Brazil Third Level – Blue Module

Third level – Blue Module.
Group A
1. FC Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz do Sul, RS) 8 points
2. Associação Chapecoense de Futebol (Chapecó, SC) 8 points
3. EC Pinheiros (Curitiba, PR) 4 points.
4. Clube Esportivo BG (Bento Gonçalves, RS) 2 points.
Group B
1. SER Caxias (Caxias do Sul, RS) 7 points.
2. EC Juventude (Caxias do Sul, RS) 7 points.
3. Avaí FC (Florianópolis, SC) 7 points.
4. Londrina EC (Londrina, PR) 3 points.
Group C
1. CA Juventus (São Paulo, SP) 8 points.
2. Americano FC (Campos, RJ) 7 points.
3. Associação Desportiva FVRD (Vitória, ES) 5 points.
4. Estrela do Norte FC (Cachoeiro do Itapemirim, ES) 4 points.
Group D
1. Tupi FC (Juiz de Fora, MG) 8 points.
2. Botafogo FC (Ribeirão Preto, SP) 7 points.
3. América FC (Belo Horizonte, MG) 5 points.

4. Goytacaz FC (Campos, RJ) 4 points.
Group E.
1. Uberlândia EC (Uberlândia, MG) 8 points.
2. Uberaba SC (Uberaba, MG) 7 points
3. EC Santo André (Santo André, SP) 6 points.
4. Itumbiara EC (Itumbiara, GO) 3 points.
Group F
1. AA Ponte Preta (Campinas, SP) 10 points
2.Corumbaense FC (Corumbá, MS) 5 points.
3. AA Anapolina (Anápolis, GO) 5 points.
4. Brasília EC (Brasília, DF) 4 points.
Second phase.
Chapecoense (SC) eliminated by Juventude (RS) 1-2 and 1-1.
Santa Cruz (RS) eliminated by Caxias (RS) 1-1 and 0-1.
Juventus (SP) eliminated by Botafogo (SP) 0-1, 1-0, 0-0 extra time, 4-5 penalty shoot-out.
Corumbaense (MS) eliminated by Uberlandia (MG) 1-0, 1-2, 0-3 extra time.
Uberaba (MG) eliminated by Ponte Preta (SP) 2-0 0-3
Tupi eliminated by Americano 0-1 0-1.
Third phase.

Ponte Preta eliminated by Uberlandia 0-5 3-0.
Botafogo (Ribeirao Preto) eliminated by Americano 1-3 and 1-0.
Caxias eliminated by Juventude 0-1 and 1-1.
Final phase.
Juventude (Caxias do Sul) – 3rd with 1 point.
Uberlandia (Uberlandia) – 2nd with 2 points.
Americano (Campos) – 1st with 3 points. Module champions and promoted to Yellow Module for the next season.

Brazil Third Level – Yellow Module

Third level – organized by CBF in two ‘Modules’. The country was divided in two – Northern and Southern halves and 24 teams played in each group. It was familiarly complicated championship – at first there were 6 groups of 4 teams and the top 2 teams of each group went to the next phases of direct eliminations, but the final phase was again round-robin group. The winner in it was the champion of the Module and promoted to the Yellow Module.
White Module – considered third level.
Group A
1. Mixto EC (Cuiabá, MT) 9 points
2.Operário FC (Campo Grande, MS) 8 points

3. CE Operário Varzeagrandense (Várzea Grande, MT) 4 points
4. Sobradinho EC (Sobradinho, DF) 1 point.
Group B
1. AE Catuense (Alagoinhas, BA) 10 points
2. Auto Esporte Clube (João Pessoa, PB) 7 points
3. CRB (Maceió, AL) 5 points
4. Central SC (Caruaru, PE) 2 points
Group C
1. Botafogo FC (João Pessoa, PB) 7 points
2. América FC (Natal, RN) 7 points
3. Fortaleza EC (Fortaleza, CE) 6 points
4. ABC FC (Natal, RN) 4 points.
Group D.
EC Flamengo (Teresina, PI) abandoned and was replaced by Serrano SC from Vitória da Conquista (BA).
1. Ferroviário AC (Fortaleza, CE) 7 points

2. Serrano SC (Vitória da Conquista, BA) 6 points. However, they did not qualified to the next stage for some reason – Sampaio Correa did instead.
3. Sampaio Corrêa FC (São Luís) 6 points
4. Maranhão AC (São Luís, MA)
Group E
1. Moto Clube (São Luís, MA) 8 points
2. Piauí EC (Teresina, PI) 7 points
3. SA Imperatriz (Imperatriz, MA) 6 points
4. Ríver AC (Teresina, PI) 3 points
Group F
1. Paysandú SC (Belém, PA) 9 points
2. Tuna Luso Brasileira (Belém, PA) 7 points
3. Nacional FC (Manaus, AM) 5 points
4. Atlético Rio Negro Clube (Manaus, AM) 3 points
Second phase
Auto Esporte (PB) eliminated by Mixto 0-1 and 0-3
Caruense (BA) eliminated by Operario (MS) 0-2 and 2-2
Sampaio Correa (MA) eliminated by Botafogo (PB) 1-1 0-0, 0-0 in extra time, 2-3 penalty shoot-out.

