First level. The formula of the two championships – or the 2 parts of the same champion, if you like – was one: the 42 teams were divided regionally and played mini-leagues at first. One expects equal distribution of the clubs, but no – Metropolitan league had 11 teams, Central – 8, North – 9, Oriental – 6, and South – 8 teams. And qualification to the next stage was informed by this unequal distribution: the winners of Central, North, and South qualified, but not the winner of Oriental – they qualified only to Liquilla play-off against the 3rd team in Metropolitan. The top 2 teams in the Metropolitan qualified to the next stage. It was somewhat reasonable, since Metropolitan league had the strongest clubs in the country, concentrated in Lima. Yet, one wishes Peru had classic and easily understood league championship… Because of the byzantine structure, the first stage will be omitted in both phases of the championship, although some photos of teams failing to qualify will appear.
Regional I – yet another name popping up, as if the championship was not complicated enough. That’s the first championship of the year, or the first phase of the season. Union Huaral was 3rd in Metropolitan and faced the winner of Oriental – Union Tarapoto – in the Liquilla playoff. Union Huaral won 2-1 the first leg and second leg… was not played?
They qualified, though. And finished last in the Liguilla with 4 points.
Alianza (Lima, champion of Metropolitan with 15 points) finsihed 5th with 4 points, but better goal-difference than Union Huaral.
Mina San Vicente (champion of Central) – 4th with 5 points.
Aurora (Arequipa, champion of South with 19 points) – 3rd with 5 points.
Alianza Atletico (Sullana, champion of North) – 2nd with 6 points. 2 wins, 2 ties and 1 lost game in the Liguilla, but 6-7 goal-difference. How unlucky.
Sporting Cristal (Lima, 2nd in Metropolitan with 13 points) won the Liguilla and the first phase of the season. 1 win and 4 ties gave them 6 points, but their single victory was against rivals Alianza Atletico and it was a big one: 3-0. Those were the only goals they scored in the final tournament, yet just on time, for they tipped the scales in their favour: winning on better goal-difference. Twice lucky so far.. but wait… they qualified to the Liguilla on better goal-difference and won it also on better goal-difference. But wait: there was a play-off to decide the first stage winner and in it Sporting Cristal won again against Alianza Atletico: 2-0. Half job done – Sporting Cristal qualifed to the championship final and as champions of Regional I they secured a spot in the Copa Libertadores.
Regional II – or Torneo Placido Galindo, or second phase of Torneo Descentralizado, or whatever… Relegation rules were seemingly buried somewhere here. There was slightly different formula – qualification play-offs for the final Liguilla.
San Agustin – champions of Peru just a year or two ago, but now… last with 6 points and going to promotion/relegation play-off against the 2nd in Segunda Division. Luckily, they prevailed there and remained in the top level. Standing from left: Montoya, Gonzáles, Novaro, Martín Ramírez, Cédric Vásquez, unknown. Crouching: Ramírez, Arrué, Roberto Mosquera, Romero, Kajjat.
Deportivo Municipal (Lima) – 10th with 6 points, but ahead of San Agustin on better goal-difference. Miserable season for them, but at least escaped relegation. This may be a photo from 1989.
Octavio Espinoza – 9th with 7 points.
Meteor – entirely unknown club, which finished 8th with 7 points.
Internazionale (San Borje) – 7th with 8 points.
Defensor Lima – 6th with 9 points, but somehow they won Torneo Placido Galindo and thus qualified to the Liguilla play-offs.
AELU – 5th with 11 points.
Alianza (Lima) – 4th with 11 points. Not their year for sure… Standing from left: Carlos “Mágico” Gonzáles, Ismael Zegarra, “Kalule” García, Manuel Earl, Juan Vidales, Maurinho Mendoza. Front: José Ziani, Anselmo Soto, Antonio Alguedas, Juan Reynoso, Benjamín “Colibrí” Rodríguez.
Union Huaral – 3rd with 13 points and qualified to the Liguilla play-offs.
Sporting Cristal – 2nd with 16 points and qualified to the Liguilla play-offs.
Universitario (Lima) – winner of Metropolitan with 16 points and qualified to the Liguilla play-offs. Standing from left: Leo Rojas, José del Solar, Luis Reyna, Pedro Requena, José Trece, César Chávez-Riva. First row: José Carranza, Eduardo Rey Muñoz, Fidel Suárez, Jesús Torrealva, Andrés “Balán” Gonzáles.
