Chile II Division

Chile. First Division was uncomplicated league championship, but Second Division was structured differently. 20 teams in it. One promoted and one relegated. The teams were divided into 2 groups of 10 teams each, playing 2-staged championship at first, followed by play-offs of finals – one for promotion and one for relegation. The first stage was standard league championship, but the second stage divided each group into two small groups depending on the final table of the first stage: 5 teams played for the group winner, 5 teams for the group loser, all teams went to the second stage carrying their points from the first. Not very complicated formula, but it had strange ending this year. Let jump right to the second stage.

Zona Norte – Liguilla Ascenso.

Deportes La Serena – 5th with 23 points.

Santiago Wanderers – 4th with 28 points.

Antofagasta – 3rd with 28 points.

Union Santa Cruz – 2nd with 30 points.

Trasandino – 1st with 34 points. Trasandino won Zona Norte and proceeded to the final play-off.

Liguilla Descenso.

Coquimbo Unido – 1st – 6th as a final position place – with 25 points.

Quintero Unido – 7th with 25 points.

Regional Atacama – 8th with 24 points.

Deportes Ovalle – 9th with 23 points.

Super Lo Miranda – 10th with 20 points. Going to the crucial relegation play-off.

Zona Sur. Liguilla Ascenco.

Provincial Osorno – 5th with 24 points.

Curico Unido – 4th with 26 points.

Malleco Unido – 3rd with 29 points.

Lota Schwager – 2nd with 29 points.

Fernandez Vial – 1st with 35 points and going to the championship final.

Liguilla Descenso.

Deportes Valdivia – 1st – 6th in the final table – with 26 points.

Deportes Linares – 7th with 25 points.

Deportes Iberia – 8th with 24 points.

Deportes Puerto Montt – 9th with 23 points.

Deportes Victoria – 10th with 19 points and going to the relegation play-off.

Relegation play-off between the bottom placed in Zona Norte and Zona Sur. Super Lo Miranda won its home leg 3-0 and tied the second leg in Victoria 2-2.

Super Lo Miranda survived and remained in Second Division.

Deportes Victoria – relegated to Third Division.

Championship final. The group winners play 2 legs, but in case each one a match, third decisive game was to be played. On November 17 Trasandino won 2-0 in Concepcion, visiting Fernandez Vial. Looked like final victory already. But Fernandez Vial pulled itself together and won in Los Andes 1-0 on November 24. Two days later the opponents met again on neutral ground in Talca – this time Trasandino prevailed 1-0 and won the championship. Which meant also promotion… and it was not.

Fernandez Vial (Concepcion) lost the decisive final and ended 2nd this year. It was fair, somewhat, for during the season Trasandino performed better. Season finished, lick some wounds, get ready for another try. Yet, Fernandez Vial was promoted and played in First Division the next season. Why? No idea… sources differ: some state Fernandez Vial was promoted, other – that Trasandino was promoted. What makes everything ‘clear’ is a look at the 1986 First Division: Fernandez Vial is there, Trasandino – not. So here they are the losers who were promoted. Lucky boys.

Trasandino (Los Andes) were the new champions of Second Division. Great! They looked slightly better than Fernandez Vial during the season and at end clinched the title. But they were not promoted, as they should have been as winners. Possible reasons: may be some penalty for infringement of the rules – either using illegible players or game fixing. No info is available, though. The other possibility is failing to meet some requirements for playing in the top league: either substandard stadium or lack of enough money. The third possible reason is voluntary withdrawal – here lack of money would be the decisive factor. Since there is no available information, one can speculate, but the fact is Trasandino was not promoted.


Uruguay. The only ‘normal’ championship in South America – no stages, no complications, just a ‘classic’ league.

Second Division. Provincial clubs made their way to it, but had difficulty taking hold – Oriental finished last, 10th, and Huracan (Paso de la Arena) – 9th. The rest were Montevideo clubs. Colon (8th) distinguished itself with extremely low scoring record – 6 goals. Fenix and Liverpool battled for promotion.

Fenix prevailed by a point and won the Second Division championship, going up as a result. 11 wins, 5 ties, 2 losses, 31-11 and 27 points.

First Division – slightly larger: 13 teams. Relegation was determined by the same method Argentina used: a relegation table, combining few years and the lowest in it went down – not the the team ending last in the current year. There was no dramatic race for the title, but no one-team dominance either: rather easy, insignificant championship without big surprises.

Bella Vista – last with 17 points.

Defensor – 12th with 18 points.

Danubio – 11th with 21 points. Standing from left: Hector Roux, Jorge Sere, Daniel Uberti, Abraham Yeladian, Daniel Martinez, Cesar Vega.

First row: Arian Viera, Edison Suarez, Ruben Sosa, Boris Machado, Gustavo Dalto.

Danubio scored most goals in this championship: 36.

Huracan Buceo – 10th with 22 points. Standing from left: Luis Romero, Daniel Delgado, Nestor Goncalves, Raul Mirabal, Marcos Aguiar, Mario Picun.

First row: Julio D. Morales, Jacinto Baptista, Roberto Roo, Luis Jaime, Marcelo Martinez.

Sud America – 9th with 22 points and relegated. Unfortunate for them, but the combined record placed them last. Standing from left: Walter Alvarez, Pablo Fuentes, Jorge D. Cardaccio, Nelson Pena, Flavio Sosa, Anibal Migueiro.

First row: Marcelo Dantaz, Jorge Bertolio, Ignacio Saavedra, Alejandro Cano, Jorge Martinez.

Central Espanol – 8th with 23 points.

Rampla Juniors – 7th with 24 points.

Progreso – 6th with 25 points.

Nacional – 5th with 26 points. Mediocre season, better forgotten. Standing from left: Hugo De Leon, Jose Luis Pintos Saldana, Nestor Montelongo, Gualberto Velichco, Wilson Graniolati, Tony Gomez.

First row: Washington Castagnero, Luis Alberto Acosta, Eduardo Favaro, Carlos, Berrueta, Sergio Olivera.

River Plate – 4th with 27 points.

Cerro – 3rd with 27 points.

Wanderers – 2nd with 28 points. Standing from left: Enrique Pena, Ariel De Amas, Mario Rebollo, Mario Delgado, Gonzalo Diaz, Gonzalo Madrid.

First row: Claudio Di Pascua, Jose R. Cabrera (Argentina), Luis Noe, Enrique Baez, Alvaro Lois.

Penarol, coached by Roque Maspoli, won its 37th title (the picture shows different number – 39 – but official records tell slightly smaller number). 12 wins, 8 ties, 4 losses, 35-16, 32 points. The only team to win 10 or more games this season, second highest scoring record and sharing best defensive record with Wanderers. Easy victory, but nothing special, nothing remarkable – just one more title. Plenty of good players – add Alzamendi, Ostolaza and Jimenez to those on the photo – but hardly one of the truly outstanding squads of Penarol. Perhaps Bossio was the most important player of this vintage. Penarol won, but it will quite some time before they add another title to their impressive record.


Colombia. Another structural mystery – the format was was not new, but how it worked? It was three-staged championship and individually, the stages were clear: Apertura at first. |Or Copa de la Paz. The league divided into 2 groups of 7 teams and the top 2 teams of each going to something like finals. So far, so good… the round-robin final groups was played and finished… without real final table. Was there a winner at all? If not what was the point? The second stage – Clausura or Campeonato Nacional – was typical league championship. And after its end there was the last stage – 8 teams playing for the title in the Torneo Octogonal. There was little connection between the stages: no points were carried over, every stage was on its own. But between the second and the final stage a bonus table was made – the top teams of both earlier stages got bonus points, depending on place – from 1 point for first place to 0.25 point for 4th place. These bonus points were carried over to the final stage, but… not all teams performing well earlier qualified to the final stage – really, there was no understandable reason why some teams were in and other – out. Anyhow, whoever won the final stage, played in a standard league format, was the champion of Colombia.

Before jumping to this last stage, let see which teams were eliminated.

Cucuta Deportivo. It was clear with them: last in Group B of Apertura and last in the Clausura. The weakest team this year, especially in the Clausura.

Independiente Santa Fe. Also understandable why – 5th in Group B of Apertura and 13th in the Clausura – if the best 8 teams of either stage qualified for the final stage, Santa Fe was out.

Once Caldas – 4th in Group B of Apertura and 12th in the Clausura. They were weak, but would be out of the finals only if the measure for qualification was the Clausura final table.

Deportes Tolima. They were last in Group A of Apertura, but 7th in the Clausura – would be out of the finals if Apertura was the measure for qualification, but if it was Clausura… they should have been in.

Deportivo Pereira. Standing from left: Cardona, Olave, Grau, Estrada, Quintabani. First row: Alape, Perea, Didi, Del Rio, Diaz, Paez. With them, it looked clear – 6th in Group A of Apertura and 9th in Clausura – out by any final table.