Ferroviario (CE) eliminated by America (RN) 0-1 and 0-2
Moto Clube (MA) eliminated by Tuna Luso (PA) 0-2 2-0 and 0-3 in extra time.
Piaui (PI) eliminated by Paysandu (PA) 1-1 and 0-2.
Third phase.
Tuna Luso eliminated by Paysandu 2-2 and 0-1.
Mixto eliminated by Operario 0-2 and 2-2.
America eliminated by Botafogo 1-0 and 0-2.
Final phase.
Botafogo (Joao Pessoa) finished last with 1 point.
Paysandu – 2nd with 2 points.
Operario (Campo Grande) – 1st with 3 points. They were champions of the Module and promoted to the Yellow Module for the next season.


Brazil. Well, the way Brazilian championship was going for years was disastrous, a crash was expected to happen and in 1987 it crashed. Because of all complications, run aways, give aways, compromises and efforts to reestablish some order and authority, the best here is just to left from RSSSF site the general explanations: ‘Originally a championship with 28 teams was to be organized by the CBF;
however, Botafogo and Coritiba, who had been left out, went to a sports court and there won the right to participate. This of course led to many other teams trying to enter the tournament. Moreover, the CBF at the time was broke and could not finance a Brazilian championship. This led to
the breakaway of the Clube dos Treze, and two tournaments, the Copa União or Green Module and the Yellow Module organized by CBF.’
And that was not all, nor it was the end. CBF made an effort to amalgamate the two championships – they wanted and scheduled a final phase between the finalists of Green and Yellow, which the Green teams boycotted. This left open forever the question was Brazil’s champion of 1987 – it is somewhat insisted that the Yellow champion was the one. Not according to the Green clubs,especially when it became known that the Yellow Module was to be considered something like Second Division and 8 teams from it would be ‘promoted’ to the Green Module for the next season. A ‘natural’ objection… how come the national title should be contested by teams from first and second level? Meantime America FC (Rio de Janeiro) voiced out its won grieve – how come they were not included in the Green Module and left the Yellow Module. It worked… America FC was placed among the ‘promoted’ teams without playing in 1987 at the expense of Internacional (Limeira), whose protests were ignored. It is quite obvious that CBF was doing this in order to re-establish its authority, but the mess was impossible to handle. If the Green Module was going to be the first level, promoting half the teams in the Yellow Module left a question how big the second level will be and which teams would be in it. Because two other ‘Modules’ played in 1987 – Blue and White, whose winners were ‘promoted’ to the Yellow Module – so, there was third level already… But the 1988 Yellow Module was going to be of 10 teams, it seems – 8 remaining and 2 newcomers. Most likely more teams will be invited… and the vicious circle of organizing championships not by performance, but by invitation, remained intact. Anyhow, the structure for 1988 will be left for that season – what is important here is even the uncertain future affected the 1987 season, nothing was really settled and accepted, and thus the best said about the championships of the year is ‘it may be considered’ this or that. It may be considered that Green Module was first level and its champion was champion of Brazil, it may be considered that Blue and White Modules were third level… it may be considered that Yellow Module was second level… And it may be considered that it was the opposite, or something entirely different.
So… let consider Blue and White Modules were third level on the strength of the award of their winners – ‘promotion’ (or insclusion?) in the 1988 Yellow Module. And consider that the national champion was the team sent to Copa Libertadores – the winners of Yellow Module.
But before that – a glimpse at the depths, where were no big controversies:
Easy to make mistake – this is not the famous Vasco da Gama, but namesake from Sergipe state.
Figuirense did not play on national scale this year.
Another Flamengo, champions as the famous one, but of Piaui state.
Entirely unheard of team – AA Cabofriense.
Guarapari, one of the countless clubs in Brazil. The list may go on… forever.

