Peru First Level

First level. The formula of the two championships – or the 2 parts of the same champion, if you like – was one: the 42 teams were divided regionally and played mini-leagues at first. One expects equal distribution of the clubs, but no – Metropolitan league had 11 teams, Central – 8, North – 9, Oriental – 6, and South – 8 teams. And qualification to the next stage was informed by this unequal distribution: the winners of Central, North, and South qualified, but not the winner of Oriental – they qualified only to Liquilla play-off against the 3rd team in Metropolitan. The top 2 teams in the Metropolitan qualified to the next stage. It was somewhat reasonable, since Metropolitan league had the strongest clubs in the country, concentrated in Lima. Yet, one wishes Peru had classic and easily understood league championship… Because of the byzantine structure, the first stage will be omitted in both phases of the championship, although some photos of teams failing to qualify will appear.
Regional I – yet another name popping up, as if the championship was not complicated enough. That’s the first championship of the year, or the first phase of the season. Union Huaral was 3rd in Metropolitan and faced the winner of Oriental – Union Tarapoto – in the Liquilla playoff. Union Huaral won 2-1 the first leg and second leg… was not played?
They qualified, though. And finished last in the Liguilla with 4 points.
Alianza (Lima, champion of Metropolitan with 15 points) finsihed 5th with 4 points, but better goal-difference than Union Huaral.
Mina San Vicente (champion of Central) – 4th with 5 points.
Aurora (Arequipa, champion of South with 19 points) – 3rd with 5 points.
Alianza Atletico (Sullana, champion of North) – 2nd with 6 points. 2 wins, 2 ties and 1 lost game in the Liguilla, but 6-7 goal-difference. How unlucky.
Sporting Cristal (Lima, 2nd in Metropolitan with 13 points) won the Liguilla and the first phase of the season. 1 win and 4 ties gave them 6 points, but their single victory was against rivals Alianza Atletico and it was a big one: 3-0. Those were the only goals they scored in the final tournament, yet just on time, for they tipped the scales in their favour: winning on better goal-difference. Twice lucky so far.. but wait… they qualified to the Liguilla on better goal-difference and won it also on better goal-difference. But wait: there was a play-off to decide the first stage winner and in it Sporting Cristal won again against Alianza Atletico: 2-0. Half job done – Sporting Cristal qualifed to the championship final and as champions of Regional I they secured a spot in the Copa Libertadores.
Regional II – or Torneo Placido Galindo, or second phase of Torneo Descentralizado, or whatever… Relegation rules were seemingly buried somewhere here. There was slightly different formula – qualification play-offs for the final Liguilla.
San Agustin – champions of Peru just a year or two ago, but now… last with 6 points and going to promotion/relegation play-off against the 2nd in Segunda Division. Luckily, they prevailed there and remained in the top level. Standing from left: Montoya, Gonzáles, Novaro, Martín Ramírez, Cédric Vásquez, unknown. Crouching: Ramírez, Arrué, Roberto Mosquera, Romero, Kajjat.
Deportivo Municipal (Lima) – 10th with 6 points, but ahead of San Agustin on better goal-difference. Miserable season for them, but at least escaped relegation. This may be a photo from 1989.
Octavio Espinoza – 9th with 7 points.
Meteor – entirely unknown club, which finished 8th with 7 points.
Internazionale (San Borje) – 7th with 8 points.
Defensor Lima – 6th with 9 points, but somehow they won Torneo Placido Galindo and thus qualified to the Liguilla play-offs.
AELU – 5th with 11 points.
Alianza (Lima) – 4th with 11 points. Not their year for sure… Standing from left: Carlos “Mágico” Gonzáles, Ismael Zegarra, “Kalule” García, Manuel Earl, Juan Vidales, Maurinho Mendoza. Front: José Ziani, Anselmo Soto, Antonio Alguedas, Juan Reynoso, Benjamín “Colibrí” Rodríguez.
Union Huaral – 3rd with 13 points and qualified to the Liguilla play-offs.
Sporting Cristal – 2nd with 16 points and qualified to the Liguilla play-offs.
Universitario (Lima) – winner of Metropolitan with 16 points and qualified to the Liguilla play-offs. Standing from left: Leo Rojas, José del Solar, Luis Reyna, Pedro Requena, José Trece, César Chávez-Riva. First row: José Carranza, Eduardo Rey Muñoz, Fidel Suárez, Jesús Torrealva, Andrés “Balán” Gonzáles.
Group A.
Deportivo Canana – 5th.
Libertad – 4th. Carlos A. Mannucci – 3rd, UTC – 2nd.
Juan Aurich – 1st and… strangely, did not qualify to the Liguilla play-offs. Unless there was a play-off against the winner of Group B and they lost it, there would be no other meaningful reason.
Group B.
15 de Setiembre – 4th,
Atletico Grau (Piura) – 3rd. Standing from left: Ochoa (coach) Julio Garcia, Oscar Aranda, Manrique, Rondoy, Oscar Quintana, Ernesto Herrera. First row: Marcelo Apaza, Zuñiga, Guives, Marcial Miranda, Juan Rivero.
Atletico Torino – 2nd.
Alianza Atletico – 1st and going to the Liguilla playoffs.
Deportivo Tintaya – 8th with 3 points.
Coronel Bolognesi – 7th with 8 points.
Atletico Huracan (Moquegua) – 6th with 10 points.
Melgar – 5th with 12 points, Diablos Rojos – 4th with 13 points,
Cienciano – 3rd with 17 points.
Alfonso Ugarte – 2nd with 20 points.
Aurora – 1st with 23 points and qualified to the Liguilla playoffs.
Defensor ANDA – 8th, Alipio Ponce – 7th, Social Magdalena – 6th,
ADT (Tarma) – 5th.
Leon de Huanuco – 4th.