Deportes Quindio. If Apertura was the measure, they were rightly out of the finals – they finished 6th in Group B. But if it was Clausura… in it, Quindio ended 4th and got bonus point. Evidently, they were very strong at this stage, but they were out of the finals. Their absence was stranger than the absence of Tolima. Since there was no anything like combined table – only bonus table – why some of these teams were out of the finals, but others, hardly better, qualified? An open question.

The other open question is what happened at the end of Apertura – instead of final table, there is this:

1. Atlético Junior 2 1 1 0 2- 0 3

2. Indep. Medellín 2 0 1 1 0- 2 1

3. América de Cali 2 1 1 0 4- 3 3

4. Deportivo Cali 2 0 1 1 3- 4 1

Seemingly, there was no official winner, but the distribution of bonus points tells different: Atletico Junior got most. Was the whole purpose just to decide bonus points? Even this was not right… Atletico Junior got 1 point. Independiente Medellin got 0.75 – which is the bonus for 2nd place! America – 0.50, the bonus for 3rd place, although 3 points in the round-robin is more than 1 point, and Deportivo Cali – 0.25. Looked like the round-robin stage served different purpose: to re-establish positions in the original groups and bonus points given in accord with that: Independiente Medellin won Group A and although they underperfomed in the round-robin ‘final’, they competed only the winners of Group B – Atletico Junior and not with America, which was 2nd in Group B.

Clausura had no such complications – it was standard league championship with standard final table. In effect, it was a battle only between America and Deportivo Cali, which America won with 38 points. Atletico Nacional was 3rd and Deportes Quindio – 4th. They were 4th only because of head-to-head record against Union Magdalena – there could not be any other reason, for both teams ended with 29 points and Union had better goal-difference by far (+11 vs -3). But Millonarios also had 29 points and better goal-difference than Quindio… so, it may have been different decisive factor: the team with most wins placed of others – Quindio won 11 games, Union and Millonarios – 10 each. Anyhow, the good standing did not help Quindio a bit – they got 0.25 bonus points for it, but were out of the final stage. America got 1 bonus point, Deportivo Cali – 0.75, and Atletico Nacional – 0.5. Thus some teams entered the final stage with their bonuses and as small as they were, at the end that was important: America carried 1.5 points, Deportivo Cali and Atletico Junior – 1 point each, Independiente Medellin – 0.75 and Atletico Nacional – 0.50 point. Atletico Junior was suspect finalist – they were quite weak in Clausura: 11th with 22 points. But practically the best of Apertura… the final 8 were somehow distilled by taking in account performance in Apertura and Clausura singularly. It was much simpler just to include the top 4 teams of each stage, but… it had to be complicated and mind-boggling, as if transplanting the ‘magical realism’ of Gabriel Garcia Marquez into football. At least it was simple in the final stage – the Octogonal Final.

Atletico Bucaramanga was last with 7 points.

Union Magdalena – 7th with 7 points. Better head-to-head record placed them ahead of Bucaramanga.

Atletico Nacional – 6th with 13.50 points.

Independiente Medellin – concurrently written as Deportivo Medellin, but most often as DIM (Deportivo Independinete Medellin) – 5th with 13.75 points.

Atletico Junior – also known as Junior – 4th with 17 points.

Millonarios – 3rd with 18 points. They scored most goals in the final tournament, but that was their only achievement this year. Third row from left: Eduardo Luján Manera (D.T), Miguel Prince, Juan Gilberto Funes, Germán Gutiérrez de Piñeres, Norberto Peluffo, Alfredo Ferrer, René Higuita, Pedro Vivalda, José Hernández, Eduardo Pimentel, Marcelo Trobbiani, Germán Morales, Rubén Timko(P.F).

Middle row: Jair Abonía, Carlos Meza, Jamir Carabali, Arnoldo Iguarán, Adolfo Téllez, Cerveleón Cuesta, Manuel Acisclo Córdoba, Federico Valencia, Wilfredo Rincón.

Sitting in front: Rubén Cuevas, Hugo Galeano, Edgar Castañeda, Juan Carlos Díaz, Carlos Gómez, Rubén Darío Hernández, Alonso López, Hernando García.

Deportivo Cali – 2nd with 22 points. They had the best defensive record at the final stage, allowing only 8 goals, but lost the title anyway. Fought to the end, though.

America (Cali) clinched the title with 20.50 points. Half a point ahead of Deportivo. Really, bonus points decided the championship – America came to the final stage with 1.50 points, Deportivo with 1 point. The derby of Cali was won on that. Not the most dominant season of America, but this was not their fault – the rivals were strong and ambitious. Due to competition, America’s performance could be easily underestimated – in fact, this season was one of their most successful in history to date: they won 4th consecutive title, equalizing the record of Millonarios set in 1964 (and going to beat it the next year) and reached the Copa Libertadores final, which they did not exactly lose – penalty shoot-out is a lottery. It was already recognized that this was the strongest ever period of America. The squad was talented and experienced and had few big stars – the Paraguayan Cabanas, the Argentine Gareca, and the local Ortiz. To outsiders and from the distance of time it may look like other clubs had the ‘true’ stars – Valderama, Escobar, Rincon, Higuita – but they were not famous yet. In real time, Cabanas, Gareca, Ortiz were the leading players – the others became famous later, they were still young talent. Already making waves, but not fully in bloom. America had the best squad at the time, pure and simple. If there was anything simple in Colombian football, that was it.

Argentina Nacional

Campeonato Nacional. Although much easier to understand and follow then the Brazilian monster, the Argenine national championship had the expected South American peculiarities hardly making sense elsewhere. Unlike Brazil, the Argentine structure seemingly embraced the whole country – first provincial qualifications, then the big clubs joined. A long championship organized like that is difficult to show in its entirety, so generally – even in Argentina – it is observed only from this late stage when the big clubs were included. 32 teams divided into 8 groups. Then… the mystery: no team was out of the game after this stage – the top 2 teams in the group proceeded to Group Winners, the lower placed – to Group Losers. It was straight direct elimination from this point to the group finals. It was simple in the group of the winners, but the other group was more complicated: after every round the losers in the Group Winners moved to Group Losers, having new chance to qualify. And after that the winners of Group Winners and Group Losers went to play the final for the title between themselves, with little bonus to the winner of Group Winners: the final was single match, but in case it ended in a tie, there was a replay. That was the bonus for the winner of Group Winner – having a second chance to prevail on the field instead of going to chancy penalty shoot-out. And if there was a tie again? Well, one second chance is enough… shoot-out.

Strange formula, to say the least: the strongest teams were going to ruin each other and at the same time one of the weaker, having lucky run, could win the national title. There was room for unhealthy scheming – a good team could simply underperformed in the original groups just to appear in the next stage against weaker opponents and reach the final relatively easy. Perhaps the big clubs pulled some weight for such rule to appear: some were going to be eliminated too early otherwise. Perhaps there was also concern about traveling expenses: the ‘winners’ most likely were to be the big clubs and since they were clustered in Buenos Aires and nearby towns, they did not have to travel to some backwaters. Geographically, the ‘backwaters’ were likely to be nearer to each other than to Buenos Aires, so they would not have to travel very far either. No matter what the actual arguments were, the formula was suspect and only real justification for it is that was last Campeonato Nacional, tucked in transitional season, so let get over with as quickly as possible – it had to finish in September and the new scheduled championship start right after the Nacional final. The ‘big’ clubs were the members of not playing first division and how they performed in the Nacional did not matter a bit as for who will be in the ‘new’ top league.

Since tables in the original 8 groups did not matter, let proceed directly to the important next stage – original groups will be given in brackets, just for information.


Group Winners

Boca Juniors (Group B) 3-2 0-2 Vélez Sarsfield (Group G)

Deportivo Español (Group H) 2-1 0-5 River Plate (Group D)

Ferro Carril Oeste (Group H) 1-0 2-1 Unión (Group D)

Independiente (Group C) 3-1 3-2 Ramón Santamarina (Group A)

Newell’s Old Boys (Group E) 0-0 2-1 Chacarita Juniors (Group F)

San Lorenzo de Almagro (Group E) 2-2 0-1 Argentinos Juniors (Group F)

San Martín (Group G) 4-2 0-0 Estudiantes (Rio Cuarto, Group B)

Talleres (Group C) 1-1 1-3 Estudiantes (La Plata, Group A)


Round 3:

Ferro Carril Oeste (BA) 3-0 Independiente (A)

Newell’s Old Boys 1-2 Vélez Sarsfield


River Plate 2-0 Estudiantes LP

San Martín (T) 0-2 Argentinos Juniors


Round 4:

Ferro Carril Oeste (BA) 0-3 Argentinos Juniors

Vélez Sarsfield 3-0 River Plate


Round 5:

Argentinos Juniors 2-0 Vélez Sarsfield

Vélez Sarsfield 2-0 Argentinos Juniors

(aet 2-4 on PK)

Argentinos Juniors won the group Winners. Standing from left: Olguín, Domenech, Pavoni, Vidallé, Villalba, Batista.

First row: Castro, Videla, Pasculli, Comisso, Ereros.


