Mexico Second Championship

First Division – PRODE-85. The second championship of the year. Truncated one and shorter too, played under slightly different formula. No relegation and instead of playing against all league members, in the first phase the teams played only against the members of the same group. After that it was the same – ¼ finals, ½ finals and final.

Grupo 1.

1. Tampico-Madero 10 points after 8 games.

2. Atletico Morelia 8 Qualifed on better goal-difference

3. Toluca 8

4. UNAM 7

5. Leon 7

Grupo 2.

1. Puebla 13

2. Universidad de Guadalajara 10

3. Deportivo Neza 7

4. Atlas 5

5. Monterrey 5

Grupo 3.

1. Atlante 11

2. Cruz Azul 11

3.UAG 7

4. Necaxa 7

5. Atletico Potosino 4

Grupo 4.

1. America 12

2. CD Guadalajara 10

3. Angeles (Puebla) 9

4. Irapuato 4 promoted from the 1984-85 championship

5. UANL 4 Perhaps the only memorable thing of their performance was the Hamburger SV jersey their goalkeeper used.

It looks like that many clubs miscalculated the length season and were in good condition too early. Others either prepared better, coming to full strength around mid-year, or put extra efforts to overcome weaker 1984-85 season. However, the usual arguments should be taken with a grain of salt: the needs of the national team preparing for the World Cup perhaps affected negatively teams having key figures of the national team. Looked like teams where foreigners were the stars played better in PRODE-85. All to the point, of course.

¼ finals.

Cruz Azul lost to Tampico-Madero: 1-2 and 1-2.

Atletico Morelia was eliminated by Atlante: 1-2 and 0-3.

CD Guadalajara lost to Puebla: 0-0 and 0-1.

Universidad de Guadalajara lost to America: 0-2 and 1-1.

The semifinals.

Puebla lost to Tampico-Madero 2-4 and 2-1.

Atlante was eliminated by America 2-2 and 1-3.

America was driving in full speed already, but Tampico-Madero vastly improved after their mediocre 1984-85 season. They won their home leg 4-1 and appeared to be on the road to a title. But America came back in the second leg with a vengeance: 4-0.

America (Mexico City) was simply the best squad in 1985 and won 2 titles. This made their total number of titles 6 and 3 of them were won in succession. Still, America lagged behind CD Guadalajara which did not win any title after 1970.

This great period in the history of America was made by relatively young, but talented and experienced squad and similarly gifted coach. The Argentine Miguel Lopez (born 1942) was part of the superb team of Independiente between 1971 and 1975. He retired in 1976 and immediately took coaching: in 1979 he coached Maradona in the rapid climb to the top of Argentine football of Argentinos Juniors and before coming to America coached Boca Juniors and Colombian teams. Now, with handful of talent at hand, he conquered Mexico. Seven players of this team appeared at the 1986 World Cup for Mexico, the brightest of them perhaps was the center-forward Carlos Hermosillo, 21 years old. Local talent was helped by foreigners, as usual: the Argentine goalkeeper Hector Zelada, one of the oldest players in the squad at 28, the Uruguayan defender Luis Acosta, 26, and the driving force of the team – the controversial midfielder Daniel Brailovsky.

27 years old Brailovsky was at its peak and is remembered fondly by America fans. Usually he is credited as instrumental for the 2 titles in 1985. His nationality? Depends…he was born in Buenos Aires.

Luis Acosta and Daniel Brailovsky with their mate in hand. The national drink of both Uruguay and Argentina was more the players had in common. Brailovsky started his career in Penarol (Montevideo) in 1976 and only 20 years old he was champion of Uruguay with the famous club. His talent was quickly noticed and he played for the Under-20 national team of Uruguay. Then crossed La Plata again and played in his home town, Buenos Aires. Again, he impressed and was invited to the national team of Argentina. He was part of the initial large selection of Menotti for the 1982 World Cup, but did not make the final 22-men squad. For whatever reasons, Brailovsky never played official match for Argentina – he appeared only in unofficial games. Mexico was his next stop and dazzled America fans, but… the great earthquake in 1985 frightened his wife and she urged him to leave. And without even notifying America, he left shortly after winning PRODE-85. The club charged him with breach of contract and he got 1 year suspension, approved by FIFA. Which probably made him go to Israel and joining Maccabi (Haifa). For them he played to the rather early end of his career in 1988, obtaining Israeli citizenship as well and finally playing for a national team: between 1986 and 1988, he played 18 games for Israel, scoring 3 goals. So, he was Argentine, Uruguayan, again Argentine, and finally Israeli… and was a member of national teams of three countries. Later, he said that of all countries he lived, he felt at home only in Israel and since this is his latest and actual citizenship, today’s statisticians list him as Israeli. But he was Argentine when he played for America and one may only wonder what could have been if Menotti at least tried him in official match or there was no grand earthquake in Mexico in 1985… he left his club at top form of both the team and himself. America was on great run, already winning three consecutive titles. And that was that… it was no joke your best player leaving abruptly at such point. America’s flight was cut short… and also Brailovsky’s career was cut short – after all, moving to Israel, to the backwaters of football at the time, was desperate move, not some achievement and forward moving. Well, Brailovsky may be both praised and cursed in one breath by America’s fans, but perhaps his departure was not the most important reason for the end of success: may be more important reason was having too many national team players. Too many for the good of the club, but they were not the biggest stars of Mexico at the time: Sanchez, Boy, Negrete played for other clubs. Hermosillo was not prime star yet – only dazzlingly talented youngster with little experience.