Argentina Primera A Division

First Division. The teams from the previous Metropolitan Primera A, which played for the title of Metropolitano championship, one of the two Argentine titles. No new names from the provinces, 20 teams, two going down, according the painful relegation table. But a separate tournament for the second Argentina spot in Copa Libertadores: after the regular season those placed 2nd to 5th and the top 3 teams in the Second Division final table went to the ‘Liguilla Pre-Libertadores’. The inclusion of second level teams was new, but the structure was old – cup-format direct eliminations and the winner of the final was going to be the second represent of Argentina in Copa Libertadores. For the moment, let say that the Second Division teams were all eliminated in the first round. The fate of the rest will be given in notes bellow.
Debutantes Deportivo Italiano finished last with 23 points. And since they were last in the relegation table – no chance there with only one season in the league – they were relegated.
Platense – 19th with 27 points, but no relegation, for their average in the relegation table was better.
Temperley – 18th with 27 points. Unfortunately, relegated for having second worst average in the relegation table. Wait… Average or no average, there was relegation play-off against Platense and Temperley lost it 0-2.
The good days of Argentinos Juniors were apparently over… 17th with 28 points. Practically the same squad which played for the Intercontinental Cup a year ago…
Union (Santa Fe) – 16th with 31 points. Standing from left: Humoller, Altamirano, Mauri, Passet, Jorge García, Cárdenas. First row: Armando, Toresani, Marcelo López, Alí, De Avila.
A grain of salt: this may be a line from the next 1987-88 season.
Racing (Cordoba) – 15th with 33 points. Standing from left: Víctor H. Jiménez, Lucio Del Mul, Héctor Chazarreta, Héctor Maldonado, Esteban M. Serrano, José T. Serrizuela.
Crouching: Víctor H. Ferreyra, Víctor Wolheim, Eusebio J. Roldán, Atilio E. Oyola, Raúl Chaparro.
Deportivo Espanol – 14th with 36 points.
Gimnasia y Esgrima (La Plata) – 13th with 37 points.
Estudiantes – 12th with 37 points. Nothing to brag about… just above their city rivals on better goal-difference.
Talleres (Cordoba) – 11th with 38 points.
River Plate – 10th with 39 points. On top of the world months ago… unless the Argentine championship was stronger than the world…
Velez Sarsfield – 9th with 41 points.
Instituto (Cordoba) – 8th with 41 points. Standing from left: Enrique E. Corti, Jorge F. Reinoso, Roberto Brunetto, Gustavo Antoun, Pedro Sánchez, Enrique Nieto.
Front row: Enrique Sánchez, Ramón Arsenio Benítez, Mario Cortez, Ricardo Rentera, Osvaldo M. Márquez.
San Lorenzo – 7th with 44 points. Standing from left: Giunta, Juan José Sanchez, Gugnali, Sivisky, Chilavert, Sergio Marchi.
First row: Lucho Malvárez, Moyano, Perazzo, Ortega Sanchez, Leonardo Madelón.
Let’s note: Chilavert!
Ferro Carril Oeste (Buenos Aires) – 6th with 44 points. Ferro Carril Oeste played in Pre-Libertadores and was eliminated in the semifinals by Independiente 0-1 and 0-0.
Racing Club (Avellaneda) – 5th with 44 points. Eliminated in the first round of Pre-Libertadores by Ferro Carril Oeste 0-0 and 1-2.
Standing from left: Montelongo, G. Costas, Colombatti, Cordero, Pogany, Fabbri.
Crouching: Ortiz, Medina Bello, Walter Fernández, Szulz, Acuña.
Boca Juniors – 4th with 46 points. Reached the final of Pre-Libertadores and lost it to Independiente 2-2 and 1-2.
Independiente – 3rd with 47 points. Won the second Argentine spot in Copa Libertadores after prevailing over Boca Juniors in the Pre-Libertadores tournament 2-2 and 2-1.
Standing from left: Islas, Clausen, Wiktor, Villaverde, Marangoni, Erba.
Crouching: Ríos, Giusti, Percudani, Bochini, Barberón.
Newell’s Old Boys – 2nd with 48 points. Very strong season, which they failed to win by a single point. But no strength left for Pre-Libertadores – lost in the semi-finals to Boca Juniors 0-1 and 2-5.
Standing from left: Basualdo, Tata Martino, Scopponi, Theiler, Pautasso, Sensini.
Crouching: Balbo, Yaya Rossi, Llop, Alfaro, Almiron.
Rosario Central prevailed in tough race for the title against 6 competitive foes with 49 points – 1 point ahead of Newell’s Old Boys, 2 more than Independiente. 17 wins, 15 ties, 6 losses, 64-45 scoring record – 2nd best goal-difference, second best scorers, rather leaky defense, two teams won more matches than them, but nobody lost fewer games.
Standing from left: Lanari, Balbis, Toscanelli, Bauza, Pedernera, Hernán Díaz. First row: Escudero, Galloni, Palma, Lanzidei, Gasparini.
Looking at this team… it was grit, determination, dedication, and may be some luck, for it was inferior team not only to the immediate pursuers, but to teams well down the table.
But it would be unfair to put down the squad winning the 4th title for the club – they suffered decline and relegation recently and just returned to top flight. And won immediately the title! It was remarkable success. Especially for a team lacking big stars. Not a spectacular victory, but great nevertheless.

Argentina Primera B Nacional

Primera B Nacional – the new Second Division. The real unification of the whole country happened here, with some complications – 13 teams came from the provinces, some of them quite ‘exotic’ and not going to last for sure. Promotion and relegation were a problem right away, especially to the outside eye, unfamiliar with Argentine rules. Promotion was simpler, but lengthier: the division champion was directly promoted and the next 8 teams in the final table competed for the second promotion in cup-format direct eliminations. At the bottom, though… for years Argentina maintained relegation table: 3-year record – actually, 4 years – placing all teams by their average percentage. The last in this table went down – even when they were not last in the actual championship. But here the long record applied only to the former members of the Metropolitan Second Division – the provincial teams did not play in it and consequently had a record only of this championship, a disadvantage, because a team with weak season could compensate with previous strong performance and escape relegation, but if they played just a season and were weak – down they went. Anyhow, 3 teams were relegated from Primera B, but above the two with worst average were 3 teams with the same average and play-offs had to be staged. They settled nothing, for all games ended in a tie. To break the deadlock, head-to-head results were used from the championship and only this table decided the third relegated team. So… there was the final table of the actual season, the relegation table using 4-years records, the promotion tournament of 8 teams with its own record, the relegation play-offs between 3 teams with its final table, followed by table of the same teams by their had-to-had record lifted from the championship to decide the last relegated team… Here only the real final table of the season will be used, with brief note where needed.
Union (Villa Krause) finished last with 15 points. They were relegated, for they were last in the relegation table.
Atletico Concepcion (Banda del Rio) – 21st with 32 points. Relegated – 21st in the relegation table.
Gimnasia y Esgrima Jujuy – 20th with 34 points. Went to the relegation play-offs and survived thanks to better head-to-head record.
Chacarita Juniors – 19th with 34 points. Went to relegation play-offs and eventually survived thanks to better head-to-head record.
Central Norte (Salta) – 18th with 34 points. Went to relegation play-offs and was relegated for having worst head-to-head record. Going to Liga Saltena de futbol – their provincial league, third level on national scale.
Cipolletti – 17th with 35 points.
Guarani Antonio Franco – 16th with 35 points.
Ferro Carril Oeste (General Pico) – 15th with 36 points.
Central Cordoba (this photo placed with doubts – is it the same club, which played in Primera B or not?) – 14th with 37 points. Standing from left: Marcelo F. D´Angelo, Daniel Bernardi, Erasmo Doroni, Roberto Aguerópolis, Jorge Villagra, Daniel Mártire.
Crouching: Edgardo Meubry, José M. Miniello, Fabián Rodríguez, Jorge Forgués, Sergio A. Robles.
This one surely is – Central Cordoba (Santiago del Estero).
Tigre – 13th with 38 points.
Los Andes – 12th with 40 points.
Douglas Haig – 11th with 41 points.
Defensa y Justicia – 10th with 43 points.
Lanus – 9th with 47 points. Went to promotion play-offs and was eliminated in the first round by Banfield.
Chaco For Ever – 8th with 48 points. Went to promotion play-offs and was eliminated in the first round by Belgrano.
Deportivo Mandiyu – 7th with 48 points. Went to promotion play-offs and was eliminated in the first round by Huracan.
Deportivo Maipu – 6th with 49 points. Went to promotion play-offs and lost in the first round to Colon.