Group Losers

Round 2:

Altos Hornos Zapla 2-0 1-2 Argentino (F)

Atlético Cipolletti 0-0 1-3 Instituto

Atletico Cipolletti eliminated.

Belgrano (C) 2-1 1-3 Huracán Las Heras

Belgrano (Cordoba) eliminated.

Central Norte 0-0 3-2 Círculo Deportivo

Curculo Deportivo eliminated.

Gimnasia y Esgrima LP 3-0 0-1 Juventud Antoniana

Guaraní Antonio Franco 0-0 0-1 Platense (VL)

Guarani Antonio Franco eliminated.

Huracán (BA) 2-1 1-1 (aet) Racing (C)

Juventud Alianza 4-3 1-4 (aet) Temperley


Round 3:


Boca Juniors 3-1 Altos Hornos Zapla

Chacarita Juniors 0-0 Huracán (BA)

(aet 4-3 on PK)

Huracan (Buenos Aires) eliminated. Standing from left: Juan A. Sánchez, ?, Rodolfo Rafaelli, ?, Hugo I. Ramírez, Carlos A. Gay.

Croching: Daniel Messina, Claudio Morresi, Claudio Cabrera, Claudio García, ?.

Deportivo Español 2-0 Gimnasia y Esgrima LP

Gimnasia y Esgrima (La Plata) eliminated.

Estudiantes (RC) 0-1 Temperley

Estudiantes (Rio Cuarto) eliminated.

Ramón Santamarina 1-1 Central Norte

(aet 2-4 on PK)

Ramon Santamarina eliminated.

San Lorenzo de Almagro 3-3 Huracán Las Heras

(aet 3-2 on PK)

Talleres (C) 0-4 Instituto

Talleres (Cordoba) eliminated.

Unión (SF) 3-0 Platense (VL)


Round 4:

Central Norte 0-0 Unión (SF)

(aet 1-3 on PK)

Chacarita Juniors 2-0 San Lorenzo de Almagro


San Lorenzo eliminated.

Estudiantes LP 1-1 Deportivo Español

(aet 6-5 on PK)

Deportivo Espanol eliminated

Independiente (A) 1-0 Boca Juniors (Abandoned at 85′)

Boca Juniors eliminated.

Newell’s Old Boys 2-1 Temperley

Temperley eliminated.

San Martín (T) 0-0 Instituto

(aet 4-1 on PK)

Instituto (Cordoba) eliminated. Standing from left: Abel Moralejo, Roberto Brunetto, Ramón B. Alvarez, Miguel A. Rodríguez, Pedro Sánchez, Enrique Nieto.

First row: Osvaldo Mattei, Rodolfo C. Rodríguez, Osvaldo Márquez, Alberto Beltrán, Sergio N. González.


Round 5:

Chacarita Juniors 0-1 Newell’s Old Boys

Chacarita Juniors eliminated.

Estudiantes LP 1-0 San Martín (T)

San Martin (Tucuman) eliminated.

River Plate 1-0 Unión (SF)

Ferro Carril Oeste (BA) 0-0 Independiente (A)

(aet 2-4 on PK

Ferro Carril Oeste eliminated. Standing from left: Agonil, Fantaguzzi, Garré, Cúper, Marchesini, Basigalup.

Crouching: Roberto Gómez, Gustavo Acosta, Noremberg, Daniel Fernández, Crocco.


Round 6:

Independiente (A) 0-2 Newell’s Old Boys

Independiente eliminated. Standing from left: Goyén, Clausen, Trossero, Villaverde, Marangoni, Enrique.

Crouching: Gambier, Percudani, Burruchaga, Bochini, Reinoso.

River Plate 4-1 Estudiantes LP

Estudiantes (La Plata) eliminated.


Round 7:

River Plate 2-0 Newell’s Old Boys

Newell’s Old Boys eliminated.


Round 8:

Vélez Sarsfield 2-1 River Plate

River Plate lost the chance to win the championship. Standing from left: Gordillo, Gallego, Borelli, Pumpido, Ruggeri, Montenegro.

First row: Amuchástegui, Francescoli, Morresi, Héctor Enrique, Alfaro.


Vélez Sarsfield won the group Losers.


Round 9: final


Argentinos Juniors 1-1 Vélez Sarsfield

(aet 3-4 on PK)


As Argentinos Juniors came from group Winners and had a new chance. Strange rule, but rule…


Grand Final

Round 10:

Vélez Sarsfield 1-2 Argentinos Juniors

Champion: Asociación Atlética Argentinos Juniors.

One may say that rules were against Velez Sarsfield, but they lost twice: first they lost the Group Winners final to Argentinos Juniors, so after 3 matches played between these team Velez Sarsfield lost twice and won one match after penalty shoot-out. Fare. Even as a squad they were less impressive than their nemesis. One may note the goalkeeper Navarro Montoya – he will appear in another championship this very year, the Colombian, and will also play his only games for a national team for that country – his dual citizenship eventually will cut his international career short – Colombia did not used him for her national team after 1985 and his desire to play for Argentina was never fulfilled, although FIFA eventually bent her own rules and permitted him to play for Argentina. That was many years after 1985, Navarro Montoya was already 32 by then and Argentinian coaches thought he was too old for the national team. Ciciuffo, however, will be World champion soon.

Standing from left: Lucca, Fren, Vanemerak, Navarro Montoya, Gissi, Gabrich.

First row: Hernández, Meza, Ciciuffo, Comas, Héctor W. López.

The best ever year of Argentinos Juniors – back to back Argentine title and this time they were the singular champions, not having to share triumphs with another champion. Intercontinental champion. Interamerican champion – for that later. One may forget Diego Maradona – his original club succeeded without him, with other heroes. Wonderful underdogs.

Argentina II Division

Argentina. This was transitional year – instead of two championships, the country was going to have one and that in new time-table: no longer fall-spring season, but spring-fall, which meant that the championship will be spread in two years – 1985-86 and so on. What were the possible benefits of the new time-table is unclear, but the new formula, if starting from scratch left almost the whole 1985 empty of football, which was intolerable. So, the old Campeonato Nacional was played for the last time. Campeonato Metropilatano was not, but wait… Metropilitano had the classic divisional structure, with lower leagues, promotions and relegations. Apparently, Primera Division was to be the new national top league – no wonder why: the best clubs played in it anyway – and it looked like the whole divisional system was taking over the national championship at the expense of some relatively strong provincial clubs, but the current second and lower divisions were left without football for 2/3 of 1985 and to prevent such crime, only the top division did not have 1985 championship. The wisdom for that was simple one: the best participated in Campeonato Nacional, so they were going to stay idle until the new 1985-86 championship kicks in. Few pay attention to lower levels, but the transitional year opened a bit of a problem: the Second Division season ends with 2 teams promoted up. Were those clubs going up for 1985-86 season or for the 1986-87? If it was for the 86-87, then the system was going to be quite clumsy: winners had to stay in Second Division, then no matter how they play go up. Looks like the 1985 winners of Segunda did not play in the 1985-86 season of Primera… Also, the lower levels season was not stretched to include, even briefly, some of the new time-table: the season started in February and ended in December of 1985, as ever before. Strange as it was, let take a look at the 1985 Segunda Division: 22 teams played in it, divided into 2 groups of 11 teams each, but playing against all teams in the league to the tune of 42 games. The groups remained separated to the end and after the finish combined table emerged. The winner was directly promoted to Primera Division. The next 8 teams in the combined final table continued to play – a knock-off format, the winner of which was tbe the second promoted team. As for relegation, 2 teams were going down, but following the peculiar Argentine rule of keeping a separate relegation table, based on 5-years record of points: the teams with lowest average were relegated. As it happened, the peculiar rule was hard to notice in 1985, for the relegated were also the last in both group final tables and in the combined final table. As for the teams playing in Segunda, most were fairly known names and some more than that. Geographically, it was familiar picture: Buenos Aires, the province of Buenos Aires, and the province of Santa Fe. No other province of the country was represented, for it was the traditional set-up, and that perhaps was going to bring some problems in the future, unless some other provinces were included by fiat, but that was not current concern.