Mexico I Division First Championship

First Division, 1984-85 championship. Same structure as Second Division, except the top 2 teams in each group went to quarterfinals instead of semi-final round-robin groups and the 2 teams with fewest points after the first stage went to relegation play-off. And almost inevitable confusing change, of course – after the first stage of the championship Oaxtepec (Oaxtepec) was sold and moved to Puebla, where continued the championship as Angeles (Puebla).

Grupo 1

1. America (Mexico City) 46 points after 38 games.

2. Leon (Leon) 42

3. UANL (Monterrey) 35

4. Deportivo Neza (Nezahualcoyotl) 28

5. Necaxa (Mexico City) 25 to relegation play-off

Grupo 2.

1. UNAM (Mexico City) 55

2. Atlas (Guadalajara) 43

3. Tampico-Madero 42

4. Oaxtepec( Oaxtepec)/ Angeles (Puebla) 35

5. Atletico Morelia (Morelia) 30

Grupo 3.

1. Universidad de Guadalajara (Guadalajara) 47

2. Cruz Azul (Mexico City) 47

3. Atlante (Mexico City) 44

4. Atletico Potosino (San Luis Potosi) 34

5. Monterrey (Monterrey) 32

Grupo 4

1. CD Guadalajara (Guadalajara) 45

2. Puebla (Puebla) 37

3. UAG (Zapopan) 36

4. Toluca (Toluca) 30

5. Zacatepec (Zacatepec) 27 to relegation play-off

As in the Second Division, the rules played a joke: in a normal final table Puebla would have been 10th and out of play-offs, but they went ahead as second-placed in their group.

Necaxa and Zacatepec met to decide the relegated team.

Necaxa won both legs – 2-1 and 1-0 – and survived. Zacatepec was relegated.

The ¼ finals.

Puebla lost to UNAM after high drama: 2-0, 0-2, penalty shoot out 3-5.

Leon prevailed over Universidad de Guadalajara in similar fashion: 1-0, 1-2, penalty shoot out 5-4.

Atlas eliminated Cruz Azul: 1-1 and 2-0.

CD Guadalajara lost twice to America: 0-2 and 0-1.

In the semifinals UNAM prevailed over Leon 3-3 and 2-0. Atlas and America fought with equal strength, but America clinched victory: 1-1, 0-0, 8-7 penalty shoot-out.

And the grand final at last: America vs UNAM. 1-1 in the first match. 0-0 in the second leg. Third match was staged on neutral ground, in Queretaro. Now America won: 3-1.

UNAM lost and probably deserved to lose – it happen to be a matter of endurance and eventually the Pumas cracked. Quite a bitter ending of otherwise strong season.

America (Mexico City) won the championship and it was no surprise – they had splendid season. Their timing was better than UNAM’s – Pumas seemingly spent lots of energy in the first phase, where America was more parsimonious. America was gradually coming to their best form and given the circumstances of this year, they aimed at two championships, so the idea was to be at their best in the second half the year. It worked.

Mexico Second Division

Mexico. In 1985 this country had 2 championsips – due to the hosting of the 1986 World Cup, the regular 1985-86 season was canceled and replaced with 2 short separate championships – PRODE-85 and Mexico-86. Thus, 1985 ended with 2 champions. Second Division, however, was unaffected and continued in its usual schedule, so there was no promotion-relegation after the end PRODE-85. The rest was familiar – the strange mix of North American and European formats.

Second Division. 20 teams, one promoted to First Division and 2 relegated to third level. The teams played twice against all others, like in normal European league, but were divided into 4 groups and according to the final positions in them the top 2 teams in each proceeded to second phase – 2 round-robing groups, the winners of which played a final to decide the champion, promoted to the top division. The last teams in the original groups played relegation tournament – the last 2 teams in it went down. The one with the fewest points after the first stage was directly relegated. Stop! It cannot be that straight-forward… and it was not: in the relegation tournament played those with least points, not the last placed in every group. Made more sense, but does nothing to the fancy league division into 4 groups: such rules affect mostly those trying to win the champiomship: in regular final table the top 8 teams go to the play-offs; in divided league easily could be strong teams concentrated in one group and thus some left out. Meantime weaker teams in another group may go ahead and even win.

As for the league members, most were former top league members, but some were not only unknown clubs, but even suspect: hard to tell what exactly was Nuevo Necaxa, for example. Second team of Necaxa or separate club? Since Mexico followed USA-model – the clubs were ‘franchises’ – it appears that second team could not exist, for there is no base for buying franchise. A second team of one club cannot play in the same league with the prime team of the club, but if such team possess separate franchise there is no reason to stop them playing the same league with the ‘mother club’ – it was weird, for Nuevo Necaxa was in the same time a second team of Necaxa and entirely separate entity. But such complications were largely theoretical – Nuevo Necaxa was very weak. However, Necaxa was very weak as well, so the theoretical was on the verge of becoming reality: Necaxa barely escaped relegation and Nuevo Necaxa was relegated – only luck prevented these two teams to meet in one league, not the First, but in the Second Division. Mexico was not going to leave things relatively clear, of course: a team named Veracruz started the championship, but Yucatan ended the season. Franchise sold, team moved to another town, name changed.

