Peru. A monster championship rivaling Brazil in its complications. The 1987 Torneo Descentralizado, the top category of Peruvian football, was played by 30 teams. The season started in 1987 but ended in early 1988. The national champion was Universitario.
The national championship was divided into two tournaments, the Regional Tournament and the Descentralized Tournament. The winners of each tournament faced off in the final and received the berths for the Copa Libertadores 1988. The Regional Tournament divided the teams into four groups; Metropolitan, North, Central, and South. Each group had its teams qualify for the Regional Finals, the Descentralized Tournament and the Intermediary Division. The Regional Finals determined the Regional Champion. The Descentralized Tournament divided the teams in three groups and had its teams qualify for the Descentralized Liguilla which decided the Descentralized Champion. The Intermediary Division was a promotion/relegation tournament between first and second division teams. Depending on performance, bonus points were awarded to the top teams before the last stage – Liguilla . At the end a final between the winners of Liguilla Regional and Liguilla decided the champion of Peru. However, there was a kind of second level championship, for there is also second level champion of the country.
AELU Guardia Repiblicana won it. It is unclear what exactly they played for – may be second level victory gave promotion to the first level national championship.
As for the top level, unfortunately, it must be shown stage by stage.
Torneo Regional. Four groups, but with different number of participants.
Metropolitan – 12 teams. Top 3 qualified to both Liquilla Regional and Torneo Descentralizado. The next 4 were going to Torneo Descentralizado and last 5 – to promotion/relegation tournament Intermedia.
Octavio Espinoza (the picture may not be from this year) was last with 9 points.
Juventud La Palma – 11th with 14 points.
Sport Boys – 10th with 15 points. Standing from left: Cárdenas, Salas, Dámaso, León, Castillo, Puntriano. First row: Cavero, Balán Gonzáles, Rivera, Muchotrigo, Munayco.
Internazionale – 9th with 16 points.
Juventud La Joya – or La Joya-Iqueno – 8th with 20 points.
Those 5 went to Intermedia.
Deportivo Municipal – 7th with 22 points, Alianza Lima – 6th with 25 points, CNI – 5th with 25 points, and Sporting Cristal – 4th with 26 points qualified to Torneo Descentralizado.
San Agustin – or Collegio San Agustin, or Deportivo San Agustin – 3rd with 28 points. They qualified to both Torneo Descentralizado and Liguilla Regional.
Union Huaral and Universitario finished with 32 points each and Union Huaral had 2 goals better goal-difference, but it did not matter: a final play-off was staged to decide the Zone winner.
Universitario won 1-0.
They, along with Union Huaral and San Agustin qualified to both Liguilla Regional and Torneo Descentralizado. The teams played 3 times againts each other.
North. 6 teams played – the winner going to both Liguilla Regional and Torneo Descentralizado, the next 2 qualified to Torneo Descentralizado, and the last 3 – to Intermedia.
Deportivo Canana – last with 10 points.
Atletico Torino – 5th with 13 points. Standing from left: ITALO ESPINOZA, PAY PEÑA, WALTER PEJERREY, BOLITAS SANJINEZ,POCHO AGUIRRE, CARLOS REINA, PEYO SANJINEZ, EL CHINO SALSA. First row: PANCHITO CASTRO, CANTHY TAVARA, LORENZO MENA, CESAR MANRIQUE, PACO MONTERO, PATERRANA ZAPATA, EL MUDO ANTOLIN.
Atletico Grau – 4th with 14 points.
Hungaritos Agustinos – 3rd with 16 points and UTC – 2nd with 18 points, qualified to Torneo Descentralizado.
Carlos A. Mannucci won the championship with 20 points and qualified to both Liguilla Regional and Torneo Descentralizado.
Central – 6 teams, the same formula as the other provincial zones. One game apparently was not played and the last two teams finished with 14 games instead of 15.
Mina San Vicente – or Club San Vivente – from equally mysterious city of San Ramon or San Roman, was last with 5 points. Standing from left: Esteban Falla, Ernesto Herrera, Luis Duarte, Matias, Luis Soucon, Rojas. Crouching: Alegria, Patillo, Cáceres, Luis Casso, Quijandria.
Defensor ANDA – or Deportivo ANDA – 5th with 15 points.
ADT – 4th with with 15 points.
Deportivo Pucallpa – 3rd with 16 points, and Union Minas – 2nd with 19 points, qualified to Torneo Descentralizado.
Deportivo Junin won the Zone with 20 points and qualified to both Liguilla Regional and Torneo Descentralizado.
South. 6 teams and 3 games of each team against all others.
Juvenil Los Angeles – last with 9 points.
Huracan – 5th with 12 points.
FBC Melgar – 4th with 13 points.
Cienciano – 3rd with 16 points, and Alfonso Ugarte – 2nd with 18 points, qualified to Torneo Descentralizado.
Coronel Bolognesi won the Zone with 22 points and qualified to both Liguilla Regional and Torneo Descentralizado.