Since only the combined final table really matter, let jump straight to it:

1. Rosario Central (Rosario, province Santa Fe) 42 25 10 7 15 5 1 10 5 6 73 35 60 [Promoted to First Division]


2. San Miguel (Los Polvorines, province Buenos Aires) 42 17 15 10 8 11 2 9 4 8 56 43 49 [to Second Promotion playoff]

3. Racing Club (Avellaneda, province Buenos Aires)) 42 17 14 11 10 6 5 7 8 6 58 44 48 [to Second Promotion playoff]

4. Lanús (Lanus, province Buenos Aires) 42 16 15 11 11 6 4 5 9 7 59 43 47 [to Second Promotion playoff]

5. Quilmes (Quilmes, province Buenos Aires) 42 16 15 11 12 8 1 4 7 10 54 45 47 [to Second Promotion playoff]

6. Los Andes (Lomas de Zamora, province Buenos Aires) 42 15 17 10 11 8 2 4 9 8 50 43 47 [to Second Promotion playoff]

7. Atlanta (Buenos Aires) 42 16 15 11 9 8 4 7 7 7 47 43 47 [to Second Promotion playoff]

8. Banfield (Banfield, province Buenos Aires) 42 18 10 14 12 4 5 6 6 9 62 51 46 [to Second Promotion playoff]

9. Defensores de Belgrano (Buenos Aires) 42 14 18 10 8 8 5 6 10 5 55 47 46 [to Second Promotion playoff]


10. Estudiantes (Buenos Aires) 42 15 15 12 11 6 4 4 9 8 58 42 45

11. Colón (Santa Fe, province Santa Fe) 42 12 19 11 10 7 4 2 12 7 48 48 43

12. Villa Dálmine (Campana, province Buenos Aires) 42 13 16 13 10 5 6 3 11 7 53 54 42

13. Deportivo Italiano (Ciudad Evita, province Buenos Aires) 42 13 16 13 9 7 5 4 9 8 48 40 42

14. Nueva Chicago (Buenos Aires) 42 9 23 10 6 11 4 3 12 6 49 50 41

15. All Boys (Buenos Aires) 42 12 16 14 9 8 4 3 8 10 51 56 40

16. Deportivo Morón (Moron, province Buenos Aires) 42 10 17 15 6 11 4 4 6 11 30 45 37

Standing from left: Héctor Ártico, Claudio Mellado, Osvaldo M. Caligiuri, Rubén Acevedo, Bernardez, Reinhart Mántaras.

First row: Adrián Di Fonzo, Walter Pajón, Walter Fiori, Norberto Ortega Sánchez, Edgardo Paruzzo.

17. Tigre (Victoria, province Buenos Aires) 42 11 14 17 8 6 7 3 8 10 40 56 36

18. El Porvenir (Gerli, province Buenos Aires) 42 9 17 16 5 11 5 4 6 11 40 50 35

19. Argentino (Rosario, province Santa Fe) 42 9 16 17 7 9 5 2 7 12 36 51 34

20. Almirante Brown (Isidro Casanova, province Buenos Aires) 42 7 17 18 6 9 6 1 8 12 34 60 31

21. Talleres (Remedio de Escalada, province Buenos Aires) 42 7 17 18 4 11 6 3 6 12 33 63 31 [Relegated; worst average]

22. Sarmiento (Junín, province Buenos Aires) 42 7 16 19 5 9 7 2 7 12 37 62 30 [Relegated; worst average]

Playoff for the Second Promotion Place


Defensores de Belgrano 2-1 0-1 San Miguel

Banfield 1-3 3-1 Racing Club

Atlanta 2-0 1-2 Lanús

Quilmes 2-2 1-1 Los Andes


San Miguel 0-0 0-3 Atlanta

Quilmes 0-2 1-3 Racing Club



Atlanta 0-4 1-1 Racing Club [at River Plate]

Racing Club (Avellaneda) won the second promotion.

Rosario Central (Rosario) was promoted to first division as second division champion. Of course, they were team ‘campeon’ and perhaps in more than one sense: to win second level league was somewhat good, but since there was no first division championship… Central could boast for more than the actual. Unofficially, of course, but why not?

Brazil First Level Second Phase

Second phase. 4 groups of 4 teams each, the group winners qualify to the sem-finals.

Group E

1-Atlético-MG 6 3 3 0 7- 3 9 Qualified


2-Guarani (Campinas – SP) 6 1 4 1 9- 5 6 Note the goalkeeper – Waldir Peres: he played for two clubs this championship. South American lax transfer rules… making it difficult to establish actual squads.

3-Ponte Preta (Campinas – SP) 6 1 4 1 4- 3 6

4-CSA (Maceio – AL) 6 0 3 3 1-10 3

Group F

1-Brasil (Pel.) 6 4 1 1 11- 4 9 Qualified


2-Flamengo (Rio de Janeiro – RJ) 6 2 3 1 7- 5 7 Standing from left: Cantareli, Leandro, Mozer, Jorginho, Andrade, Adalberto. First row: Bebeto, Adilio, Chiquinho, Gilmar Popoka (?), Marquino Carioca (?). There was to the list of names: the Argentinian great goalkeeper Fillol, Tita, Nunes, Elder. Such players and look at the final table…

3-Ceará (Fortaleza – CE) 6 1 3 2 5-12 5

4-Bahia (Salvador -BA) 6 1 1 4 8-10 3

Group G

1-Coritiba 6 3 2 1 5- 3 8 Qualified


2-Sport (Recife – PE) 6 2 3 1 7- 6 7

3-Joinville (Joinville – SC) 6 2 1 3 8- 7 5

4-Corinthians (Sao Paolo – SP) 6 1 2 3 3- 7 4 Another team to wonder why gone – half team current national team players, one Uruguayan international, Biro-Biro was a big star for years, Juninho already among the regulars.

Group H

1-Bangu 6 4 2 0 13- 5 10 Qualified


2-Internacional (Porto Alegre – RS) 6 2 3 1 9- 7 7 May be not very solid squad, but strong enough. On paper. Standing from left: Luis Carlos, Gilmar, Ademir, Mauro, Galvao, Luis. Crouching: Silvio, Fernando, Kita, Pas, Silvinho.

3-Vasco da Gama (Rio de Janeiro – RJ) 6 1 3 2 9- 9 5

4-Mixto (Cuiaba – MT) 6 0 2 4 4-14 2

Semi-finals: very unusual names. If history serves enough – since it did when deciding who will participate in the championship – Atletico Mineiro should have been instant winner. The city of Pelotas had no big enough stadium for the occasion and Brasil had to play its home leg in Porto Alegre, for God’s sake! But history has little to do with football – it does not win games.

Brasil (Pelotas – RS) lost both legs to Bangu: 0-1 and 1-3.

The semi-finals were the end of the road for Atletico Mineiro (Belo Horizonte – MG) as well: they lost to Coritiba 0-1 and 0-0.

The big final was to be decided between two very unlikely contenders: Bangu, a second-rate club in Rio de Janeiro pecking order, and Coritiba, which was well known and respected name, but also did not rank first-rate club on national scale. Since Bangu had better seasonal record, the final was to be played in Rio de Janeiro. This decision put Coritiba immediately to big disadvantage, for Rio was not just home turf to Bangu, but now the city pride was at stake as well and supporters of all big Rio clubs flocked to the stadium to cheer for Bangu. Hostile crowd met Coritiba, but they did not flinch.

The final was not particularly great match, but it tough and highly competitive.

Relentless battle, in which eventually goals were scores.

Brief footage of the game suggests 3 or 4 goals – there is cheering and no immediate sequence showing different decision made before or after scoring. However, it was 1-1 at the final whistle.

One thing was sure – both teams did their best keeping their own net from the ball. The result was 1-1 after the extra-time, the goals scored by Lulinha (Bangu) and Indio (Curitiba).

Penalty shoot-out. It went for a while until Bangu missed and it was 5-6.

Trembling with fear and hope and payers have been answered at last. Marinho missed, Gomes scored.

The great rush to celebrate with their own goalkeeper

Pure joy

Receiving the trophy and

making the triumphal lap of honour. Coritiba won the championship of Brazil.

Bangu AC (Rio de Janeiro) was unfortunate and the whole city grieved to some degree, but it was equal game from start to finish. Neither finalist deserved to lose, neither deserved to win and Lady Luck decided against Bangu. They had wonderful spell this year – it was not just the Brazilian championship: they reached the final of the Rio championship as well, but with their predicament reaching finals was the most they can do, even overachieving doing so. A secondary Rio club, Bangu had no chance hiring big names, even on temporary basis. Goalkeeper Gilmar was just about the only big addition to rather anonymous squad – and Gilmar was not first-rate star. It was too bad Bangu lost, for it was highly unlikely they could reach another final, but what can you do: it was a final of underdogs. Even home turf advantage and vast support did not help – the opposition played well under pressure.

And just because Bangu will not appear again at this stage, one more look at the losing finalists.

Coritiba FC (Curitiba – Parana) won its very first national title! A great achievement, although it was a matter of luck, rather then anything. Like Bangu, they were underdogs – fairly well known club, but provincial and on national-scale ranking, a second-tier at best. Kings at home, but only that. A club founded by German immigrants and not permitting black players originally, but that was in the very distant past. The misspelled name of the city, after which the club was named remained – a curious mistake, considering how meticulously proper Germans are in such matters. Almost as a joke, it is Coritiba from Curitiba, but there was nothing funny about them this year. A glance back to the early months of the season hardly suggest success: Coritiba qualified in the first stage of the long championship, but entirely missed the second stage: the only successful club to fail like that this season. Looked like quick decline… but whatever it was, there was no more weakness to the very end. As a squad, they were not much – not a single big name. Familiar names were also absent – may be Indio, may be Edson, but that was all. However, the boys played fine as a team – at least at the final, where they met equally pedestrian squad. If one of the big teams played against them at the final who knows – probably Coritiba was going to be outclassed and lose, but Bangu was fair game.