Colon – 5th with 54 points. Eliminated in the second round of the promotion play-offs by Banfield.
Huracan – 4th with 54 points. Eliminated in the second round of the promotion play-offs by Belgrano.
Belgrano – 3rd with 54 points. Lost the promotion play-off final to Banfield.
Banfield – 2nd with 54 points. Won promotion after beating Belgrano at the play-off final 0-0 and 2-0. Although they were one of the 4 teams with 54 points at the end of the regular season, the play-offs somewhat proved the futility of complicated rules for promotion: Banfield was 2nd in the regular final table (if only on better goal-difference), they played against third-placed Belgrano and won – that is, no different results than the regular final table.

Deportivo Armenio won the championship with 62 points: 22 wins, 18 ties, only 2 lost games, 69-26 goal-difference, which was excellent +43. They dominated the championship, confidently won it and with that – the only direct promotion to First Division.
Standing from left: Gardarian, L.Villarreal, Gallardo, Godoy, Argueso, Sarmiento
First row: L. Villarreal, Alderete, Cincunegui, Maciel, Ubeda.
Even if only one player in this line shows it, there is no doubt – this is the club of the Armenian community and this season was historic: they won the Primera B and were going to play top-league football for the first time. And they hired the instant hero of Copa Libertadores, the Uruguayan goal-scoring goalkeeper of Venezuelan Tachira, Daniel Francovig to help them against the big clubs of the country – by that is for the next season.
Deportivo Armenio and Banfield earned promotions and good luck to them in the next season! But it should be noted that the new all-country structure did not change anything in terms of the top league – still the promoted teams were from Greater Buenos Aires.

Argentina Second Level

Argentina. The whole system was reorganized this season – first, it was no longer one-year season, but went to the familiar to Europeans season spread in two years: 1986-87. In the Southern hemisphere that meant spring – fall combination, using the summer as well, instead of fall-spring with winter and summer breaks. Second and more important: no more two separate championships, but only one in league format. First Division was practically renamed old Metropolitan First Division of 20 teams. Nacional disappeared, but the issue of inclusion of provincial clubs was settled with the new Primera B – Second Division of 22 teams. Seven of them came from former Primera B Metropolitana, 13 teams from the provincial leagues outside Metropolitan system, and 2 teams were relegated in the previous season from Metropolitan First Division. This affected many clubs from Greater Buenos Aires, which played in Metropolitan Second Division so far – now they went down to third level. Promotion/relegation between First and Second Division were quite clear, but not so at the lower level: three teams were going down from the new Primera B – if at least one was from Greater Buenos Aires, it was going to play in the Third Division of that system. The winner of Third Division was getting promotion to Primera B. If provincial club was relegated from Primera B, it was going down to the league of the province it belonged to. Looks like champions of provincial league played for 1 promotion to Primera B and 2 teams were promoted from Greater Buenos Aires system. It was still complicated – only the old Metropolitan system (which, however, included teams from Rosario and Santa Fe too – all those belonging to AFA – but it was not so clear when one goes further down the league system: since a good number of clubs from Greater Buenos Aires belonged to the Province of Buenos Aires, the boundary was difficult to establish. Santa Fe and Colon belonged to entirely different provinces and most likely if, say, Rosario Central suffered relegation to third level, it had to leave the championship of Greater Buenos Aires and play in the third-level league of its own province.) Relegation rules continued to be peculiar and unchanged: the strange table, classifying teams on 3-year average remained and it determined relegation, but even that was not always giving clear record, so there were quite long relegation play-offs between teams with equal average. Promotion was complicated as well – only one team was directly promoted and the second promotional spot was decided by play-offs. Play-offs between which teams, though? One can justify play-offs between 4 teams, finishing with equal points in the very first season of Primera B, but 8 teams participated in the promotion play-offs. Was it to be that in the future? Unclear. And promotion from third level to the second? The champion of Metropolitan Primera B going up was simple enough, but who and why would be promoted from other provinces? The teams promoted at the end of 1986-87 were 2 from the Metropolitan Primera B and 1 from the rest of the country.
The new system practically cut off chances for ‘exotic’ clubs from distant parts of the country to have their 5 minutes of fame, rubbing shoulders with River Plate and Boca Juniors, as had been in the old Campeonato Nacional.
Bernardo O’Higgins (Rio Grande),
Talleres (Remedios de Escalada).