Deportivo Canana – 5th.
Libertad – 4th. Carlos A. Mannucci – 3rd, UTC – 2nd.
Juan Aurich – 1st and… strangely, did not qualify to the Liguilla play-offs. Unless there was a play-off against the winner of Group B and they lost it, there would be no other meaningful reason.
15 de Setiembre – 4th,
Atletico Grau (Piura) – 3rd. Standing from left: Ochoa (coach) Julio Garcia, Oscar Aranda, Manrique, Rondoy, Oscar Quintana, Ernesto Herrera. First row: Marcelo Apaza, Zuñiga, Guives, Marcial Miranda, Juan Rivero.
Atletico Torino – 2nd.
Alianza Atletico – 1st and going to the Liguilla playoffs.
Deportivo Tintaya – 8th with 3 points.
Coronel Bolognesi – 7th with 8 points.
Atletico Huracan (Moquegua) – 6th with 10 points.
Melgar – 5th with 12 points, Diablos Rojos – 4th with 13 points,
Cienciano – 3rd with 17 points.
Alfonso Ugarte – 2nd with 20 points.
Aurora – 1st with 23 points and qualified to the Liguilla playoffs.
Defensor ANDA – 8th, Alipio Ponce – 7th, Social Magdalena – 6th,
ADT (Tarma) – 5th.
Leon de Huanuco – 4th.
Union Minas – 3rd.
Deportivo Junin – 2nd.
Mina San Vicente – 1st and qualified to the Liguilla playoffs.
Chacarita Versalles – 6th.
Deportivo Hospital – 5th, San Martin de Porres – 4th.
Atletico Belen – 3rd.
Union Tarapoto – 2nd.
CNI – 1st and qualified to the Liguilla playoffs.
Sporting Cristal lost to Aurora 0-2 and 2-1.
Mina San Vicente lost to Universitario 2-2 and 0-5.
Defensor Lima lost to CNI 0-2 and 1-1.
Alianza Atletico lost to Union Huaral – 1st leg unknown, then 1-1.
Sporting Cristal was eliminated by Alianza Atletico 3-1, 1-3, and 3-5 penalty shootout. Standing from left: Roberto Arrelucea, Jorge Olaechea, NN, Jorge Arteaga, Palacios, el Charro Gonzáles. Front: Mario Lobo, Percy Olivares, César Loyola, Francesco Manassero, Víctor Hurtado.
Defensor Lima lost to Mina San Vicente – 1st leg 4-2, 2nd leg – unknown.
Aurora – last with 0 points.
Alianza Atletico – 5th with 3 points.
CNI – 4th with 3 points.
Mina San Vicente – 3rd with 7 points.
Universitario – 2nd with 8 points.
Union Huaral won the Luguilla and with that the second phase of the championship. They finished with 9 points: 4 wins, 1 tie, 12-1 goal-difference. Back row: Félix Puntriano, Enrique León, Eusebio Farfán, DT Simo Vilic, Carlos “Chani” Cáceda, Guillermo Ferrari, Jorge Cordero. Front: Ernesto “Venado” Aguirre, José Muñoz, Humberto Rey Muñoz, Domingo Farfán, Pedro “Toronjo” Paredes.
As winners, Union Huaral moved to the grand championship final against the winners of the first phase Sporting Cristal. The decisive match was worthy ending of the season: it was scoreless draw and only in the extra time a goal was scored: in the 115th minute Aguirre found the net of Sporting Cristal, which was unable to equalize in the few remaining minutes. Union Huaral won the title!
Sporting Cristal (Lima) ended 2nd, a disappointment for sure. At last they paid the price for depending more on luck than on skill. Standing from left: Percy Olivares, “Charro” Gonzáles, Roberto Arrelucea, Segundo Cruz, Jorge Arteaga, Jorge Olaechea, Mario Palacios. Crouching: Mario Lobo, Francesco Manassero, Luis Rehder, Víctor Hurtado.
Union Huaral triumphed and it was more than a victory of the underdog: they were the most consistent team during the season and performed well in both championship phases, unlike Sporting Cristal, which was mostly lucky in the first phase and once they reached the final seemingly slowed down and did not push hard in the second phase.
Thus Union Huaral won its 2nd title, after waiting 13 years for it. Splendid season and excellent work of their Yugoslavian coach Simo Vilic.