It was great moment, surely – Grande Coritiba: champions could not be anything, but ‘grande’. Back in Parana, in Curitiba, among their own supporters, in the club’s annals – ‘grande’. In Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte – hardly ‘grande’, more likely an usurper… but it was great lesson as well: a team without any recognizable player won the title when those having world-famous stars did not reach even the semi-finals. Unfortunately, Coritiba was not a team capable of long-lasting domination – it was going to be one-time-wonder. And it was… so far, Coritiba did not add another title.

Lastly, the meaningless ‘final’ table of the season:

1-Coritiba 29 12 7 10 25-27 31

2-Bangu 31 20 8 3 55-23 48

3-Brasil (Pel.) 30 14 8 8 48-33 36

4-Atlético-MG 28 13 9 6 37-23 35

5-Sport 28 20 5 3 49-16 45

6-Ponte Preta 28 13 12 3 41-21 38

7-Ceará 28 14 8 6 39-29 36

8-Joinville 28 13 6 9 36-23 32

9-Flamengo-RJ 26 11 8 7 40-23 30

10-Internacional 26 11 8 7 36-23 30

11-Vasco da Gama 26 11 8 7 37-31 30

12-Bahia 26 11 7 8 35-29 29

13-CSA 28 10 9 9 33-29 29

14-Mixto 28 10 9 9 27-36 29

15-Guarani 26 8 13 5 36-26 29

16-Corinthians 26 9 9 8 27-22 27

17-Paysandu 22 8 9 5 26-21 25

18-Nacional 22 10 4 8 39-29 24

19-Botafogo-PB 22 7 10 5 21-23 24

20-Brasília 22 8 7 7 22-22 23

21-Pinheiros 22 7 9 6 21-17 23

22-Fluminense 20 7 7 6 24-21 21

23-Grêmio 20 6 9 5 25-21 21

24-Botafogo-RJ 20 9 2 9 26-36 20

25-Náutico 20 8 4 8 25-28 20

26-Santos 20 7 6 7 23-25 20

27-São Paulo 20 7 6 7 36-39 20

28-Vila Nova-GO 22 7 6 9 25-34 20

29-Cruzeiro 20 5 8 7 23-22 18

30-Palmeiras 20 5 8 7 28-28 18

31-Leônico 22 7 3 12 21-33 17

32-Desportiva 22 7 3 12 18-30 17

33-Uberlândia 22 6 5 11 26-26 17

34-ABC 22 6 5 11 27-33 17

35-Goiás 20 5 6 9 21-27 16

36-Flamengo-PI 22 5 5 12 14-24 15

37-Villa Nova-MG 22 5 5 12 18-31 15

38-Portuguesa 20 4 7 9 19-26 15

39-Remo 22 5 4 13 19-38 14

40-América-RJ 20 4 5 11 19-31 13

41-Corumbaense 22 4 5 13 16-37 13

42-Sampaio Corrêa 22 2 8 12 24-43 12

43-Santa Cruz 20 4 3 13 21-47 11

44-Sergipe 22 3 5 14 15-37 11

Meaningless record, but one can mediate on it: Coritiba lost 10 games – Bangu and Sport only 3 games each. Further, Coritiba won the title with negative scoring balance: 25-27. Something possible in complicated championship structures, but not plausible for a winning team. Less than one-goal-per-game average – also not something to brag about: champions should score more. As a whole, low scoring this year – a dismal record, really, and that in a country famous for her strikers!

Brazil First Level First Phase

Taca de Ouro -the national championship of Brazil, the top level. 44 teams. 20 chosen by historical record – that made sure no ‘big’ club was left out, no matter in what shape they currently were. Two teams promoted from 1984 second level – that was fair. 22 teams chosen by their 1984 state championships standing. One assumes, those teams were the reigning champions of their respective states. Assumptions are safe way to deal with byzantine Brazilian ways – investigations are more difficult. The championship had simplified structure this year: at first, the participants were divided into 4 groups – the 20 ‘historic’ clubs were in Group A and Group B, 10 teams each. The rest were in Group C and Group D, 12 teams each. The groups played only against each other – twice, with separate fianl table after each phase. No team played against any of the teams belonging to its own group. Confusing? Just wait… After the first round ended, there was a final table and the winners of each group qualified to the next stage. Then the second round started anew, ending with another final table – the winner qualified to the next stage. If one team won both the first and second round, then the second best in the second round qualified to the next stage. And after that a combined table of both rounds was made and two more teams of each group qualified: those coming best in the combined table, discounting the already qualified round winners. Complicated, but not as complicated as it used to be in the past. At least the new formula provided all teams with minimum of 20 championship games – in the earlier championships some teams, eliminated at the opening stage played just a few games, almost a mockery of a national championship and financially unsound too.

In the next stage the 16 remaining teams were divided into 4 groups, the winners of which proceeded to the semi-finals. At this points it was classic cup format – direct elimination after two legs and single final between the winners. The winner of the final was champion of Brazil. Compared to the previous championship, it was much clearer and simplified formula, providing all with decent number of games. Yet, it was not a formula of compromises and not entirely fair – politics were the factor behind and it was uneasy solution for ‘big’ clubs vs the country tensions. All big clubs had guaranteed place in the championship, as they thought right. But they put together and only 8 of them could go ahead after the first stage. The ‘country’ remained in the other two early groups and also had 8 teams going ahead. The question stayed open: was it, say, Uberlandia really stronger than Flamengo – provided Uberlandia did qualifyed, thanks to playing against weaker teams and Flamengo did not, after playing against stronger teams? The ‘big’ clubs were hardly happy about such risks, but the ‘country’ was equally unhappy, if more opportunities were created for the ‘big’ clubs at their expense. So, ‘big clubs’ and ‘country’ got equal numbers – 8 teams of each group going ahead and then everything will become clear in the next stage. Uneasy compromise, but what could be a ‘big’ club argument for another arrangement? All great stars were leaving the country to play in Europe – Socrates, Zico, Falcao. Compared to some earlier vintages, the ‘big’ clubs were remarkably weak – hardly any had a truly strong and well-rounded team. And one may rightfully suspect that many second- and third- string players were opting to play for some decent provincial club, where they will be stars instead of joining a ‘big’ club and play secondary role, if playing at all. Like or not, the national championship opened new opportunities for many clubs and players from distant parts of Brazil – at the expense of the big clubs. And from this perspective the complaints of some ‘big’ club failing to qualify from the first stage of the championship were becoming laughable – the ‘provincials’ were pretty equal by now. They may not have been great and never had any real stars, but were equal to the ‘big’ clubs on the field. One look at the current squad of Gremio and all complaints were just stupid rants: they had practically no big names now. And so was Bangu… But if only ‘big’ clubs played at national level… then certainly they would have better teams, talent flying to them from the country’s dumps. Well, talent inevitably moved to the big clubs anyway, but talent also was quick to go to Europe, so this was hardly solid solution – the solid solution was only the result of a match at the final whistle and the new formula still benefited the ‘big’ clubs: they were concentrated in few cities with easy transport and sure to attract large crowds when playing traditional rivalries. The provincials faced great distances, difficult to cover and more expensive to travel. And they practically never had supporters on away games, for their fans were could not afford the travel. No wonder the ‘big’ clubs bitterly regretted having to play somewhere deep in the country, but they were saved from that in the first stage of the championship. And yet they continued to oppose a national league – such construction put the ‘big’ clubs in the danger of relegation and thus belittled. To a point, the ‘provincials’ were always more eager to play on national stage than the ‘big’ clubs and if so, then all states had to be represented… so from angle a national league was also problematic. Weird Brazil.

And because the championship was still complicated, this missive will be divided in two parts and only final tables.

First phase.

