Since Peruvian championship had complicated formula, the World Cup qualifications affected directly the first stage – but with that, the final outcome of the championship too. One thing is easy to figure out – clubs with large number of national team players were weakened. But clubs with many national team players are normally the biggest and most influential clubs, so very likely they were compensated with ‘relaxed’ rules. Actually, right here starts the dark world of speculations and suspicions. Anyhow, the first stage of the championship, called Regional Tournament, was strange: the league was divided into 4 ‘regions’ at first – the Northern Group (3 teams), the Central Group (4 teams), and the Southern Group (3 teams) had their winners going to the Provincial Final. The top 2 teams at this stage qualified to the semi-finals of this stage.
P – W – D – L – GF – GA – PTS
1. Melgar F.B.C. (Arequipa) 2 – 2 – 0 – 0 – 4 – 2 – 4 [To Semifinals]
2. Asociación Deportiva (Tarma) 2 – 0 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 1 [To Semifinals]
3. Atlético Torino (Talara) 2 – 0 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 1
Melgar F.B.C. Won the Provinical final. Standing from left: Jorge Ramirez, Emilio Campana, Benigno Pérez, Julio “Guyo” Ramírez, Freddy Bustamante, Raúl Obando
Crouching: Abraham Medina, Genaro Neyra, Ernesto Neyra, Víctor Gutiérrez, Arturo Bisetti.
Meantime the Metropolitan Group played its own tournament and here was no second stage – 6 teams played their round-robin tournament, the top two qualifying.
P – W -SW -SL – L – GF – GA – PTS
1. Alianza Lima 10 – 6 – 1 – 0 – 3 – 13 – 10 – 20
2. Universitario de Deportes 10 – 5 – 2 – 0 – 3 – 13 – 10 – 19 [To Semifinals]
3. Deportivo Municipal 10 – 6 – 0 – 1 – 3 – 13 – 8 – 18 [To Semifinals]
4. Sport Boys (Callao) 10 – 3 – 1 – 1 – 5 – 12 – 15 – 11
5. Atlético Chalaco (Callao) 10 – 3 – 0 – 1 – 6 – 8 – 12 – 9
6. Sporting Cristal 10 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 5 – 10 – 14 – 8
Alianza (Lima) finished 1st and nothing surprising in that. But Alianza did not appear at the semi-finals – 3rd placed Deportivo Municipal played at the next stage. Why Alianza did not play at the next stage remains unknown. But they were usually one of the main suppliers of the national team – could be that Alinza withdrew, having weakened squad at the moment. Mind, Sporting Cristal, one the strongest clubs in the country and also regularly teeming with national teams players, finished last in the Metropolitan Group. The Metropolitan Group had another mystery as well: the tournament was played under different rules. The whole season, according to tradition, Peru played under the common rules at the time: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie. Only the Metropolitan Group played without draws: ties were decided by shoot-outs and the points were different: 3 points for a win in the regular time, 2 points for a shoot-out win, 1 point for a shoot-out loss. The first stage of the national championship was odd all the way: Atletico Torino (Talara) finished second in the Northern Group, but after they complained, the place to the next stage was awarded to them instead of the group winners Juan Aurich (Chiclayo). But Atletico Torino was unable to go further than the Provincial Final. In the semi-finals Deportivo Municipal, playing instead of Alianza, eliminated Asociación Deportiva (Tarma) 3-0 and 0-1, and Universitario de Deportes eliminated Melgar F.B.C. 2-0 and 0-1. The final of the opening stage of the championship was familiar duel of Lima-based clubs and took 3 matches until one of them prevailed. 0-0, 1-1, and 1-0 at last for Deportivo Municipal.
Such is life… Deportivo Municipal was not supposed to be seen after finishing 3rd in the Metropoliatn Group, but – champions of the opening part of the championship. Standing from left:Caycho, Juan José Sato, Rodolfo Gamarra, Julio Argote, Reynaldo Costa, Fernando Campos.
First row: unknown, Jaime Drago, Manuel Motta, Luis Gil, Richard Garrido.
What this victory counted for? Only to this: the Regional champion qualified to the play-off for the second Peruvian spot in the Copa Libertadores.