Union Minas – 3rd.
Deportivo Junin – 2nd.
Mina San Vicente – 1st and qualified to the Liguilla playoffs.
Chacarita Versalles – 6th.
Deportivo Hospital – 5th, San Martin de Porres – 4th.
Atletico Belen – 3rd.
Union Tarapoto – 2nd.
CNI – 1st and qualified to the Liguilla playoffs.
Liguilla playoffs:
Sporting Cristal lost to Aurora 0-2 and 2-1.
Mina San Vicente lost to Universitario 2-2 and 0-5.
Defensor Lima lost to CNI 0-2 and 1-1.
Alianza Atletico lost to Union Huaral – 1st leg unknown, then 1-1.
Consolation playoffs:
Sporting Cristal was eliminated by Alianza Atletico 3-1, 1-3, and 3-5 penalty shootout. Standing from left: Roberto Arrelucea, Jorge Olaechea, NN, Jorge Arteaga, Palacios, el Charro Gonzáles. Front: Mario Lobo, Percy Olivares, César Loyola, Francesco Manassero, Víctor Hurtado.
Defensor Lima lost to Mina San Vicente – 1st leg 4-2, 2nd leg – unknown.
Liguilla final:
Aurora – last with 0 points.
Alianza Atletico – 5th with 3 points.
CNI – 4th with 3 points.
Mina San Vicente – 3rd with 7 points.
Universitario – 2nd with 8 points.
Union Huaral won the Luguilla and with that the second phase of the championship. They finished with 9 points: 4 wins, 1 tie, 12-1 goal-difference. Back row: Félix Puntriano, Enrique León, Eusebio Farfán, DT Simo Vilic, Carlos “Chani” Cáceda, Guillermo Ferrari, Jorge Cordero. Front: Ernesto “Venado” Aguirre, José Muñoz, Humberto Rey Muñoz, Domingo Farfán, Pedro “Toronjo” Paredes.
As winners, Union Huaral moved to the grand championship final against the winners of the first phase Sporting Cristal. The decisive match was worthy ending of the season: it was scoreless draw and only in the extra time a goal was scored: in the 115th minute Aguirre found the net of Sporting Cristal, which was unable to equalize in the few remaining minutes. Union Huaral won the title!
Sporting Cristal (Lima) ended 2nd, a disappointment for sure. At last they paid the price for depending more on luck than on skill. Standing from left: Percy Olivares,  “Charro” Gonzáles, Roberto Arrelucea, Segundo Cruz, Jorge Arteaga, Jorge Olaechea, Mario Palacios. Crouching: Mario Lobo, Francesco Manassero, Luis Rehder, Víctor Hurtado.
Union Huaral triumphed and it was more than a victory of the underdog: they were the most consistent team during the season and performed well in both championship phases, unlike Sporting Cristal, which was mostly lucky in the first phase and once they reached the final seemingly slowed down and did not push hard in the second phase.
Thus Union Huaral won its 2nd title, after waiting 13 years for it. Splendid season and excellent work of their Yugoslavian coach Simo Vilic.