Club Mutual Deportivo Alem
Clubs like these above could not any longer entertain hopes for appearance on the highest stage – at most, they could hope for accidental brief appearance in Primera B. And even that was almost impossible, for there were bigger and stronger clubs in the same pot:

San Martin (Tucuman), for instance.
However, it was there rivals Atletico Tucuman winning promotion in 1986-87.
It was much clearer in the Metropolitan realm, where league system was established long time ago.
Teams like Muniz knew there place, labored hard to win their own level and eventually get promoted to the next – from Primera D to Primera C, as it was.
More frustrated were clubs playing second division football in the previous season and generally used to look up to top Argentine level, which now found themselves in the obscurity of third level. Teams like
Nueva Chicago.
All teams, who finished bellow 9th place in the previous season of Metropolitan Second Division were now third level clubs, but that frustrated hopes of even smaller clubs from Greater Buenos Aires, who had hopes if not going up, at least to maintain somewhat respectful position in the system. Clubs like
Excursionistas, and many others.
It could have been damn unfair for clubs like Quilmes, where memories of winning Argentine title were still fresh – and now it was maddening to play third level football, so they had to climb back to visibility. Which actually Quilmes did – they earned promotion somehow. Winning the Third Division championship.
Almirante Brown finished 2nd in the same league and also climbed back to Second Division.
So, good luck to Quilmes, Almirante Brown, and Atletico Tucuman in the 1987-88 season of Primera B Nacional.

Copa Libertadores

Copa Libertadores. The same formula as ever: 5 groups of 4 teams each at first and their winners going to the second round, where they were joined by the current holder of cup – River Plate, on this occasion. The draw was ‘right’ – stronger countries were paired with weak ones this time and nothing exceptional was expected. But it did – first of all, a great Brazilian fiasco. That was the real sensation. The other big event was unusually strong run of Venezuelan team – Union Atletico Tachira did not qualified, but came close to it and caused big sensation beating Independiente (Avellaneda) 3-2. A home win, but still absolutely unexpected, a victory which even the winners did now dream of. And it came from a goal scored by their Uruguayan goalkeeper Daniel Francovig. A spectacular goal-to-goal kick and the ball ended in the Argentine net, which was instantly televised and covered in the press everywhere, thus practically putting Venezuelan football on the map.
Francovig said that the goal was absolutely accidental – he just wanted to kick the ball as far away as possible so the give his team a little break from Argentina pressure, and even did not think that the goal will be allowed. But that goal eventually brought him a contract with good pay in Argentina. Tachira ended 3rd in the group at the end.
Group 1.
1. Independiente (Argentina) 4 1 1 13-4 9
2. Rosario Central (Argentina) 3 2 1 12-7 8
3. UA Tachira (Venezuela) 3 1 2 11-12 7
4. Estudiantes Merida (Venezuela) 0 0 4 4-17 0
Group 2.
1. America (Colombia) 3 2 1 13-5 8
2. Deportivo Cali (Colombia) 4 0 2 13-5 8
3. The Strongest (Bolivia) 2 1 3 7-16 5
4. Oriente Petrolero (Bolivia) 1 1 4 7-14 3
Since America and Deportivo finished with equal records, a play-off was scheduled – it ended 0-0 and America won the penalty shoot-out 4-2 to clinch first place.
Group 3.
1. Cobreloa (Chile) 3 2 1 8-4 8
2. Colo Colo (Chile) 2 3 1 6-4 7
3. Guarani (Brazil) 1 3 2 6-8 5
4. Sao Paulo (Brazil) 1 2 3 9-13 4
Group 4.
1. Barcelona (Ecuador) 4 0 2 8-7 8
2. Olimpia (Paraguay) 3 1 2 9-10 7
3. El Nacional (Ecuador) 3 0 3 12-7 6
4. Sol de America (Paraguay) 1 1 4 7-12 3
Group 5.
1. Penarol (Uruguay) 4 2 0 10-4 10
2. Alianza Lima (Peru) 2 2 2 4-4 6
3. Progreso (Uruguay) 1 3 2 7-7 5
4. Colegio San Agustin (Peru) 1 1 4 5-11 3
Semifinal stage – the 5 winners from the opening stage plus River Plate, as current Copa Libertadores holders.
Group A
1. America (Colombia) 2 2 0 9-3 6
2. Cobreloa (Chile) 2 2 0 8-3 6
3. Barcelona (Ecuador) 0 0 4 0-11 0
Group B
1. Penarol (Uruguay) 4 1 1 11-3 7
2. River Plate (Argentina) 1 2 1 2-2 4
3. Independiente (Argentina) 1 1 2 4-8 3
So, the two-leg final was going to be between Penarol (Montevideo) and America (Cali). The stakes were high, of course. Penarol was going to play its 8th final – 3 times they won Libertadores, but the last victory was 20 years ago, in 1966. America never won the continental cup, coming to its 3rd consecutive final – not a small achievement, but it was high time to win the cup at last. The team was strong and that was arguably the most successful period in the history of the club – America depended on top-class players: the Argentine Ricardo Gareca and the Paraguayan Roberto Cabanas. Julio Uribe (Peru) was also in the team, but he failed to shine. There were three more foreigners – Julio Falcioni and Juan Battaglia (Argentina) and Sergio Santin (Uruguay), plus a plethora of Colombian stars – Willington Ortiz, Victor Luna, Gerardo Aquino, and others. Gabriel Ochoa Uribe coached the team – much loved and respected coach, who was great motivator and players loved playing for him. Penarol had no imports, but featured 5 men who won Copa America this year. Not all were regulars in the national team, but still winners – Eduardo Pereira, Obdulio Trasante, Jose Perdomo, Eduardo da Silva, and Gustavo Matosas. They were coached by one Oscar Washington Tabarez, still in his early years of his career and coaching Penarol for the first time too. He was noticed largely by his work with youth teams so far, a coach with big potential at least.
Both teams had big ambitions, much to prove and were ready to fight to the end, so no surprise that the South American tradition was honoured: two leags were not enough. America won 2-0 at home, Penarol won 2-1 in Montevideo. The third match was scheduled in Santiago de Chile and regular time ended scoreless – 0-0. And it looked like the extra time will not break the tie either – in the last minute the result was still 0-0.
Then Aguirre kicked the ball and it ended in the America’s net.