After 36 rounds were played the picture was:

Grupo 1

1. Union de Curtidores 57 points.

2. Jalisco 53

3. Colima 35

4. Santos Laguna 33

5. Zamora 32

Grupo 2

1. Irapuato 58

2. UA Queretaro 58

3. Tepic 57

4. Tecoman 41

5. Salamanca 28

Grupo 3

1. Pachuca 66

2. UA Tamaulipas 61

3. Texcoco 52

4. Cordoba 44

5. Tulancingo 40

Grupo 4

1. Cobras Queretaro 59

2. Roza Rica 40

3. San Mateo Atenco 34

4. Veracruz/Yucatan 29

5. Nuevo Necaxa 26

Well, it happened… Tepic ended 3rd in its group with 57 points and was out of the play-offs. Roza Rica was second in its own group with only 40 points and moved ahead. If it was normal league table, Roza Rica would have been 12th… and that only on better goal-difference. Anyhow, rules are rules.

In the relegation group those with fewest point after the first stage met and their final standings were:

1. Santos Laguna 11 points after 6 games

2. Salamanca 10

3. Zamora 8

4. Yucatan 2

Zamora and Yucatan went down. Nuevo Necaxa was directly relegated already.

Second stage of the battle for promotion.

Grupo de Campeonato A

1. Pachuca 13 points after 6 games.

2. Union de Curtidores 9

3. UA Queretaro 7

4. Roza Rica 2 They did not score even one goal at this stage.

Grupo de Campeonato B

1.Irapuato 12

2. Cobras Queretaro 7

3. Jalisco 6

4. UA Tamaulipas 5

Thus Pachuca and Irapuato went to the final. Pachuca seemingly had better chance – they were stronger during the season – but it turned out othwerwise. Irapuato won the first leg at home 2-1 and then won the second leg in Pachuca 3-2.

Irapuato became Second Division champion for a second time and was promoted to First Division. Like Pachuca, they wanted to return to top flight and they did. Good for them.

Copa Interamericana

Copa Interamericana. Practically, unheard of international competiton.

The Interamerican Cup was established in 1969. It was born out of refusal – a proposition for something like tournament for continental club champions was rejected strongly by UEFA and to lesser degree by CONMEBOL. In spite of this rejection Copa Interamericana was established, a carbon copy of the Intercontinental Cup: a contest between the winners of South America (Copa Libertadores) and North America (CONCACAF’s champions cup). It was organized as two-legged final, but there were problems from start and the Cup never gained real reputation. The problems were largely embedded in the North American predicament: only the Mexican teams were decent enough to warm South American interest. Further, NASL flatly refused to participate. Travel was difficult and expensive as well and financially the South American clubs were mostly doomed to spend lots of money for nothing – Mexican clubs could attract some interest, but if the opponent happened to be from Central America or the Caribbian islands it was almost certain there would be only huge expenses and no income. Copa Interamericana was seemingly doomed from day one and was played sporadically, which eventually affected even the truthfulness of the records. Suffice to say that in 1985 it was only the 9th issue of the Cup and it was the first time it was played after 1980. Or 1981… for it was never sure to which year an issue belonged to: the 1985 final is also recorded as the 1986 one and this was not first time years were given alternatively. It was also the first year one match was played instead of two, a testimony of the problems with interesting crowds to attend such games and financial and logistic difficulties. Originally, the format was more optimistic: in case of a draw after the two legs, a third match was played (happened 3 times), but not it was decided to go directly to penalty shoot-out in case of a draw. Since this tournament is unlikely to be mentioned again, let us go to the end of line: Copa Interamericana was played for the last time in 1998. It was discontinued after the last drop of trouble made it entirely meaningless: Mexican clubs started participating in South American club tournaments. Not only South and North were somewhat amalgamated, but CONCACAF club tournaments lost their only strong and popular clubs.

The 1985 – or 1986, depending on who was counting – issue somewhat concentrated all problems of this cup: it was staged for the first time after 1980 (or 1981), so it appeared as a revival of a kind. It was the first time the final was a single match. However, the CONCACAF champion happened to hail from Trinidad and Tobago, fueling all misgivings and most likely the reason for the change of the formula from 2 games to one. From South American point of view only playing against Mexican clubs made some sense, but already their champions tasted disappointment in every sense, playing against teams from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Now it was not even that, but some completely obscure opponent from the very bottom of the football world. Very likely this final would not have been played at all, if some of the big South American clubs was Copa Libertadores winner in 1985, but it was modest Argentinos Juniors… most likely, the prime motivation for them to play was hunger for trophies – they did not have many. But even for them was meaningless to play a home leg: it was guaranteed that a Buenos Aires leg will be played at empty stadium. The only crowd could be away, so the final was played in Trinidad. Something between vacation on the beach and a leisurely exhibition game, played in early 1986 – hence, the confusion of the records.

Defence Force vs Argentinos Juniors. Amateurs vs professionals – whatever ambitions drove the opponents, it was hardly a great match. Memorable for the home team and its supporters only. Entirely ignored game by the international community.

Whatever from this final survived to our time is preserved by Defence Force, but even this is scarce and does not go even to showing squad photos of the finalists. Argentinos Juniors scored a goal sometime during the game and that was all: 1-0.

Defence Force did what they could and given the difference of class, they finished with more than plausible result. Almost equal, nothing to be ashamed of.

