Campeonato Nacional – different formula, different clubs, different outcomes. Here various provincial clubs had their chance, here failures in Metropolitano tried to save face. Rather difficult for evaluation championship, but one thing was sure – very few Argentinian clubs had really strong teams, able to play well two championships in a single year. 36 teams were divided into 8 round-robin groups, the top three qualifying to the next round. Which was also made of 8 round-robin groups, but of 3 teams each – they played also three times against each other. The top two qualified for the 1/8 finals and the championship followed standard cup format to the end – direct eliminations to the final, played in two legs.
No surprises at first – almost every initial group had true outsider and there was chance for a big club to exit at this stage: 3 out of 4 were going ahead. All eliminated were anonymous teams:
Andino (La Rioja) – Group A with 2 points,
Chaco For Ever (Resistencia) – Group B with 3 points,
Atletico Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa) – Group C with 0 points, the only team unable to make even a tie,
Estudiantes (Rio Cuarto) – Group D with 1 point, Union San Vicente (Cordoba) – Group E with 1 point,
Kimberley (Mar del Plata) – Group F with 2 points, Atletico Concepcion (Banda del Rio Sali) – Group G with 4 points, and Gimnasia y Esgrima (Mendoza) – Group H with 4 points. Only the last two came close to a chance for qualifying to the next round.
Second step – 24 teams, divided into 8 3-team groups. The last in each group was eliminated after the teams played 3 games against each other. This stage was more intriguing. The end of hopes for: Instituto (Cordoba) – group A, Nueva Chicago (Buenos Aires) – group B,
San Lorenzo de Almagro (Buenos Aires) – group C. Standing from left: Sosa, Videla, Insúa, Quiroga, Higuaín, Hrabina, Quinteros.
First row: Bueno, Coudannes, Rubens Navarro.
Huracan (Buenos Aires) – group D. But this was strange group – Huracan was eliminated only on worse goal-difference. They finished with 5 points and 2-2. Union (Santa Fe) was second with 5 points and 7-6. First in the group finished Platense (Vicente Lopez) with 6 points and negative goal-difference – 8-13! Apparently, they won their home matches and lost all away games – and 3 wins and 3 posses, no matter how bad, gave them not just qualifying spot, but the first place in the group. Amusing ending.
Altos Hornos Zapla (Ciudad de Palpala) was last in group E – they did well, reaching this round of the championship, but no more.
Juventud Antoniana (Salta) was last in group G, unable to get even a single point at this stage. In the same group another unheard of club reigned supreme – Loma Negra (Olavarria). They won their group in the first round, now they did it again, even more comfortably – 4 wins, 2 ties, 16-3.
In group H Renato Cesarini (Rosario) was also – like Juventud Antoniana, they lost all matches, only ending with slightly better goal-difference than Juventud Antoniana – it did no matter, they were out.
1/8 finals. Some statistic discrepancy – results given for Cordoba’s derby, Atletico Racing vs Talleres, are wrong: 2-2 and 0-5. Looks like easy win for Talleres? But Atletico Racing qualified to the ¼ finals… after extra time and penalty shoot out after the match statistically lost 0-5. Must have been a tie really and numbers mixed-up: Atletico Racing won 5-3 the penalty shoot-out.
End of the line for Ferro Carril Oeste – they were eliminated by Estudiantes (La Plata): 0-1 and 2-2.
Independiente (Avellaneda) and Union (Santa Fe) exchanged away wins – in both legs the visiting team won 1-0, so there was extra time and penalty shoot-out. Only then Independiente prevailed – 6-5.
The Cinderella story of Loma Negra (Olavarria) ended here, but not before the second leg against Racing Club (Avellaneda). So far, lowly Loma Negra was great surprise – they won their qualifying groups in both early stages of the championship. They came to inhospitable stadium of Racing and won 2-1. With one match on home turf, Loma Negra seemed bound to play at the ¼ finals at least. But it was not to be – Racing Club arrived determined to win and they did it with powerful 4-0.
Velez Sarsfield (Buenos Aires) was eliminated by River Plate by a single goal – 0-1 and 0-0. Standing from left: Moralejo, Ciciuffo, Pumpido, Ischia.