Penarol burst with joy
And America was devastated.
Instant hero – later Aguirre said that he tried the last chance, for he saw the clock before kicking the ball. A magical moment, which changed his life – thanks to this goal, he had a very good career, he said, and fans remember it to this very day – although he scored goals for Penarol, including one in the second leg of the final, this was became eternal. Of course it was – victory was achieved 2 seconds before the time run out! Aguirre was also sorry for America, the way they suffered the loss, the sheer devastating injustice to lose a third final.
1st Leg. Pascual Guerrero, Cali, 21-10-1987
América – Peñarol 2-0 8′ Battaglia 1-0 20′ Cabañas 2-0
América: Falcioni, H. Valencia, V. Espinosa, Aponte, Porras, Luna, Santín, R. Cabañas, H.D. Herrera (A. Escobar), Gareca (O. Maturana), Battaglia.
Peñarol: E. Pereira, J. Herrera, Rotti, Trasante, A. Domínguez (Villar), J. Perdomo, G. Matosas (E. Da Silva), D. Vidal, R. Viera, J. Cabrera, D. Aguirre.
Referee: Wright (Brazil) Attendance: 65,000
2nd Leg. Centenario, Montevideo, 28-10-1987
Peñarol – América 2-1 19′ Cabañas 0-1 68′ Aguirre 1-1 87′ Villar 2-1
Peñarol: E. Pereira, J. Herrera, Rotti (J. Gonçálvez), Trasante, A. Domínguez, J. Perdomo, E. Da Silva, D. Vidal, R. Viera, J. Cabrera (Villar), D. Aguirre.
América: Falcioni, H. Valencia, V. Espinosa, Aponte, Porras, Luna, Santín, R. Cabañas, W. Ortiz (H.D. Herrera), Gareca, Battaglia.
Referee: Calabria (Argentina) Attendance: 60,000
Playoff. Estadio Nacional, Santiago (Chile), 31-10-1987
Peñarol – América 1-0 aet 120′ Aguirre 1-0
Peñarol: E. Pereira, J. Herrera, Rotti, Trasante, A. Domínguez, J. Perdomo (J. Gonçálvez), E. Da Silva, D. Vidal (Villar), R. Viera, J. Cabrera, D. Aguirre.
América: Falcioni, H. Valencia, V. Espinosa, Aponte, Ampudia, Luna, Santín, R. Cabañas, W. Ortiz, Gareca (Esterilla), Battaglia.
Referee: Silva (Chile) Attendance: 25,000
But Penarol got Copa Libertadores and happiness was endless.

The winner can be only one and after 20 years of waiting Penarol won their 4th Copa Libertdares – thanks to hero Aguirre.
America (Cali) was most unfortunate, losing third consecutive final. Standing from left: J. Ampudia, A. Aponte, V. Luna, J. Falcioni, S. Santín, V. Espinoza.
Crouching: W. Ortiz, R. Cabañas, R. Gareca, J. Battaglia.
Surely unlucky, losing in the last minute of overtime, but if one looks back – perhaps it was not that much bad luck, but something little missing. They lost minimally the previous year and in 1985 again lost the third match. Always losing by little, by only a goal, but losing. In fact, the biggest victory in the 8 finals games they played was theirs – 2-0 vs Penarol – and it was not enough, they still failed to win the Cup. Great team, great coach, but most likely it was the general state of Colombian football preventing them to succeed: it was ascending, but still developing, not first class yet, and that was the little something missing. They were close to the top, but not there yet. Still, too bad America was on the losing end.
Lucky winners and a look at the squad makes one questioning the class of the team – not particularly famous players. Even their national teams players – they won Copa America this year, but almost all of them were recently included in the team. Their captain Eduardo Periera had long career already, playing in Spain and other countries, but he was just made national team starter. Penarol, however, had something very rare for South American successful team – the squad was very young, the average age was 22. Not great old stars, but bright young talent, coached by the perfect man for such team:
Oscar Washington Tabarez, in yellow jersey on the right, was just hired to coach Penarol (as it turned out, only for this one season) and it was the perfect choice. Tabarez was already known for his work with yougsters – Penarol was such young team, players and coach were just right for each other. As a coach, he was still young and trying to make a name for himself – again, both players and coach shared motivation for success. This was the first trophy Tabarez won. His methods and ideas apparently worked – and for that he was hired again to coach the Under-20 national team of Uruguay, where he developed his great youth program, which produced a string of stars in the next 30 years. But nobody knew at the time that thanks to Tabarez players like Forlan and Cavani will pop up – at the moment it was perfect match of young team and young coach, which produced may be not very spectacular results, but success. Enough said: Penarol won Copa Libertadores after 20 years of painful waiting.