Expected victory of Argentinos Juniors, but also just a footnote for them – so, there is no picture of the victors. Only a note that the club won Copa Interamericana. This is a version of the team in some domestic game, but since the Trinidad adventure was played in early 1986, the squad was still unchanged

May be insignificant victory of obscure tournament, but still worth mentioning, for this was the most successful year aver for Argentinos Juniors. Copa Interamericana had a new winner added to the list and the rest was mere statistics: Argentina was leading by far, with 5 victories. Argentinian clubs played a total of 6 finals, losing only one (Boca Juniors in 1978). Mexico followed with 5 finals, but winning only twice (America in 1978 and UNAM in 1981). Independiente (Avellaneda) was the most successful club with 3 wins (1973, 1974, and 1976). All together, 8 countries were represented in the 9 issues of the tournament – Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago. Three times a third match was needed to decided the winner (1969, 1978, and 1981). The biggest win happened in 1980, when Olimpia (Paraguay) destroyed FAS (El Salvador) 8-3 (3-3 and 5-0). The unclear winner is Independiente in 1974 – they lost the home leg 0-1 to Municipal (Guatemala) and won the away match 1-0. A tie, but Independiente was declared Cup winner. Independiente did not prevail in 1976 either, but for that final away goals counted, so the 2-2 tie in Mexico benefited them. Boca Juniors was just the opposite of lucky in 1978 – they won the away leg against America (Mexico City) 3-0, but lost at home 0-1. Goals did not count this year and Boca Juniors lost the third match 1-2 in overtime. In the whole history of Copa Interamericana Defence Force (Trinidad and Tobago) was the weakest and most obscure finalist.

South American Player Of The Year

South American Player of the Year. This was the year of Maradona rivals or, if you like, doubles. Attacking midfielders were voted best in South America. Claudio Borghi (Argentina and Argentinos Juniors) was 3rd. Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay and River Plate), the best player in 1984, was now 2nd.

Julio Cesar Romero (Paraguay and Fluminense) was voted number 1.

Romerito rivaled Maradona from their earlier days – both were born in 1960 and appeared internationally at the same time, but combination of circumstances kept Romerito in relative obscurity. As a Paraguayan, he was a bit under the international radar – Europeans had difficulty keeping an eye on him.

Moving to USA and playing for Cosmos (New York) put him further out of sight – the reputation of NASL as something like retirement home for famous veterans diminished the interest in him and over their the focus was on familiar big names – like Cruijff – and not that much on him. One can argue that the failure of NASL restored his reputation.

In his second season with Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro), Romero was back on track – already the big star of the club. Was it his best season is debatable, but he also played for Paraguay and the national team qualified for the 1986 World Cup finals with his help. At the age of 25, Romero was at his prime as a player and his talent was fully recognized. Unfortunately, like Borghi, he never achieved the world fame of Francescoli.


Venezuela. First of all, there was still no clear connection between First and Second divisions – no team was relegated from the top league and the winner of the lower level was not promoted. But there was a new club included in the top division in 1986, Atletico Anzoategui – where it came from and why was included? Sport Maritimo was the winner of Second Division in 1985 – and stayed where it was.

As for the First Division, there were 10 teams in it and the championship was divided into 2 stages – after the first one, the best 6 teams qualified for the second stage, without carrying any records or bonus points from the their earlier effort. The remaining 4 teams finished their season. Those were: UCV FC last with 10 points,

Caracas FC – 9th with 11 points,

Deportivo Italia – curiously called Meridiano in some sources – 8th with 13 points, and Portuguesa FC – 8th with 18 points.

The top 6 started the final stage with blank records, so everybody had a chance to become a champion. Which, of course, brings the usual questions about tactics and clever or stupid schemes… After the finalists played 10 games everything was settled: Mineros de Guayana (Puerto Ordaz) was 6th in the first stage and, correspondingly, the weakest at the final stage – 6th with 6 points. Atletico Zamora (Barinas) was great at the first stage and lost first place only on goal-difference, but was not a factor at the finals – 5th with 8 points.

Atletico San Cristobal was also among the favourites in the first stage – 4 teams finished with 22 points, and goal-difference decided their positions: Atletico San Cristobal was 3rd, but had no strength left for the finals – 4th with 8 points. They had the best defensive record here (8 goals), but also the worst scorers (6 goals).

Nacional Carabobo (Valencia) was twice unfortunate – 4th in the first stage on worse goal-difference, and 3rd in the final stage with 12 points. They fought as much as they could, but finished one point short from the title. Although, even if they got this point, they would have been still second – on goal-difference.

Deportivo Tachira endede 2nd, more unlucky than Nacional Carabobo – they won the first stage. Yes, it was on goal-difference, but they won the most games there – 10 – and also scored most goals – 26. However, at the final stage goal-difference worked against them: they ended with 13 points just like the champions, but… with +1 goal- difference (14-13).

Estudiantes de Merida played smart championship – nothing much in the first stage: they were 5th. Not far behind the best teams at this stage with their 20 points, but out of the race. Nothing like that in the final stage – here they pushed hard, scored a lot, and prevailed at the end. 5 wins, 3 ties, and 2 losses was only shared record, Deportivo Tachira achieved exactly the same. The title was decided by goal-difference and here Estudiantes excelled: 21-13. Much better than Tachira’s 14-13 and thus Estudiantes won the title. This was their second title, the first won in 1980.


Bolivia. Two-phased championship – fist, standard league championship, all 15 teams playing twice against each other. The top 8 teams moved to the second phase and the rest ended the season. Three teams relegated and three promoted from the Second Division.

The best second level teams, ending with promotion this year were:

Universitario (Sucre),

Litoral (La Paz). Standing from left: Hugo A. Zitta, Ricardo Almeida, Carlos Urizar, Reynaldo Zambrana, Ramiro Vargas, Edgar Bautista.

First row: Mario Portugal, Jaime Soria, Néstor Orellana, Ramiro Eguez, Eloy Vargas.

The third promoted club was Bamin (Potosi), but they merged with Real (Potosi) after the season and played in the 1986 championship under their new name Real Bamin (Potosi).