First stage

Group A

1-Atlético-MG 10 6 3 1 17- 8 15 Qualified

2-Corinthians 10 5 3 2 14- 6 13

3-Guarani 10 5 2 3 17-12 12

4-Grêmio 10 3 6 1 13- 9 12

5-Botafogo-RJ 10 4 2 4 14-16 10

6-Fluminense 10 3 4 3 12-11 10

7-Palmeiras 10 3 2 5 13-14 8

8-Coritiba 10 3 1 6 8-14 7

9-América-RJ 10 2 2 6 8-15 6

10-Santa Cruz 10 2 2 6 8-20 6


Group B

1-Flamengo-RJ 10 6 2 2 12- 5 14 Qualified

2-Internacional 10 6 1 3 18- 9 13

3-Vasco da Gama 10 4 3 3 18-16 11

4-Náutico 10 4 3 3 11- 9 11

5-São Paulo 10 4 2 4 17-19 10

6-Santos 10 4 2 4 11-13 10

7-Cruzeiro 10 3 4 3 11-10 10

8-Bahia 10 3 4 3 8-10 10

9-Portuguesa 10 2 2 6 9-16 6

10-Goiás 10 1 4 5 10-17 6


Second stage

Group A

1-Coritiba 10 5 2 3 10- 9 12 Qualified

2-Fluminense 10 4 3 3 12-10 11

3-Guarani 10 2 7 1 10- 9 11

4-Botafogo-RJ 10 5 0 5 12-20 10

5-Atlético-MG 10 4 2 4 13-11 10

6-Corinthians 10 3 4 3 10- 9 10

7-Palmeiras 10 2 6 2 15-14 10

8-Grêmio 10 3 3 4 12-12 9

9-América-RJ 10 2 3 5 11-16 7

10-Santa Cruz 10 2 1 7 13-27 5


Group B

1-Bahia 10 7 2 1 19- 9 16 Qualified

2-Vasco da Gama 10 6 2 2 10- 6 14

3-Goiás 10 4 2 4 11-10 10

4-Internacional 10 3 4 3 9- 7 10

5-Santos 10 3 4 3 12-12 10

6-São Paulo 10 3 4 3 19-20 10

7-Náutico 10 4 1 5 14-19 9

8-Flamengo-RJ 10 3 3 4 21-13 9

9-Portuguesa 10 2 5 3 10-10 9

10-Cruzeiro 10 2 4 4 12-12 8


Table – Combined first and second stages


Group A

1-Atlético-MG 20 10 5 5 30-19 25 Qualified (1st stage winners)

2-Corinthians 20 8 7 5 24-15 23 Qualified (overall record)

3-Guarani 20 7 9 4 27-21 23 Qualified (overall record)

4-Fluminense 20 7 7 6 24-21 21

5-Grêmio 20 6 9 5 25-21 21

6-Botafogo-RJ 20 9 2 9 26-36 20

7-Coritiba 20 8 3 9 18-23 19 Qualified (2nd stage winners)

8-Palmeiras 20 5 8 7 28-28 18

9-América-RJ 20 4 5 11 19-31 13

10-Santa Cruz 20 4 3 13 21-47 11


Group B

1-Bahia 20 10 6 4 27-19 26 Qualified (2nd stage winners)

2-Vasco da Gama 20 10 5 5 28-22 25 Qualified (overall record)

3-Flamengo-RJ 20 9 5 6 33-18 23 Qualified (1st stage winners)

4-Internacional 20 9 5 6 27-16 23 Qualified (overall record)

5-Náutico 20 8 4 8 25-28 20

6-Santos 20 7 6 7 23-25 20

7-São Paulo 20 7 6 7 36-39 20

8-Cruzeiro 20 5 8 7 23-22 18

9-Goiás 20 5 6 9 21-27 16

10-Portuguesa 20 4 7 9 19-26 15


Eliminated were from Group A:

Fluinense (Rio de Janeiro)

Gremio (Porto Alegre)

Botafogo (Rio de Janeiro)

Palmeiras (Sao Paulo)

America (Rio de Janeiro). Standing from left: Waldir Peres, Beto, Teco, Pagani,Serginho, Denys. First row: Renato,Cléo, Moreno, Gaúcho, Ademir.

Santa Cruz (Recife)


Eliminated from Group B:

Nautico (Belem)

Santos (Santos)

Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo)

Cruzeiro (Belo Horizonte)

Goias (Goiania)

Portuguesa (Sao Paulo)

It is interesting to take a second look at the eliminated squads after the end of the season and compare them with the winners. And perhaps think why the early eliminated did not go ahead and stuck here.

First phase

Group C

Table – First stage

1-Sport 11 9 1 1 19- 3 19 Qualified

2-Mixto 11 5 4 2 12-10 14

3-Botafogo-PB 11 4 6 1 9- 7 14

4-CSA 11 5 3 3 16-11 13

5-Ceará 11 4 5 2 14- 8 13

6-Paysandu 11 3 6 2 11- 8 12

7-Nacional 11 4 1 6 15-18 9

8-Flamengo-PI 11 3 3 5 7-10 9

9-ABC 11 3 3 5 10-15 9

10-Sampaio Corrêa 11 1 6 4 12-16 8

11-Sergipe 11 2 2 7 6-17 6

12-Remo 11 1 4 6 10-18 6


Table – Second stage

1-Sport 11 9 1 1 23- 7 19 *

2-Ceará 11 9 0 2 20- 9 18 Qualified

3-Nacional 11 6 3 2 24-11 15

4-CSA 11 5 3 3 16- 8 13

5-Paysandu 11 5 3 3 15-13 13

6-Mixto 11 5 3 3 11-12 13

7-Botafogo-PB 11 3 4 4 12-16 10

8-Remo 11 4 0 7 9-20 8

9-ABC 11 3 2 6 17-18 8

10-Flamengo-PI 11 2 2 7 7-14 6

11-Sergipe 11 1 3 7 9-20 5

12-Sampaio Corrêa 11 1 2 8 12-27 4

* – Since Sport had already won the first stage, Ceará qualified as second stage runners-up


Table – Combined first and second stages

1-Sport 22 18 2 2 42-10 38 Qualified (1st and 2nd stage winners)

2-Ceará 22 13 5 4 34-17 31 Qualified (2nd stage runner-up)

3-Mixto 22 10 7 5 23-22 27 Qualified (overall record)

4-CSA 22 10 6 6 32-19 26 Qualified (overall record)

5-Paysandu 22 8 9 5 26-21 25

6-Nacional 22 10 4 8 39-29 24

7-Botafogo-PB 22 7 10 5 21-23 24

8-ABC 22 6 5 11 27-33 17

9-Flamengo-PI 22 5 5 12 14-24 15

10-Remo 22 5 4 13 19-38 14

11-Sampaio Corrêa 22 2 8 12 24-43 12

12-Sergipe 22 3 5 14 15-37 11


First phase

Group D

Table – First stage

1-Bangu 11 7 3 1 15- 6 17 Qualified

2-Ponte Preta 11 7 3 1 15- 6 17

3-Joinville 11 7 1 3 16- 6 15

4-Leônico 11 5 2 4 14-15 12

5-Pinheiros 11 4 4 3 13-10 12

6-Brasil (Pel.) 11 4 3 4 16-16 11

7-Brasília 11 4 3 4 12-12 11

8-Desportiva 11 4 0 7 12-17 8

9-Villa Nova-MG 11 3 2 6 10-15 8

10-Uberlândia 11 2 4 5 11-14 8

11-Vila Nova-GO 11 2 4 5 11-17 8

12-Corumbaense 11 1 3 7 4-15 5

Note: Bangu won the tie-breaking draw to determine 1st place

Table – second stage

1-Bangu 11 7 2 2 22-10 16 *

2-Brasil (Pel.) 11 6 4 1 20- 9 16 Qualified

3-Ponte Preta 11 5 5 1 22-12 15

4-Vila Nova-GO 11 5 2 4 14-17 12

5-Joinville 11 4 4 3 12-10 12

6-Brasília 11 4 4 3 10-10 12

7-Pinheiros 11 3 5 3 8- 7 11

8-Uberlândia 11 4 1 6 15-12 9

9-Desportiva 11 3 3 5 6-13 9

10-Corumbaense 11 3 2 6 12-22 8

11-Villa Nova-MG 11 2 3 6 8-16 7

12-Leônico 11 2 1 8 7-18 5

* – Since Bangu had already won the first stage, Brasil qualified as second stage runners-up


Table – Combined first and second stages

1-Bangu 22 14 5 3 37-16 33 Qualified (1st and 2nd stage winners)

2-Ponte Preta 22 12 8 2 37-18 32 Qualified (overall record)

3-Joinville 22 11 5 6 28-16 27 Qualified (overall record)

4-Brasil 22 10 7 5 36-25 27 Qualified (2nd stage runner-up)

5-Brasília 22 8 7 7 22-22 23

6-Pinheiros 22 7 9 6 21-17 23

7-Vila Nova-GO 22 7 6 9 25-34 20

8-Leônico 22 7 3 12 21-33 17

9-Desportiva 22 7 3 12 18-30 17

10-Uberlândia 22 6 5 11 26-26 17

11-Villa Nova-MG 22 5 5 12 18-31 15

12-Corumbaense 22 4 5 13 16-37 13

Eliminated from Group C:

Paysandu (Belem – PA)

Nacional (Manaus – AM)

Botafogo (Joao Pessoa – PB)

ABC (Natal – RN)

Flamengo (Teresina – PI)

Remo (Belem – PA)

Sampaio Correa (San Luis – MA)

Sergipe (Aracaju – SE)

Eliminated from Group D:

Brasilia (Brasilia – DF)

Pinheiros (Curitiba – PR)

Vila Nova (Goiania – GO)

Leonico (Salvador – BA)

Desportiva (Cariacica – ES)

Uberlandia (Uberlandia – MG)

Villa Nova (Nova Lima – MG)

Corumbaense (Corumba – MS)

Brazil Second Level

Taca de Prata – second level. 24 teams engaged in a simple knock-out format until the final. Two legs and if there was still a tie – penalty shoot-out. Names of home city and state in brackets. The first phase: Moto Clube (Sao Luis – MA) lost to Tuna Luso 0-0 and 0-3, River (Teresina – PA) to Fortaleza 1-3 and 0-2, Vitoria (Vitoria – ES) – to America MG 0-2 and 2-0, 4-5 shoot-out,

America (Natal – RN) lost to Treze 0-2 and 1-1,

America (Sao Jose do Rio Preto – SP) – to Goytacaz 1-0, 0-1 and 2-3 shoot-out, CRB (Maceio – AL) to Central 1-1, 0-0, and 2-4 shoot-out, Colorado (Curtitba – PR) to Marilia 1-1 and 0-3, Uniao (Rondonopolis – MT) to Rio Negro 1-1 and 0-2, Confianca (Aracaju – SE) to Caruense 0-2 and 0-1,

Sobradinho (Sobradinho – DF) to Americano 0-0 and 1-3, Novo Hamburgo (Novo Hamburgo – RS) to Fugueirense 0-0 and 1-2, and

Goiania (Goiania – GO) to Operario 0-2 and 1-2.