Peru Second Level

Peru. With Brazil taking its football house in order, Peru became the biggest and most difficult to narrate championship in South America – there was no league as such, but 42 teams played in the Torneo Descentralizado to which ‘a minor tournament’ – Torneo Placido Galindo – was attached, due to the 1989 Cope America. After the stages of both tournaments, a finale between the winners of each played for title.
Second level, or Segunda Division Peruana, was smaller and simpler: 20 teams played in it, divided into 2 groups – Zona Norte and Zona Sur. The top 3 teams in each group moved to the final stage and the winner of the Liguilla was Second Division champion and directly promoted to the top tier. The 2nd in the final standing was going to promotion/relegation play-off against a top tier lowly team. Most teams playing second level were practically unknown outside Peru – some exotica, like Juventud Progreso, Hijos de Yurimaguas, Esther Grande, Defensor Kiwi, Enrique Lau Chun. Actually, only 2 second division teams were familiar: Sport Boys (Callao) and Lawn Tennis, which faded away quite many years ago. Before jumping to the final stage of the championship, just a taste of the Peruvian second tier:
Juventud Progreso (Barranca) – 4th in Zona Norte, and
Hijos de Yurimaguas (Callao) – 5th in Zona Norte.
Sport Boys won Zona Norte, followed by Juventud La Palma and ENAPU. Lawn Tennis evidently was not improving – they finished 6th.
Guardia Republicana won Zona Sur, followed by Bella Esperanza and Defensor Kiwi.
In the final stage the former top league members ended at the top. Bella Esparanza was 6th, Defensor Kiwi – 5th, ENAPU – 4th. Guardia Republicana ended 3rd and missed the chance to return to the top tier. Juventud La Palma finished 2nd and went to promotion/relegation play-off against San Agustin. The battle was tough and three games were not enough… 0-0, 1-1, and 1-1. Finally San Agustin prevailed in the penalty shoot-out 5-4 and Juventud La Palma remained in Second Division.
Sport Boys (Callao) won the final tournament and as champion of Segunda Division was promoted to the top level. Their season was strong and confident: 11 wins, 5 ties, 2 lost games and 35-14 goal-difference in Zona Norte and then 8 wins, 1 tie and single lost match in the final stage, where they scored 21 goals and permitted only 5.
Pictorial material of Second Division teams is difficult to find, including of Sport Boys, which were perhaps mostly ashamed to see themselves in second tier championship. The proud history of the club perhaps places no importance on winning Segunda Division, so… this could be a photo of the team earning return to top flight. Or not…


Paraguay. In a nut shell, the new Olimpia was in full force.
Nacional (Asuncion) earned promotion from II Division.
General Caballero (Asuncion) was last with 19 points in the top league and was relegated.
Sport Colombia (Fernando de la Mora) – 11th with 25 points.
Tembetary (Ypane) – 10th with 25 points.
San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo) – 9th with 28 points.
River Plate (Asuncion) – 8th with 29 points. Standing from left: Tranquilino Ibarra, Jorge Coronel, Benito Giménez, Freddy Frutos, Dionisio Benítez, Ortiz.
First row: Gerardo Olavarrieta, Giménez, Vicente Muñoz , Juan R. Sandoval.
Sol de America (Barrio Obrero, Asuncion) – 7th with 31 points.
Libertad (Asuncion) – 6th with 34 points.
Sportivo Luqueno (Luque) – 5th with 35 points. Back: Marcos Aquino, Cantero, Ramírez, Juan C. Ojeda, Aquino, Solís.
Front: Agustín Arrúa, Julio E. Gaona, Centurión, Merardo Robles, Nicolás Azuaga.
Colegiales (4 Mojones) – 4th with 36 points.
Cerro Porteno (Asuncion) – 3rd with 40 points. Standing from left: Gato, Rivarola, Zabala, Jacquet, Garay, Barrios

Front: Struway, Riveros, Raschle, Robson, el Zanahoria Britez Romàn.
Guarani (Asuncion) – 2nd with 44 points.
Olimpia (Asincion) – very strong season of the new team successfully built by their Uruguayan coach Luis Cubilla and still very young. In the small Paraguayan league teams 3 times against each other, so at the end 33 games were played. Olimpia won 19 times, tied 12 games and lost only 2. Scored 74 goals, permitting only 35. That made them confident champions with 50 points – 6 points ahead of Libertad. This was the 32nd title for Olimpia, second a row too, and domestic season did not prevent them from playing strong Copa Libertadores season, reaching the final and losing the trophy only at penalty shoot-out.