After 28 rounds the bottom of the First Division was decided, but what could be South American championship without some mystery? The last three in the first stage final table should have been relegated. Well…

Magisterio (Sucre) was last with 12 points and out. Municipal (La Paz) – 14th with 15 points and out.

Ciclon (Tarija) was 13th with 19 points and… stayed in the league.

Wilstermann Cooperativas (Potosi) finished 12th with 20 points and was relegated for no apparent reason. Unless they were in financial troubles, there was no explanation why they relegated instead of Ciclon.

San Jose (Oruro) – 11th with 20 points. Chaco Petrolero (La Paz) – 10th with 25 points, and Aurora (Cochabamba) – 9th with 29 points. Aurora was unlucky – they missed the next phased on worse goal-difference.

Since the next phase started from scratch, the only aim at the first phase was to qualify to the second – that is, to finish among top 8. One can ever argue that clever teams played only to qualify no matter in what first-phase position, saving their strength for the real thing. Bolivar (La Paz) finished 7th with 30 points. At the top, Jorge Wilstermann and The Strongest battled for first place and although The Strongest excelled in scoring goal (70), J. Wilstermann won this phase by 2-point margin. They won 20 games and had iron defense, but what did it matter when everybody started with no points the second phase?

The second phase started with the 8 teams divided into 2 groups, the top 2 teams of each went to the semi-finals. In Group A Oriente Petrolero (Santa Cruz) finished last with 3 points and

Jorge Wilstermann (Cochabamba) was 3rd also with 3 points. They did not a single match at this stage, apparently spending all their strength in the first phase. Standing from left: Jhonny Villaroel, Víctor Aragón, Ronald Campos, Hugo Wagner Rodríguez, Víctor Villalón, Hernán Santibáñez.

First row: Alfredo Almada, Julio C. Zárate (paraguayan), Jorge Panozo, Sergio Luna, Freddy Salguero.

Bolivar (La Paz) was second with 9 points and qualified to the semi-finals. Stupid Jorge Wilstermann, clever Bolivar… looks like that. Real (Santa Cruz) won the group with 9 points and better goal-difference than Bolivar’s and also qualified to the semifinals.

Group B. Destroyers (Santa Fe) finished last with 5 points. Like Jorge Wilstermann, they seemingly spent all they got in the first phase, where they finished 3rd.

Blooming (Santa Cruz) also ended here – they were 3rd with 5 points.

The Strongest (La Paz) was 2nd with 7 points and Petrolero (Cochabamba), also with 7 points, took top position on better goal-difference. No matter, both teams qualified.

In the semi-finals Petrolero (Cochabamba) was eliminated by Bolivar – 2-1 and 0-4. The other semi-final, though… Real won their home leg 2-1, then lost the second leg in La Paz 2-4. The Strongest was clearly the winner, but it was Real qualifying to the final. Why? Unless the record is wrong.

Thus, Bolivar and Real met at the final to decide the champion of Bolivia. Looked like everything was done in the opening leg in La Paz – Bolivar won 6-1. But Real came back and won at home 3-1. Goal-difference did not count and there was a third match in which both candidates fought equally and nobody scored: 0-0. The penalty shoot-out favoured Bolivar – 6-5. High drama to the very end.

Real (Santa Cruz) was both lucky and unlucky. They had strong and even season – 4th in the first phase, then winning their second phase group, then… curiously qualifying to the final, then looked like losing it without a fight, then coming back and only unfortunate shot denied them the title.

Bolivar (La Paz) was a case-study how to play a championship organized like the Bolivian one: nothing at first, just enough to qualify to the second phase (7th with 30 points, losing 10 games). Then stepping into another gear and getting stronger from one match to the next – 2nd in Group B, then leaving little doubt who was strongest: beating Petrolero 4-0 in the semis and Real 6-1 in the final. Their final win may look chancy, but Bolivar was really focused and in top form – chance most often helps the better team.

Their coach Moises Barack deserves full credit for the triumph; he was the mastermind of the campaign .

Nothing new and out of ordinary, though – Bolivar won its 7th title (that’s counting only the professional record, started in 1958). Only Jorge Wilstermann was more successful so far – 8 titles.


Ecuador. After a full-league season, the top 8 qualified to the second stage or Octogonal Final. The bottom 8 finished their season after the initial stage, the last in it – relegated. The champion of Second Division was promoted. The final stage proceeded again as standard league championship, but the top three teams in the first stage started it with bonus points: 3 for the 1st placed, 2 for the 2nd placed, and 1 point for the 3rd placed. No other points were carried over to the second stage and who ended with most points in it was the new Ecuadorian champion. Rather simple and easily understood formula for South American championship.

Macara (Ambato) won the Second Division championship and was promoted to the top league this year.

First Division first stage.

After 30 rounds were played Manta Sport (Manta) was last with 17 points and was relegated. The club changed names a few times, so the logo is not from the time when the club was named Manta Sport.

America ended 15th with 19 points. There is some confusion here – America (Quito) is listed in the final table and this photo shows America (Machala). The same club or other club? Hard to tell…

Audaz Octubrino (Machala) – 14th with 21 points.

Tecnico Universitario (Ambato) – 13th with 21 points.

Deportivo Cuenca (Cuenca) – 12th with 23 points.

Deportivo Quevedo (Quevedo) – 11th with 27 points.

Emelec (Guayaquil) – 10th with 27 points. This was a surprise – Emelec out of the championship race.

LDU (Quito) – 9th with 33 points. With them ends the unlucky group which did not qualify to the final stage and finished the season.