Second stage. Six teams were eliminated here.

Rio Negro (Manaus – AM) lost to Tuna Luso 0-1 and 1-2,

America (Belo Horizonte – MG) to Goytacaz 1-3 and 0-1,

Treze (Campina Grande – PB) to Fortaleza 3-1 and 0-3, Americano (Campos – RJ) to Operario 0-3 and 0-0,

Marilia (Marilia – SP) to Figueirense 2-3 and 1-3, and

Central (Caruaru – PE) to Catuense 1-1, 0-0, and 3-4 penalty shoot-out.

Third phase – three teams eliminated.

Catuense (Alagoinhas – BA) lost to Goytacaz 0-0 and 1-3, Operario (Campo Grande – MS) to Figueirense 2-1 and 1-3, and

Fortaleza (Fortaleza – CE) to Tuna Luso 0-0 and 1-5. Fortaleza was perhaps the best known club in this issue of second level, but they were practically destroyed.

The final – the last three team played two-leg round-robin tournament and the winner was decided before the last game was played.

Figueirense (Florianopolis – SC) finished 3rd with 3 points: 1 win, 1 tie, 2 losses, 5-7.

Goytacaz (Campos – RJ) ended 2nd with 3 points – 1 win, 1 tie, 2 losses, 4-4.

Tuna Luso won the final tournament with 6 points – 3 wins and 1 loss, 5-3. They lost the away leg to Figueirense 2-3, but they won the next home match and were champions before the last game of the final was played.

Tuna Luso Brasileira (Belem – PA) were champions of Taca de Prata for 1985 and qualified for the 1986 Taca de Ouro. Well deserved victory – they lost only one match in this campaign, to Figueirense at the final, and were clearly the best team this year. And it was important they won, for Tuna Luso was always trailing behind Paysandu at the local stage and had almost no chances to be ‘selected’ to play at Taca do Ouro. By the rules, they were the only team promoted from Taca do Prata, but was it really so? Rules changed so frequently in Brazil – but rule change concerned other clubs, not the winners.


Brazil. May be not the best championship in South America, but still the biggest and most complicated. Sitting on top of various other championships – individual state championships, inter-city tournaments and who knows what else. There was a conscious effort made to reduce the national championship to some coherent and smaller size, so 44 teams played in the first level – Taca de Ouro – and 24 in the second level – Taca de Prata. There was no more movement from one championship to the other during the ongoing season, the formula was shaped somewhat better and much simpler than before, especially the formula of the second level. Top level was still going through many stages in fuzzy and difficult to follow way, but second level was now straight cup-type championship – direct elimination until the final phase. As for participants… big clubs still pull their weight and no one was out, no matter what: 20 teams in top level were ‘chosen by record on CBF’s historical ranking’. Two teams qualified as finalists in the previous year second level championship. The rest – 22 in total – were ‘selected by record on previous state championship’. As ever, final ‘table’ meant nothing and there was no relegation, but at least the criteria was clear. Relatively clear. The criteria for selecting second level participants was not clear – may be all states were represented, but even this needs some painful search. Second level attracted little interest – the making of statistical record of the season in later time was seemingly a collective efforts of few statisticians, suggesting little, may be conflicting and likely partial actual records scattered in many local newspapers. There was cup to be won at the end, but the sole purpose of this championship most likely was only to promote two teams to the top level – two teams in 1984: at the end of the 1985 championship seemingly only the winner got promotion. Promotion… that too is a bit suspect: only smallish club from one of the strong state championships (Sao Paulo, Rio, may be Pernambuco) could put real effort here, for they had practically no chance for qualifying otherwise. But teams from less competitive states could simply won the local championship and qualify for the top national level. It was easier way too, for second or third string teams from the strong states would be bigger obstacle than just winning weaker local championship. If the picture was quite clear about the famous strong local championship, it was not so,when one looks at the far-away states: there were clubs, not famous, but at least familiar, which did not play in the two national levels. Names could be confusing too – not many people know Brazilian political geography that well and similar names or abbreviations are easily confusing. Wist some grain of salt, let take a brief look at some clubs which did not appear in the 1985 national championships. Or may be they did, at least few of those below? Only careful and extensive search could tell…

Atletico Paranaense – perhaps the most famous absentee.

Similar name, similar kit, different state. To confuse clubs is that easy…

Londrina – played quite well in Taca de Ouro recently.

Vitoria – but which one? Vitoria Salvador or Vitoria Vitoria?

Cascavel – not poisonous enough or too poisonous?


Operario – the known one or one the others clubs with the same name?

Comercial – same problem as with Operario.

And the same with Ferroviario – or is it Ferroviario Atletico? Or Atletico?

No such problem here – there is only one Piaui, but they were out of the national championships too.

Rio Branco






America (Recife)




Endless list of vaguely known, just heard of and never heard of clubs did not play in the national championships. But some unknown clubs played.

Copa Libertadores

Copa Libertadores. The winners of the five qualification groups and the reigning holder, Independiente (Avallaneda), go to the semi-finals – two groups of 3 teams each. The usual draw of countries – no clubs – made a cruel joke this year: Brazil and Argentina were paired together, arguably, the strongest clubs, and so the weakest: Bolivia and Venezuela.

Group 1. Argentina and Brazil. On the surface, there was no contest – Fluminense and Vasco da Gama against Ferro Carril Oeste and Argentinos Juniors. Two of the most famous Brazilian clubs vs two second – if not even third – rate Argentinian clubs. And nothing suggested what will really happen after the opening games: Fluminense and Vasco da Gama ended 3-3 and Argentinos Juniors lost the home leg against Ferro Carril Oeste 0-1. Original predictions ended right then and there – first, Fluminense was awarded a win, because Vasco da Gama fielded illegible substitute player, Gersinho. And, as if to confirm how stupid Vasco da Gama was, this Gersinho never played for Vasco again. Second, the Brazilian clubs immediately lost ground, it was an Argentine race for the coveted first place, in which there was no winner: Argentinos Juniors won all their remaining matches, save for a home tie against Vasco da Gama. Ferro Carril Oeste lost at home the Argentinos, but won all other matches, except the away match against Fluminense – 0-0. At the end, the Argentine clubs were on top, but equal in points and goal difference:

1.Argentinos Juniors (Bs. Aires) 6 4 1 1 9- 5 9

Ferro Carril Oeste (Bs. Aires) 6 4 1 1 7- 3 9

3.Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro) 6 1 2 3 3- 6 4

4.Vasco da Gama (Rio de Janeiro) 6 0 2 4 6-11 2

A play-off for the first place was staged and this time Argentinos Juniors won 3-2 against Ferro Carril Oeste.

Group 2. Bolivia and Venezuela. No drama here – the Bolivians were much stronger and Blooming – the better of them.

1.Blooming (Santa Cruz) 6 5 1 0 20- 4 11

2.Oriente Petrolero (Santa Cruz) 6 3 2 1 11- 6 8

3.Táchira (San Cristóbal) 6 1 2 3 9-12 4

4.Dep. Italia (Caracas) 6 0 1 5 2-20 1

Group 3. Colombia and Paraguay. This group did not deviate from expectations – a battle between two clubs, but not from the same country. Not surprisingly, America (Cali) topped all.

1.América (Cali) 6 2 4 0 5- 2 8

2.Cerro Porteño (Asunción) 6 2 3 1 5- 3 7

3.Millonarios (Bogotá) 6 1 3 2 5- 5 5

4.Guaraní (Asunción) 6 1 2 3 6-11 4

Group 4. Chile and Uruguay. Perhaps more dramatic battle was expected, but Penarol (Montevideo) dominated.