Liguilla Regional – 6 teams played once against each other. The winner qualified to the national final and also qualified to 1988 Copa Libertadores.
Deportivo Junin – last with 0 points, Carlos A. Mannucci – 5th with 5 points, Coronel Bolognesi – 4th with 5 points, San Agustin – 3rd with 6 points, and on top – Union Huaral and Universitario again with equal points and this time also with equal goal-difference. But no play-off was staged…
Universitario was declared champion and qualified to both Copa Libertadores and the national final. Standing from left: Leo Rojas, Javier Chirinos, Pedro Requena, Leoncio Cervera, Hugo Gastulo, César Chávéz-Riva. First row: Juvenal Briceño, Eduardo Rey Muñoz, Eduardo Malásquez, Jesús Torrealva, José Luis Carranza.
Torneo Descentralizado – 16 teams played standard league championship. Just note that teams from Metropolitano Zone, even not playing in the Liguallia Regional, ended the season with 52 games – 22 in the Metropolitano and 30 in Torneo Descentralizado! Those qualifying to both Liguillas added another 10 games. Anyhow, the top 2 teams in this stage earned bonus points to carry to Liguilla – 2 points for the winner and 1 point for the second best. The top 6 teams qualified to the Liguilla.
Union Minas – last with 19 points.
Hungaritos Agustinos – 15th with 21 points.
Deportivo Pucallpa – 14th with 22 points.
San Agustin – 13th with 22 points.
Carlos A. Mannucci – 12th with 23 points.
Deportivo Junin – 11th with 24 points.
UTC – 10th with 25 points.
Cienciano – 9th with 27 points.
Deportivo Municipal – 8th with 31 points.
CNI – 7th with 31 points.
The top 6 teams qualified to the Liguilla: Alfonso Ugarte – 6th with 32 points, Coronel Bolgnesi – 5th with 36 points, Union Huaral – 4th with 39 points, Universitario – 3rd with 41 points,
Alianza (Lima) – 2nd with 43 points. They got 1 bonus point.
Sporting Cristal – 1st with 44 points. Got 2 bonus points.
Liguilla – the 6 qualified teams played once against each other. The winner qualified to the national final and to the second Peruvian spot in the 1988 Copa Libertadores.
Alfonso Ugarte – 6th with 1 point.
Coronel Bolognesi – 5th with 3 points.
Sporting Cristal – 4th with 6 points. (That’s with the 2 bonus points)
Universitario – 3rd with 6 points. Standing from left: Leonardo Rojas, Javier Chirinos, Pedro Requena, José A. Trece, Samuel Eugenio, César Chávez-Riva.
First row: Juvenal Briceño, José Carranza, Fidel Suárez, Eduardo Malásquez, Eduardo Rey Muñoz.
Union Huaral – 2nd with 8 points. Standing from left: Roberto Vega, Pedro Paredes, Quinto, Jorge Cordero, Hilario Bernaola.
Crouching: Ángel ´El Diablo´ Fuentes, Pedro Ruíz, Domingo Farfán, Miguel Elguera, Humberto Rey Muñoz, Eusebio Acasuzo.
The picture is suspect – although dated 1987, this looks like the team in 1992. However, Union Huaral had strong, but rather unfortunate season – beaten in play-off at Metropolitan Zone, placed 2nd in the Liguilla Regional for unknown reason, and now – beaten only because of bonus point carried by their rival.
Thanks to their bonus point earned in Torneo Descentralizado Alianza finished ahead of Union Huaral with 9 points. Strange campaign – unless it was well thought of in advance: so far, Alianza was not exactly a leader. In the early stages of the championship they were quite weak and did not even qualified to the Liguilla Regional. But they did well when mattered most – won, chancy as it was, the Liguilla and with that reached the national final and took the second Peruvian spot in the 1988 Copa Libertadores. Standing from left: César Espino, Gino Peña, William León, Juan Reynoso, José Gonzáles Ganoza, Tomás Farfán.
Front row: Luis Escobar, Juan Illescas, José Casanova, Alfredo Tomassini, Benjamín Rodríguez.
Finally to the final. The whole complicated championship took time and the 1987 title was decided on March 26, 1988! A grand Lima derby: Universitario vs Alianza. What is there to say… Universitario played 63 games before the final, Alianza – 57! Only speculatively Alianza seemed to have the edge – less tired and also getting stronger at the last stages of the season. On the field, it was tough as ever and Universitario prevailed 1-0.
Alianza lost the most important match of the long season. It is hard to see them as victims, though… most of the team died in air crush, a huge disaster. They had to come back from very traumatic experience plus creating a new team in a rush. Under such circumstances, it was a miracle Alianza reached the championship final at all.
Universitario (Lima) triumphed at the end. Hardly a great team, but hats down to these boys: they played 64 championship games! Just for that they deserved to win – it was long grueling championship in which they tried their best at every stage. May be lucky a bit in the beginning, but consistently strong to the end. Champions at last and that was the 17th title for Universitario.