The second stage of the season was the real championship – Torneo Descentralizado. Standard league format, the first placed won the Peruvian title, the last in the table was relegated, and the 2nd placed was to go to the play-off for the second Peruvian Copa Libertadores spot. How much the World Cup qualifications affected the clubs is hard to tell – looks like Sporting Cristal had terrible season: after dreadful performance in the first stage of the season, they also played terribly in the second, finishing 9th. Alianza also was not at their usual level – they finished 3rd. But worst of all was the team which artificially moved ahead in the opening stage:
Atletico Torino (Talara), after 10 wins, 3 ties, and 17 losses, finished last the the league. Relegation. Going down. To Copa Peru y Segunda Division… which makes this photo questionable, for clubs never celebrate relegation, but the year given is 1981.
Union Haural was lucky to escape with 24 points – one more than Atletico Torino. Releived boys, standing from left: Hilario Bernaola, Carrillo, Marco Salguero, Luis Pau, Teodoro Wuchi, Santiago Carty.
First row: Humberto Rey Muñoz, Pedro Ruíz, Alejandro Luces, Víctor Espinoza, Carlos Leturia.
At the better side of the table Alfonso Ugarte (Puno) had very strong spell, but was a bit unlucky – they finished 4th, losing 3rd place to Alianza (Lima) on goal-difference.
Univeristario de Deportes (Lima) finished 2nd. They were bettered by a point… which made them twice losers this season. But they still had a chance to play international football – if winning the play-off for the second Libertadores spot.
The best this time was provincial club – Melgar F.B.C. They were strong in the opening part of the season, maintained their form, perhaps took advantage of whatever problems the big clubs endured, because of the national team, and triumphed at the end. It was not overwhelming victory, but consistency was enough. 16 wins, 8 ties, and 6 losses gave them one point more than Universitario’s.
Sitting from left: Ricardo Ciudad,Emilio Campana,Arnaldo”Cardiaco”Suclla,Freddy Bustamante,Raul Obando,Ysrael Quijandría,Máximo Toribio Carrazco Meza(Q.E.P.D.) Felipe Ponce(Preparador de Arqueros);
Second row:Cesar Dianderas Preparador Fisico,Alberto Alvarado,Jorge Ramirez,Abraham Medina,Victor”papas” Concha,Alfredo Benavente,Benigno Melchor Pérez,Arturo Bisetti,Utilero; Abajo Third row: Ernesto”Chivo” Neyra, Genaro Neyra,Wilson “calamina”Ramirez, Angel Gutiérrez, Julio”Don Buyo” Ramirez, Victor”vinicola”Gutierrez,Martin Gago y Hilario Payé (Kinesiélogo)
Foot Ball Club Melgar (Arequipa) is one of the oldest Peruvian clubs, founded in 1915, but ‘El Domino’ never had any success before. This was their first national title – a great triumph, no matter the circumstances. The club had no great players, compared to the bit clubs from Lima, but no matter, for the boys here became instant legend. Peru got brand new champion. Wonderful season for Melgar – their best ever – so far, no second title. Historic team and historic triumph for Arequipa.
The season ended wit the play-off for the second Copa Libertadores spot – it repeated the final of the opening part of the season: a Lima derby Deportivo Municipal vs Universitario de Deportes. Again three matches were needed to decide the winners and Deportivo Municipal clinched the victory again after 2-1, 0-1, and 3-2.
Good season for Deportivo Municipal, usually trailing in the shadow of Alianza, Sporting Cristal, and Universitario. Standing from left: José “Camote” Vásquez, Oscar Quintana, Rodolfo Quijaite, Alfredo Honores, Fernando Campos.
First row: Marcelo Apaza, Jaime Drago, Pedro Bonelli, Hugo Sotil, Julio Argote, César Avila. Hugo Sotil still making a difference. But no matter how great Deportivo Municipal were the spotlight belonged to the new champions and they deserve one more look:
The 1981 champions Melgar F.B.C. – or F.B.C.Melgar: standing from left: Jorge Ramírez, Emilio Campana, Benigno Pérez, Julio “Guyo” Ramírez, Freddy Bustamante , Raúl Obando.
First row: Abraham Medina, Genaro Neyra, Ernesto “Chivo” Neyra, Víctor Gutiérrez, Arturo Bisetti.