Intercontinental Cup

The Intercontinental Cup. FC Porto (Portugal) vs Penarol (Uruguay).
Whatever predictions were expressed before the game, the weather killed them – there was snow blizzard on December 13th in Tokyo. The outcry remains to this very day – conditions were so harsh, many consider this issue of Toyota Cup ‘ridiculous’. Today the match would have been rescheduled, but let face it: tied calendar placed the Intercontinental Cup at the very end of the year, in the midst of winter in the Northern hemisphere. Japan was so far away, meddling with dates was hard to do, but it was only thanks to the Japanese that this competitions was continued, after the disasters in the 1970s, which placed it on the verge of extinction. There was nothing to do, but play… It was heavy burden to the opponents, both coming from countries rarely seeing snow and used to play technical Latin football, but the only other option seemingly was to forfeit the final, which football officials and organizers would not like to see – apart from the voice of money, increasingly becoming more vocal, there was the issue of survival of the tournament: abandoning the final would not have been permitted and harsh sanctions would follow, which the clubs did not want to suffer. Rescheduling was pretty much out of question – both opponents were in the middle of their country championships and could not stay long in Japan. FC Porto still had to play the second leg of the European Supercup – there was no room to fit in rescheduled Toyota Cup.
On the other hand, there is something to say about playing in such conditions – younger generations find it hard to swallow, but football was played regularly in mud and snow until 1990s. Football fields were not the comfortable evergreens of today – they were rough, often with only patches of grass after mid-season, sometimes there was not grass at all, but sand. Players of old were used to that, even those from Southern climes. And there was special attraction to football played in snow – the game is entirely unpredictable, full of weird moments, almost a different sport. Great artistic football it is not, but it is fun – a ball going in the empty net suddenly stops before the goal-line, stuck in the mud; innocent looking ball weirdly slides just before the goalie gets it and ends in the net, a player kicks the ball mightily and it did not move at all, such unpredictable movements, which equalize entirely the teams and one never knows how such a game could finish. Fun, however taxing the players, especially the more artistic ones. In such conditions the fans hardly ever blame players for missed opportunities or awkward moves and ridiculously kicked balls – it is understandable in such conditions, it is not players’ fault. Strange, but harsh conditions somewhat mellow the players – there are few ugly tackles, fights hardly ever happen, everybody is preoccupied with battling the conditions and mind the risks to self-injury, if attempting aggressively rough tackles. Of course, it is a matter of opinion, but in the snow Maradona and Sunday-league amateurs become practically equal, which is after all what football is all about.
Given the conditions, the final was actually quite lively and interesting.

It was not easy to play in the snow,
but there were dramatic moments.

Generally, an equal game, both teams trying hard to attack and score.

45 000-strong, mostly Japanese public, was well awarded.

Even moments of beauty.
But it was not easy to score in the snow, immediately turning into mud under players’ boots.
Eventually, FC Porto got the lead – Gomes scored in the 40th minute – but in the 80th minute Viera equalized and regular time ended 1-1.
In the extra time FC Porto managed to score again – who else, but Madjer in the 110th minute.
He immortalized himself in the hearts of FC Porto fans: the hero of the spring against Bayern, did it again in the winter against Penarol. The Uruguayans were unable to equalize in the remaining minutes.
Tokyo, National Stadium
December 13, 1987 Att: 45,000 Ref: Wöhrer (AUT)

FC Porto (POR) 2-1 (1-0) aet Peñarol (URU)
1-0 42′ Gomes
1-1 80′ Viera
2-1 110′ Madjer

FC Porto: Mlynarczyk – João Pinto, Inacio, Lipa Pereira, Rui Barros (61′ Quim),Geraldão, Magalhães, Madjer, Sousa, Gomes, André
Peñarol : Pereira – Rotti, Trasante, Herrean (95′ Gonsalves), Domínguez, Perdomo, Da Silva, Aguirre, Vidal, Cabrera (46′ Matosas), Viera
Fernando Gomes received the Intercontinental Cup – or Toyota Cup, whatever.
After that Mlynarczyk led the most unusual triumphal run around the stadium.
Never mind the snow!

On top of the world.
Hard to blame Penarol for anything – they did what they could, they were not the weaker team, they played with big hearts in the terrible conditions in which victory was chancy and could have gone either way. Can’t blame them, but losing after all that effort… no way Penarol were happy.
Tired, but victorious. It was hardly a great final – the conditions prevented skillful players to dazzle the crowds – Rui Barros had to be replaced, for example, because of that, but it was interesting, dramatic, and immensely difficult final. May be a bit lucky, may be a bit more better adjusted to the snow, no matter – FC Porto won its first Intercontinental Cup and against very fit and tough opponent too. Madjer became a true legend, Mlynarczyk – perhaps overachieved, thanks to playing for Porto, but arguably Fernando Gomes deserved this victory most of all. A star for many years, the great scorer badly lacked international success – now, at his late years, nearing retirement, he finally achieved it and abundantly: Champions Cup, now the Intercontinental Cup, soon the European Supercup too. Everything was won! FC Porto really burst among the top clubs of the world with a bang.

European Player Of The Year

The European Player of the Year. Unlike the Golden Shoe, this award happened to be fair and right, which was not always the case. Journalists from 27 European countries made their lists and although there were some samples of local patriotism (Rodion Camataru got 2 points and Albanian Sokol Kushta 1 point), at the top everything was fine. Emilio Butrageno (Real Madrid and Spain) ended 3rd with 61 points, Paulo Futre (at the time of the voting – Atletico Madrid and Portugal) – 2nd with 91 points, and number one was Ruud Gullit (at the time of the voting Milan and Holland) with 106 points.
This was one of the fairest elections ever, for it was unusually timely: Ruud Gullit was 25-years old, already established star, who had everything – he was at perfect age for a player, had plenty of experience, and practically at its peak as a player.