Above them were those going to the real championship: Esmeraldas Petrolero (Esmeraldas) – 8th with 33 points, LDU (Portoviejo) – 7th with 34 points, 9 de Octubre (Milagro) – 6th with 34 points, Universidad Catolica (Quito) – 5th with 34 points, El Nacional (Quito) – 4th with 35 points (they scored most goals at this stage – 70. As a contrast, America scored just 18), Deportivo Quito (Quito) – 3rd with 37 points (they got 1 bonus point for the final stage), Barcelona (Guayaquil) – 2nd with 41 points (2 bonus points), and Filanbanco (Guayaquil) – winners of this stage with 44 points (3 bonus points).

Octogonal Final. Has to be said in advance: 2 teams put all the effort just to qualify to the final stage and that was that – there later performance was pitiful, to say the least. Only 3 teams really went for the title and they were the strongest in the first stage.

LDU (Portoviejo) – 8th with 3 points. They did not win a single match and scored only 7 goals, receiving in the same time 42.

9 de Octubre (Milagro) – 7th with 8 points.

Universidad Catolica (Quito) – 6th with 12 points.

El Nacional (Quito) – 5th with 12 points. Strange as it is, but El Nacional seemingly exhausted itself in the first stage, losing steam even before the end of it. Second row from left: Roberto Abruzzesse, Carlos Ron, Marcelo Proano, Federico Lara, Luis Granda, Wilson Armas, Milton Rodriguez, Coronel Luis Tapia (fitness trainer) Luis Escalante (assistant coach), Luis Mosquera, Edwin Quinteros. First row: Marcelo Rangel (medic), Roque Valencia, Geovanny Mera, Elias De Negri, Jose Villafuerte, Ermen Benitez, Hans Maldonado, Fernando Baldeon.

Esmeraldas Petrolero (Esmeraldas) – 4th with 16 points. Great season for one of more obscure Ecuadorian clubs. They really tried to compete, but unfortunately had no team strong enough for something better.

Filanbanco (Guayaquil) – 3rd with 20 points. Those were the best years of a club entirely forgotten now, if it exist at all. It was just meteoric burst in the first half of the 1980s – coming from nowhere and quickly disappearing. They won confidently the first stage, but were not much in the most important second stage, so putting them among the leaders is more of a jest: they were close only because of the 3 bonus points. Still, it was great season. Standing from left: Freddy Bravo, Luis Carlos Macedo (Brazilian), Carlos Calderon, Carlos Montes de Oca, Noe (Brazilian), Luis Preciado. First row: Luis Capurro, Morales, Jose Valencia, Faustino Alonso (Paraguayan), Marcelo Hurtado.

Deportivo Quito (Quito) – 2nd with 21 points. Bonus points or not bonus points, Deportivo Quito settled for second best: they were almost equal to the new champions when it came to winning games – 10 – but lost way too many to be able to challenge the leaders: 4.

Barcelona (Guayaquil) was really flying at the final stage: 11 wins, 2 ties and only one lost game. 29-5 goal-difference. They started with 2 bonus points the Octogonal Final, but did not need them at all. Anyhow, with them, they finished with 26 points – 5 points ahead of Deportivo Quito. Thus, Barcelona won its 8th title. The players are practically unknown outside Ecuador, but there is interesting other aspect: look at the numbers. Big individual numbers are historically attributed to Ajax (Amsterdam) revolution in the early 1970s – a practice not followed, we think, except in ‘weird’ North America (but there it has nothing to do with Ajax’s example). Teams used standard 1 to 11 numbers up to the 1990s… well, not true. South American clubs, especially of ‘lesser countries’, used individual big numbers often, probably before Ajax, before 1970. So, here is a casual example – only three players use ‘normal’ numbers; may be 4 if we assume the goalkeeper played with number 1. The rest… blame it on baseball. Most likely on baseball, for ice-hockey has no influence in South America and basketball was still quite conservative in that. The only problem with such numbers is that one cannot tell players’ positions – when it comes to fairly unknown squads, regular numbers helped to figure out who was defender, who was a striker. With Barcelona, one can be sure only of the goalkeeper and perhaps that Toninho Viera is a central defender. The rest could be anything… but champions they were.

Peru Descentralised Tournament

Descentralised Tournament. Two stages here – at first something like normal league championship of 16 teams was played. The last placed in it went to relegation play-off against the weakest team of the Regional Torunament. The top 6 teams qualified to the final stage deciding the title – the winner of the first stage got 2 bonus points to carry over to the final stage. Looked like there was to be a grand final after the final stage for the title between the winners of Regional Tournament and the Descentralised Tournamnt, but that depended on who wins what – obviously, if the same team wins both phases, there was not going to be a grand final. Which, at least this season, makes the notion of grand final dubious – was there such rule at all? Why bonus points, if so? Why playing the Regional Tournament to the end, if there was no rule for grand final? Made better sense if using it only for pruning initial participants to meaningful scale. Questions without clear answers, so the championship:

Alfonso Ugarte (Puno) finished last and went to the relegation play-off. They fared better there, eventually prevailing over Diablos Rojos (Juliaca), the weakest team in the Regional Tournament, 2-1 and thus avoiding relegation.

Asociacion Deportiva (Tarma) – 15th.

Juventud La Joya (Chancay) – 14th.

Deportivo Junin (Huancayo) – 13th. Peruvian football appears aimed at never letting it you relax – just as you decide there is enough confusion and no more possibly can be piled up and there is a strike… the club from Huancayo started the season as Huancayo FC and then before the start of the Descentralised Torunament reversed the name to its older one Deportivo Junin. And under this name played in the second phase.

