieri to hire soccer players from Argentina. This was the beginning of the Club Deportes Tolima, which was founded by Manuel Rubio Chávez. Jorge Gandulfo, José Jamardo, and Enrique Laino were among the Argentine and Colombian players whom Barbieri took back with him to Colombia when he returned there.
1955 was the first year that this squad participated in the Colombian football league, and they did so while wearing the uniforms of the Argentine club Racing Club. Tolima competed against nine other teams during their first season in the league and finished seventh overall. The club finished in second place in the league that year (1957). In the 1980s, Senator Gabriel Camargo Salamanca was offered a position with the squad and given the opportunity to work there. He was the most significant stockholder on the team when he accepted the offer. He purchased key players including Francisco Maturana, Oscar Héctor Quintabani, Osvaldo Redondo, Arnoldo Iguarán, and Janio Cabezas among others. Oscar Lopez and Janio Cabezas were also among those he acquired.
In 1981 and 1982, Deportes Tolima finished in second place in the league with this group of players. Tolima competed in their first ever international competition, the 1982 Copa Libertadores. The club finished first in their group, which included Atlético Nacional, Estudiantes de Mérida, and Deportivo Táchira, and advanced all the way to the semifinals of the competition.
The next year, in 1983, the team competed in the Copa Libertadores as well; however, they were knocked out of the competition in the first round despite finishing in second place in their group. As a result of the club’s poor performance in 1993, it was demoted to the Primera B, which is the equivalent of the second level in the United States. Tolima spent just one season competing in the second division, but they were champions of that competition, and as a result, they were promoted directly to the first level for the 1995 campaign.
Tolima enjoyed a fruitful and prosperous year in 2006. The team finished in second place in the overall standings (points were accumulated during the Apertura and Clausura tournaments), scored the most goals in the year (almost 80), and finished in second place in the league for 2006-II.
Since Deportes Tolima did not acquire any new players before to the start of the 2006 season, the club did not give off the impression that it would be a particularly formidable opponent. Jorge Luis Bernal, who had previously served as the coach of the reserve squad for a number of years, was chosen to lead the team. Both at home and on the road, Deportes Tolima was victorious, with victories against Envigado (by a score of 7), Atlético Nacional (by a score of 5-1), and Millonarios (by a score of 3-0).
They competed in the 2006-I competition and made it all the way to the semi-finals, where they were drawn in a group alongside Once Caldas, Deportivo Pereira, and Deportivo Cali, but they were unable to advance to the championship round. The campaign in 2006-II was much more successful than the one that came before it. Tolima finished in first place in the league and advanced to the semi-finals, where they faced competition from Atlético Nacional, Deportivo Pasto, and Boyacá Chicó. The majority of the time, Atlético Nacional was in the driver’s seat of the group, but Deportes Tolima remained one point in the driver’s seat.
They took the lead after claiming a thrilling 2–1 victory on the road against Atlético Nacional, and they moved to the championship match against Cucuta Deportivo after claiming a 2–0 victory against Boyacá Chicó. Tolima’s first game was played away in Ccuta, and they ended up losing by a score of 1-0. In their second game, which was played later in Ibagué, they tied the game with a score of 1-1, and Yulián Anchico scored the goal for Tolima, but it wasn’t enough to win the league title.
Tolima qualified for the 2006 Copa Sudamericana thanks to their fifth-place performance in the overall table in 2005. They went on to win the tournament. The team started off the campaign by taking part in the first stage, where they won the aggregate match against Independiente Medelln by a score of 4–2. Tolima and Mineros de Guayana played each other to a draw in the subsequent stage, although Tolima advanced to the subsequent round according to the away goals rule. Pachuca was the opponent for the club in the third round of competition. Tolima emerged victorious in the first leg of the competition, which took place in Tolima, with a score of 2–1; however, they were defeated in the second leg of the competition, which took place in Mexico, with a score of 5–1. As a result, Tolima was eliminated from the competition, and Pachuca went on to win the cup.
As a result of finishing in first position in the yearly table in 2010, the team was able to qualify for the first stage of the 2011 Copa Libertadores. During this stage, Tolima caused a major upset by defeating Ronaldo’s Corinthians by a score of 2-0. The following few days after the match, Ronaldo made the announcement that he was retiring from his professional career, with the match against Tolima serving as the final match of his career.
The Colombian club was able to advance to the group stage, but ultimately finished in third place and was eliminated from competition after suffering an embarrassing loss to Cruzeiro by a score of 6-1. Tolima defeated Independiente Santa Fe in the Copa Colombia finals in 2014, prevailing 3–2 on aggregate to become the first team in the history of the club to win the tournament.
Ibagué, the city that serves as the capital of the Tolima department in Colombia, is home to a sports arena known as the Estadio Manuel Murillo Toro. It is currently capable of accommodating 28,100 spectators at once.
Deportes Tolima, a football team competing in Colombia’s highest division, the Categora Primera A, plays its home games in the stadium, which is mostly utilized for the sport of football.
It is famous for being the site of the final match of Brazilian footballer Ronaldo’s professional career, which took place on February 2, 2011, when he was playing for Corinthians in the 2011 Copa Libertadores. The match was against Deportes Tolima.