The 1986-87 season he finished captaining PSV Eindhoven and was transferred to Milan in the summer.
And he did not need time for adjustment to new club and essentially different kind of football, but shined right away. Critics could say Gullit was somewhat thin on success, but he was elegant, highly skillful player, excellent playmaker, physically fit, goalscorer, and strong leader – practically, having all expected from world-class star. Perhaps even more than usual, for unlike most playmaking midfielders, he was tall and excellent in the air, like English classic center-forward on occasion. Titles were few, but he was already Dutch champion with Feyenoord. PSV Eindhoven was on the rise and he was part of it. He was key part of the Dutch revival and the return of Holland to the front of European football. And his move to Milan was also very important, for it was with him Milan finally returned to success. It is questionable whether 1987 was his best year – certainly there was bigger success in the following years – but he was most deserving player this year. Certainly he was more complex player than Futre, Butrageno, even Marco van Basten (who finished 6th). Did not fail to deliver, like Matthaus (voted 12th) and was no longer just a rising start, like Gheorghe Hagi (voted 21st). Nobody deserved the award better than Ruud Gullit – and he got it. He was a timely sign of what is coming (the success of Holland and Milan), but also a bright hope of football – in the dull 1980s, there was a player who was delight to watch, who played instead of fight.

The Golden Shoe

The Golden Shoe. Romanian striker Rodion Camataru (Dinamo Bucharest) won the award with 44 goals, followed by Tony Polster (Austria Vienna) with 39 goals and Nasko Sirakov (Vitosha Sofia) with 36. That were the dry numbers. Behind them, though…

Rodion Camataru collected his award for European top scorer surrounded by heavy criticism. Polster refused to attend the ceremony and to receive his Silver Shoe, accusing somewhat vaguely of ‘machinations’ used in order of winning. The plain rules for winning the award were criticized for years – traditional objections were repeated again, but this time there is new ominous element, which was suspected in the past, yet, not coming directly to the front line. Traditionally, objections were obvious: different leagues in Europe had different length and a player in championship with, say, 38 rounds naturally had more chances than one playing only 30 games in the season. And the championships were not equal at all – it was one thing to play in Italy and something else in Cyprus: even a great scorer would hardly score more than 16-18 goals in the Italian league, but generally lesser player could score 30 goals in the weak Cypriot league. Against such reasons stood another plain fact: the Golden Shoe was never won by a player coming out of the blue, only to disappear again – great scorers were at the top every year, their records impeccable. So, what if they played in weak leagues or were not huge international stars? They were great scorers in their own countries, which after all equalized Gerd Muller to Sotiris Kaiafas – all-tme top scorers of, respectively, (West) Germany and Cyprus. Unsolvable issue, but the critics got fresh fuel for their fire with the victory of Camataru, for he was not among the top 10 European scorers of the year at the time when most championships were coming to end. At the 30th round of the Romanian championship he had 30 goals to his credit. Not bad at all, but… the competition had a game or two at most to play. Romanian championship on the other hand was ending after most of the continental leagues and suddenly Camataru started to score enormous amounts of goals: 3 in the 29th round (against Corvinul, match ending 3-3), 3 in the 30th (3-3 against Otelul), 2 in the 31st (2-3 against Flacara), 4 in the 32nd (5-4 against Sportul Studentesc), 5 in the 33rd (6-2 against Jiul), 3 in the 34th (4-3 against Rapid). 18 goals in his last five games… very suspect, even the end results of the those games. But nothing to prove wrong-doing… Camataru was well established scorer in Romanian football – 169 goals in 326 games by the end of 1986-87 season. Impressive with the national team too: 17 goals in 58 games and praised at the 1984 European championship finals. Twice Romanian champion and twice Romanian Cup winner with his previous club Universitatea (Craiova), but his fantastic scoring run happened with Dinamo (Bucharest), which he joined in the summer of 1986 – that is, he became top European scorer in his first season with Dinamo, the club run by the Romanian Secret Police. But it was also the second best team in the country, having half of the national team in its roster… it was possible that with strong players around him, Camataru could score more… possible and impossible… The player defended swiftly himself when pressed by journalists: ‘I am almost 30-years old, the end of my career is nearing and I am obliged to do something with which to be remembered. The Golden Shoe was such opportunity and the circumstances helped me – when it became clear that Dinamo cannot win the championship, but cannot lose second place either, we decided to play entirely attacking football and not caring for defense. Yes, we received a lot of goals, but also scored a lot and my teammates practically played for me, providing scoring opportunities. On my part I worked harder than usual not to disappoint them and to score as many as possible.’ Plausible… such things happened before everywhere, especially when a team had nothing else to play for. Great scorers were natural consumers, teammates always playing for them – no wrongdoing in that. If there was something fixed… well, would you expect anybody spilling the beans just because a journalist is asking? Romania had great scorer before – Dudu Georgescu, so why not having another? He won the Golden Shoe twice – in 1975 with 33 goals and in 1977 with 47. His records were not seen suspect… then. In 1987 they looked somewhat different… Georgescu played for Dinamo (Bucharest) too. But nothing to prove wrongdoing and Camataru received his Golden Shoe. However, his award brought the Golden Shoe down – from now on records became instantly suspect, accusations became the norm, and the end of the award came in the 1990.
And after 1990 the true story was revealed, confronting Camataru’s words in 1987: his scores were largely fixed by the State Police, but no matter – the thing was fixing, as suspected, and the award for 1987 was given to Toni Polster.