Coronel Bolognesi (Tacna) – 12th.

Sport Boys (Callao) – 11th.

Sporting Cristal (Lima) – 10th. Very weak season for one of the traditional leading clubs. Poor performance in the original Metropolitan Group – 6th, and even worse in the second stage.

Octavio Espinoza (Ica) – 9th.

Colegio Nacional (Iquitos) – 8th. Apparently, they spent whatever strenght they had in the Regional Tournament.

Melgar FBC (Arequipa) – 7th. Standing from left: Alberto Sanchez, Eloy Ortiz, Freddy Bustamante, Jose Aguayo, Jesus Oviedo. First row: Jorge Ramirez, Raul Obando, ?, ?, Genaro Neyra, Victor Guttierez. Not their year, clearly. The only thing to be proud of was that Genaro Neyra ended the top scorer of the season with 22 goals.

The top six clubs qualified to the final stage of the championship.
Los Espartanos (Pacasmayo) – 6th, Carlos Mannucci (Trujillo) – 5th, Deportivo Municipal (Lima) – 4th, Alianza (Lima) – 3rd, Universitario de Deportes (Lima) – 2nd, and

Universidad Tecnica (Cajamarca) – 1st. UTC won comfortably this phase, leaving Universitario 7 points behind, and earned 2 bonus points to start the final stage with.

And the final group – the finalists had to play once against each other, all games in Lima. The two ‘academic’ clubs were the obvious favourites after winning the two earlier phases, but Alianza was traditional favourite as well, so they counted too. However, in vain.

Deportivo Municipal (Lima) ended 6th with 3 points.

Carlos Mannucci (Trujillo) – 5th with 3 points.

Alianza (Lima) – 4th with 3 points. Standing from left: Jaime Duarte, Jorge Cordero, Daniel Reyes, Tomas Farfan, Roberto Rojas, Jose Mendoza. First row: Raul Mejia, Jose Casanova, Luis Escobar, Humberto Rey Munoz, Gino Pena.

Los Aspartanos (Pacasmayo) – actually, the name is Once Benjamines Espartanos – finished 3rd with 5 points. This club was the great surprise of the season – unheard of club, which out of the blue played very well in every phase and at the end took third place. But no matter how heroic these boys were, they did not have enough class to really run for the title.

Universidad Tecnica (Cajamarca) settled for 2nd place with 8 points. Solid second – even without bonus points, they were ahead of all except Universitario, with which they were unable to compete – their only loss at the final stage was against Univeristario. However, UTC got the second Peruvian spot in Copa Libertadores – rules proved to be nothing this year: Univesitario won the Regional Tournament giving Copa Libertadores spot and after that became Peruvian champion, also giving Libertadores spot. Thus, UTC got the second spot for finishing 2nd in the final table. Not bad.

Universitario de Deportes (Lima) was supreme at the final stage: 5 games, 5 wins. They scored 20 goals, receiving 5: 4-1 average, which shows how far they left the opposition. It was not just final rush, but solid overall season and great timing: just good enough to qualify from their group, but they won the Regional Tournament after that. Second in the first stage of the Descentralised Tournament, 7 points behind UTC, but still second best, but perfect in the final stage. No doubt who deserved the title. Top row from left: Cesar Chavez Riva, Samuel Eugenio, Cesar Charun, Martin Duffo, Javier Chirinos, Walter Najar, Ramon Quiroga, Hugo Gastulo, Leo Rojas, Freddy Ternero, Pedro Novella, Raul Garcia, Enriwue Vega Centeno.

Middle row: Jose Carranza, Luis Reyna, Luis Mansilla, Miguel Elguera, Marcos Calderon – coach, Percy Rojas – assistant coach, Fidel Suarez, Jaime Drago.

Front row: Eduardo Rey Munoz, ?, ?, Miguel Seminario, Garagay, Juan Carlos Oblitas, Claudio Pedraglio, Miguel Torres.

This was the 16th title for Universitario and they left Alianza behind – the rivals had 15 titles at the moment. Still the most successful Peruvian club. That is not counting the amateur championships before 1926.

Peru Regional Tournament

Top level. The first phase of the season was the Regional Tournament. 30 teams started in it, divided into 4 groups. Strange groups… The Metropolitan Group had 12 teams and contrary to logic, not just teams from Lima and Callao, but also clubs from Ica, Iquitos, Chancay, Huaral, and Huacho. There were also 3 properly provincial groups – Northern, Central, and Southern – of 6 teams each. The teams in the Metropolitan Group played twice against each other to the tune of 22 games in total. The small provincial groups had different schedule – against each other, the participants played 3 games, 15 games each in total. The idea of this stage was sifting out those going ahead to the next stage – the top 4 of Metropolitan Group plus the winners of the provincial groups. That is 7 teams… so additional rule pops up: the winner of the Metropolitan Group got a bye in the ¼ finals, qualifying directly to the semi-finals. Eventually, the tournament proceeds to its final and the winner, by the rules, got a place in the Libertadores Cup. Rules are one thing, reality another – it did not mean much, if the winner of this phase became also champion of Peru, for this winner was still going to play at the championship final. As Peruvian champions, they automatically got a spot at Libertadores Cup. However, it would not do it to play a full championship just for that – to reach a spot in Libertadores Cup: the winner was also proclaimed Regional champion. It was relatively clear at the top… what about the bottom? The top teams in the 4 groups also qualified to play in the next phase of the championship, the Descentralised Tournament. The next in the initial final tables also qualified for the next phase: 7 teams from Metropolitan Group and 2 from each provincial group. That makes 16 teams… but the 16th was decided in a play-off between the 8th in the Metropolitan Group and the weakest of the 3rd placed teams in the provincial groups. As for those unable to qualify during the first phase, they played against some teams from Second Division in the so-called Intermediary Division to gain places in the next year’s top level championship. Wait a minute… there was quite separate Second Division championship, ending with champion, which was also getting promotion – well, this was seemingly something else, as well as the eventual relegation play-off in the top level. This relegation play-off involved the weakest 2 teams in the first and the second phase of the top championship. Confused? Better be… the weakest in the first phase seemingly was playing in both the Intermediary championship and later in the relegation play-off. There was very good chance relatively strong teams to be out of top level, if unlucky in the Intermediary Championship and not so-good lower level teams actually promoted from the same tournament. Not to mention the possibility of a team obviously stronger than many others in the first phase to be relegated, having been last in the second phase. Never mind… let’s go ahead. The top 4 teams of Metropolitan Group and winners of the provincial groups qualified to the next stage of Regional Tournament.