First row: Bujedo, Vanemerak, Nannini, Bianchi, Alonso, Comas, Larraquy.
Newell’s Old Boys (Rosario) was beaten by city rivals Rosario Central 0-2 and 0-0.
Platense (Vicente Lopez) lost to Temperley – they managed a scoreless tie in the first leg, when the visited, but lost the home leg 1-2.
And Boca Juniors finished at this stage – they tied the away leg against Argentinos Juniors 1-1 and lost the home leg 2-3.
The ¼ finals were tough and there were more casualties:
River Plate was out, losing to Argentinos Juniors – 0-0 and 0-1. Once again, the losing team did better in the opening leg, when they were visitors, and then lost at home.
Racing Club lost the first match in La Plata 1-3 and they won the home leg, but the victory was not enough – 2-1. Estudiantes qualified.
Atletico Racing tried their best to move ahead and almost succeeded – both games against Independiente ended 1-1. Extra time did not change the result and Atletico Racing stepped down after at the penalty shoot-out: 2-4. Independiente qualified again with more luck than skill.
Lastly, Rosario Central vs Temperley. Rosario Central was not exactly strong this year, but historically Temperley was never strong – under the circumstances, one rather strange team was going to the semi-finals. Temperley won their home leg 1-0 and managed to keep its fragile lead in the second match in Rosario – 1-1.
The semi-finals opposed Temperley to Estudiantes and Independiente to Argentinos Juniors.
Temperley may have been the weakest semifinalist, statistically speaking, but they were not going to give up – far from it! They managed 1-1 tie visiting Estudiantes. The second leg also ended 1-1. But no miracle – Estudiantes, stronger and more experienced anyway, prevailed with 2 unanswered goals in the extra time. Still, it was wonderful season for Temperley – one to be remembered.
Argentinos Juniors was also looking like finalist after the first semi-final leg – they won 2-1 in Avellaneda. But Independiente came back in the second leg and won 2-0. Argentinos Juniors was out. Standing from left: Landucci, A. Herrera, Domenech, Pavoni, Batista, Fillol.
First row: Castro, Pasculli, S. Espindola, C. Villalba, R. Gallett.
Not a bad squad at all and too bad they were eliminated. And a curious touch: the add on Espindolla’s shirt is misplaced.
Finals at last. Estudiantes vs Independiente. Whatever unusual results appeared so far, no surprise teams at the final – two big names. Estiduantes took 2-0 lead in the first leg, played in front of home crowd. Independiente came back in the second match, but Estudiantes managed to score and the match ended 2-1. Goal-difference was in Estduiantes favour – they were the champions of the 1983 Campeonato Nacional.
So close, but empty-handed at the end. Standing from left: Carlos Goyén, Zimmermann, Enzo Héctor Trossero, Hugo Villaverde, Claudio Oscar Marangoni, Carlos Enrique.
Crouching: Enrique Sánchez, Ricardo Giusti, Jorge Luis Burruchaga, Ricardo Enrique Bochini, José Alberto Percudani.
Independiente was unable to win a double this year – disappointing, of course, but not much. They were clearly the strongest Argentine team at the moment – champions of Metropolitano, second in Nacional, a good squad of largely new stars. Independiente was remarkably consistent – the most consistent club in the country, for all other big clubs fluctuated up and down – Independiente was evenly strong since the end of the 1960s.
Estudiantes won the title and that was great – they won Nacional for the first time, but there was more to it: Estudiantes won Metropolitano in 1982, now they won Nacional. Not accidental winners, that was sure – finally, a new strong period arrived. After a long drought, one may add – Estudiantes lost its glory after the end of the 1960s, there last title before 1982 was in 1967. Now they were back and the team was not bad at all – Russo, Trobbiani, Ponce, Sabella. Not first rate stars and may be getting old, but still good enough core of a team – if not better, at least at par with the other strong teams. Well done so far, but the team needed additional talent to keep a leading place – so, it was a matter of quick reaction and not missing the moment. However, money was the deciding issue… management was probably well aware of the needs and knew what to do – if they could afford it.