1.Peñarol (Montevideo) 6 5 1 0 10- 3 11

2.Colo Colo (Santiago) 6 3 0 3 10- 8 6

3.Magallanes (Santiago) 6 2 1 3 5- 8 5

4.Bella Vista (Montevideo) 6 1 0 5 3- 9 2

Group 5. Ecuador and Peru. Theoretically, the Peruvians should have been the leaders, but – no. Not only El Nacional (Quito) was supreme, but 2 games in this groups were not played at all: Nueve de Octubre (Milagro) failed to appear for 2 games in Peru – actually, the actual reasons remain unknown, but nobody was bothered ever: the final table was fine just without the those games. Strange, but apparently not in South America. So, in the final table only one team played its all games and Nueve de Octubre finished with 4.

1.El Nacional (Quito) 6 5 1 0 13- 4 11

2.Universitario (Lima) 5 2 1 2 8- 6 5

3.Nueve de Octubre (Milagro) 4 2 0 2 6- 4 4

4.Sport Boys (Callao) 5 0 0 5 1-14 0

Semi-finals. Winners of each groups go the final.

Group 1. America (Cali), Penarol (Montevideo), and El Nacional (Quito). Looked like America and Penarol would clash for the top place, but it proved dramatic and unpredictable group and the winner was decided in the very last match. America started rather weakly, earning just 1 point from its two opening games, but before the last two matches every team had a chance for going to the final: El Nacional had 2 points, Penarol – 3, and America – also 3 points. El Nacional hosted Penarol and won 2-0. Thus, Penarol was out. America and El Nacional was to decide the first finalist and the match was in Cali – America rolled over El Nacional: 5-0.

1.América (Cali) 4 2 1 1 10- 3 5

2.El Nacional (Quito) 4 2 0 2 4- 7 4

3.Peñarol (Montevideo) 4 1 1 2 3- 7 3

Group 2. Depending on point of view… Argentinos Juniors again found itself in the toughest group – playing against Brazilian giants in the preliminary group; now – against the current Cup holder and the most successful club of South America – Independiente (Avellaneda). Blooming (Santa Cruz) was the outsider. And just like in the first phase, Argentinos Juniors looked without a chance after their two opening games: 2 ties. But in the next match Independiente was unable to beat the Bolivians in Santa Cruz and all teams were with 2 points. The next two games only eliminated Blooming – they had to play away games in Argentina, losing both. The last match between Independiente and Argentinos Juniors was decisive and Independiente had home advantage. Whatever that means, for Avellaneda is part of Buenos Aires anyway. Now Juniors won 2-1 – quite a surprise, especially outside Argentina.

The final. America (Cali) vs Argentinos Juniors (Buenos Aires). A favourite? Most likely, none… Juniors was at its best and so was America. America was much more experienced team on international stage, but Juniors played more exciting football. Ambition drove both teams, of course.

The first leg of the final was played in Buenos Aires, on Monumental stadium, instead on the small Argentinos Juniors home base.

The quality of football was not the prime concern – victory was, and Juniors eventually prevailed by a single goal. Commiso scored it in the 40th minute and Juniors ended with tiny lead before the second leg in Cali. 1-0.

The second leg was decided even earlier – Willington Ortiz scored in the 3rd minute and the result was preserved to the final whistle: 1-0 America and as many times before, a third match had to be staged on neutral ground, in Asuncion, Paraguay. As far as fans were concerned, it may have been advantageous for Juniors, for Paraguay was closer and easier to travel to for them. But Juniors did not have all that many fans to begin with.

As for the game, it did not decide anything. Commisso opened the result for Juniors in the 27th minute and in the 41th fellow Argentine Ricardo Gareca equalized.

The crucial moment happened in the very last minute: America got a penalty, but Vidalle saved Marangoni’s shot. 1-1 at the final whistle and penalty shoot-out followed. And there was no winner… Olguin, Batista, Pavoni, and Borghi scored for Juniors. Gareca, Cabanas, Herrera, and Gonzalo Soto – for America. The last were Videla for Juniors and de Avila, who replaced in the last minutes of the regular time Willington Ortiz. Videla scored. De Avila missed – or rather goalkeeper Vidalle saved. 5-4 Argentinos Juniors!

The second of joy and grief, depending on shirt colour.

Happy Juniors,

happier with Copa Libertadores in their hands.

Going home with the Cup,

showing the Cup to their fans in Buenos Aires, the winners cherished duties.

America (Cali) lost and may be deserved to lose – after all, who missed a penalty in the last minute? Standing from left: Henry Viafara, Julio Cesar Falcioni, Hugo Valencia, Gabriel Chaparro, Gonzalo Soto, Pedro Sarmiento. First row: Roberto Cabanas, Gerardo Gonzalez Aquino, Willington Ortiz, Ricardo Gareca, Juan Manuel Battaglia. This was the first time America reached Copa Libertadores final, so the loss really hurt. Their emblematic goalkeeper Falcioni felt the loss undeserved, America should have been the winner. It was the greatest vintage, the strongest team of America – and to him, in the whole continent. He was right – to a point. The squad – and Colombian squads never lacked foreign stars – was quite something: the Paraguayan star Cabanas joined them from New York Cosmos. Gareca was till an Argentine national team player. Falcioni himself was Argentine. Two more Paraguayans, both national team players – Battaglia and Aquino. Willington Ortiz was not just a Colombian star – according to Falcioni, he was the driving force of America and its anchor as well. Falcioni spent 10 years with America, he was already a veteran of the team and witnessed all the changes and improvements – he felt America was stronger than Argentinos Juniors. If it was some of the big South American names perhaps losing was acceptable, but losing to some small club… Falcioni can tell his version of the events, of course, but result speaks against him. America did not outplay Juniors, the opponents were perhaps equal. Missing a penalty in the last minute, though… this was more than unlucky moment. With so much at stake, the penalty should have been scored – a really winning team does not miss any chances.

Brand new champions of South America – standing from left: Jorge Olguin, Adrian Domenech, Jose Luis Pavoni, Enrique Vidalle, Carmelo Villalba, Batista. Crouching: Jose Antonio Castro, Mario Videla, Claudio Borghi, Emilio Nicolas Commisso, Carlos Ereros. The winners allright, but not the exact winners – this is the squad of the first final leg in Buenos Aires. Castro and Ereros did not play in the decisive third match – Renato Corsi and Jorge Pellegrini were starters instead. Carlos Mayor replaced Villalba in the 98th minute and M. A. Lemmet substituted Pellegrini in the 116th minute. One may think Argentinos Juniors surprised even itself, for a picture of the actual victors does not exist even on the club’s website. Tough and may be chancy victory, but significant one – Argentinos Juniors was a debutant, they participated in Copa Libertadores for the first time and won in their first appearance. Thus, they became the 5th club to do so, but what names did it earlier! Penarol (1960), Santos (1962), Estudiantes (1968), and Flamengo (1981) – humble Argentinos Juniors was not in the same league, so their success was greater. Were they really worthy winners? Depends on who is talking. Francioni did not think so, but he played for losing America. Juniors’ goalkeeper and the hero of the decisive play-off Vidalle was also cautious: he thought the final clash largely a psychological duel. Especially the penalty shoot-out – he decided to trick the opposition by plunging to the same side every time and it worked once: De Avila apparently thought the goalkeeper will change his direction at last. Yet, Vidalle considered the saved penalty and the final win just good luck – the team was small, it was tough to go the whole way with it, every mistake would be fatal. But it was also good playing team and the goalkeeper did not have much to do most of the time. The captain Adrian Domenech thinks differently: it was great team, coached by a perfect coach. Jose Yudica, who arrived in the beginning of 1985. Yudica decided not to change anything, except putting Borghi in the place of Pasculli. The change was forced by objective reason: Pasculli went to play in Italy. Juniors already played exciting football, but were considered incapable to shine on international level, where great attacking football was not a big asset. Yet, Yudica did not change the style and kept the boys humble – the team was wonderfully balanced and the players complimented each other – Domenech was proud to play with such teammates. It was not only skillful team, but ambitious as well. And strong too. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between – Argentinos Juniors was strangely made team: it was a combination of veterans well over 30 years of age (Vidalle, Olguin, Pavoni, Commisso, Lopez) and youngsters under 23, with no players at what is considered ‘prime age’ for footballers – 25-28 years. Domenech himself was the sole representative of prime-agers. Such teams are traditionally risky, for they depend on tied, constant starters – one injury could be fatal and utterly destructive. Juniors was lucky not to have anybody injured or out of form this year. The core was stable and performed well at key moments. Keeping the players humble and not burdening them with great expectations also helped – it was the perfect underdog and thus Maradona was not right when asked to asses his former club. He almost dismissed Juniors as a rather uncaring club – uncaring for football. ‘They have 25 tennis courts and not one decent football field’, he lashed. He said that for the club making him a star and continuing to bring great talent through its youth system. It was well-managed club – at least by Argentine standards: keeping in mind money, never spending much on stars, preferring to field young talent to buying big names only because they had to play international tournaments. Pasculli out – Borghi in, it was that simple. Well deserved success at the end of the day. Wonderful underdogs. Copa Libertadores was going to have a first-time winner this year anyway – it was just better that the debutantes won over rich underachievers like America (Cali).

It was great to come back to Buenos Aires with Copa Libertadores to show proudly to everyone.