After the end of group stage of first phase the following teams were out of the game, going to the Intermediary Championship: from Metropolitan Group:

Union Huaral (Huaral) – 9th. Standing from left: Cesar Caseres, ?, ‘Toronjo’ Paredes, Oscar Quintana, Carillo Carty, Santiago Carty. First row: Victor ‘Pichicho’ Benavides, Alejandro Luces, Jose Canamero, Roberto Zevallos, Luis Redher.

Juventud La Palma (Huacho) – 10th,

San Agustin (Lima) – 11th. Well.. let put question mark here. San Agustin or Huracan San Agustin? May be one and the same club, may be not…

Atletico Chalaco (Callao) – 12th. Standing from left: Victor Requena, Dante Novaro, Augusto Prado, Jorge Zavala, Luis Goyzueta, Chicho Espinoza. First row: Juan Sanchez, Jorge Simic, Willy Quevedo, Jose Pajuelo, ‘Agujita’ Bassa. Question mark here as well – the same formation sometimes is given as 1988 squad, sometimes as 1985’s.

From the Northern Group: Sport Pilsen (Guadalupe) – 4th. Never ending mystery and confusion: a team from Guadalupe or from Callao? Even its emblem lists both names, so what was this club doing in the Northern Group? Callao clubs play in the Metropolitan Group… Jose Galvez (Chimbote) – 5th and Atletico Torino (Talara) – 6th.

From the Central Group: Defensor ANDA (Aucayacu) – 4th, Leon (Huanuco) – 5th and Chachamayo FC (La Merced) – 6th.

From the Southern Group: Cienciano (Cusco) – 4th,

Atletico Huracan (Moquegua) – 5th. This obscure club deserves a mote: it is named after Huracan (Buenos Aires), using even the same emblem. Which celebrates the birth of aviation in Argentina and its father Jorge Newberry – name and picture of his balloon ‘Huracan’.

Lastly, Diablos Rojos (Juliaca) – 6th. Poor ‘Red Devils’… they had the worst record at this stage with their 3 points and for this went to the relegation play-off. Did they, however, played in the Intermediary Championship as well? Only next year championship could tell – if they appear in it, then they played successfully in the Intermediary Championship and the relegation play-off was a joke.

This stage properly ends with the qualification play-off for a berth in the second phase: Juventud La Joya (Chancay), 8th in the Metropolitan Group, vs Deportivo COOPTRIP (Pucallpa), 3rd in the Central Group. So… it was not direct qualification to the Descentralised Tournament for the top 3 of each provincial group after all. But why Deportivo COOPTRIP was selected for the qualification play-off? Apparently, for having less points than the other provincial 3rd placed teams. As for class… there was not much in them: Juventud La Joya destroyed them mercilessly 2-0 and 8-0 and joined the Descentralised Tournament.

Meantime the Regional Tournament went ahead: Colegio Nacional (3rd Metropolitan) eliminated Coronel Bolognesi (1st Southern) 3-1. Universitario de Deportes (4th Metropolitan) eliminated Carlos Manucci (1st Northern) 4-1. Deportivo Municipal (2nd Metropolitan) had some difficulties against Asociacon Deportiva (1st Central), but eventually prevailed: 1-1 and 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out. Alianza qualified directly to the semi-finals as Metropolitan Group winner and some of the fog cleared: no matter how much effort to get provincial clubs on the national footing, the Metropolitan cluster of mostly Lima clubs was much, much stronger.

In the semi-finals, Colegio Nacional eliminated Deportivo Municipal 3-0 and Alinaza lost the derby against Universitario de Deportes – 0-0 and 7-8 in the penalty shoot-out.

Colegio Nacional (Iquitos) and Universitario de Deportes (Lima) played the final of Regional Tournament.

Colegio Nacional – or CNI, as is often written – lost the final 1-3.

Universitario de Deportes – usually known as just Universitario – won the first phase of the marathon. Standing from left: Miguel Gutierrez, Javier Chirinos, Freddy Ternero, Hugo Gastulo, Samuel Eugenio, Ramon Quiroga. First row: Eduardo Rey Munoz, Luis Reyna, Kai Rasmussen, Miguel Seminario, Juan Carlos Oblitas.

So, what exactly this victory gave Universitario? Regional Championship title – meaning almost nothing; a guaranteed spot in Copa Libertadores – in case something goes wrong in the next phase; 1 bonus point to carry over to the second stage of Descentralised Tournament – also the final stage of 1985 championship where the national title was decided at last. Not much, overall…