Chile I Division

First Division. 15 teams, standard league format, the last 2 relegates, the 14th going to promotion/relegation play-off against the qualified Second Division team. The teams finishing in 2-5 places went to play-offs to decide the second Chilean team for Copa Libertadores. The champion qualified directly. More or less two teams competed for the title this season, but at the end the ‘usual suspect’ won.
Deportes Valdivia finished last with 15 points. Absolute outsider and relegated.
Rangers also went down – 15th with 21 points.
Union San Felipe – 14th with 23 points and that on worse goal-difference. But it was not the end of their misfortunes… they lost the promotion/relegation play-off in overtime against Santiago Wanderers and thus were relegated to Second Division.
Fernandez Vial was lucky – with 5 goals better goal-difference than Union San Felipe, they clinched the safe 13th place with 23 points.
Deportes Iquique – 12th with 26 points.
Everton – 11th with 28 points.
Huachipato – 10th with 28 points.
Naval – 9th with 28 points. Standing from left: Enriquez (Utilero), Mario Rodríguez, Jaime Gaete, Alejandro Gutiérrez, Héctor Roco, Nelson Figueroa, Arturo Jaúregui.
Crouching: Alfredo Núñez, Germán Magaña, Oscar Lee-Chong, Mario Pérez, Héctor Ortiz.
Union Espanola – 8th with 30 points.
Deportes Concepcion – 7th with 31 points.
O’Higgins – 6th with 31 points.
Deportes La Serena – 5th with 34 points.
Cobresal – 4th with 36 points.
Cobreloa – 3rd with 39 points.
Universidad Catolica – 2nd with 42 points.
Colo Colo – champions with 45 points from 20 wins, 5 ties, and 5 losses. Scored 60 goals, allowed 28 in their net.
The 1989 champions: second row from left: Marcelo Ramirez, Hugo Gonzalez, Lizardo Garrido, Reinaldo Hoffmann, Eduardo Vilches, Miguel Ramirez, Rafael Contador, Leonardo Soto, Javier Margas, Ricardo Dabrowski, Leonel Herrera, Hugo Bello, Jose Daniel Moron;
Sitting: Leonardo Montenegro, Raul Ormeño, Jaime Pizarro, Alfonso Neculñir, Sergio Salgado, Guillermo Carreño, Sergio Diaz, Juan Soto, Ruben Espinoza, Marcelo Barticciotto, William Alarcon.
Colo Colo won its 16th title. The also won the Chilean Cup – a tournament existing since 1958 and practically unique for South America, where national cups hardly ever existed.

Chile II Division South Zone

Second Division – South Zone.
Relegation play-offs.
General Vasquez – last with 26 points and relegated.
Nublense – 5th with 27 points.
Deportes Colchangua – 4th with 28 points.
Deportes Linares – 3rd with 29 points.
Deportes Temuco – 2nd with 29 points.
Lota Schwager – 1st with 34 points.

Promotion play-offs.
Deportes Puerto Montt – 6th with 28 points. Standing from left: Gerardo Acevedo, Leonel Barría, Nelson Villarroel, Luis Landeros, Hugo Almonacid, Alberto Torres.
First row: Cristian Quiros, Aldo Azzinnari (Uruguay), Oscar Rove Vera, Mauricio Soto, Carlos Nieto.
Curico Unido – 5th with 30 points.
Iberia – 4th with 35 points.
Provincial Osorno – 3rd with 36 points.
Magallanes – 2nd with 38 points and going to play against the 2nd in the other zone for the promotion play-off.
Universidad de Chile – 1st with 44 points.

Promotion play-offs. Now… this is a bit mysterious: it looked like that the winners of the 2 Zones would be directly promoted. But apparently the top 2 teams in the each Zone went to further play-offs and in them
Magallanes finished 2nd and was directly promoted.

Santiago Wanderers most likely 3rd in the this strange stage went to promotion play-off against the 14th in the First Division – Union San Felipe. The match was played in Vina del Mar on February 24, 1990, and ended without a winner, but in the extra tile Santiago Wanderers destroyed their opponents – 4-1 – and went up. Or rather returned to First Division, which was wonderful.
Universidad de Chile won the 1989 Second Division title and was promoted of course. Quick return to top flight, after a single season in the the second level.

Chile II Division North Zone

Chile. Standard league championship in the top division, but slightly complicated Second Division. Two teams went directly up. A third team had a chance for promotion, if it won the play-off against the 14th in First Division. Second Division had 24 participants, divided in 2 groups of 12 teams each. The formula was of two stages – first standard league format and after it the top 6 teams went to the promotion stage and the bottom 6 – to relegation stage. The winner of the second stage, in which points from the opening stage were carried on, was promoted to First Division and second-placed teams first played against each other and the winner faced the 14th in the top league to try getting a promotion. The group winners meantime played a final for the Second Division title. Because of the complicated formula only the final standings will be given here.
North Zone.
Relegation Play-offs.
Union La Calera – last with 26 points and relegated.
Audax Italiano – 5th with 29 points
Deportes Arica – 4th with 29 points.
Soinca Bata – 3rd with 30 points.
San Luis de Quillota – 2nd with 30 points.
Cobreandino – 1st with 33 points.

Promotion Play-offs:
Regional Atacama – 6th with 31 points.
Deportes Antofagasta – 5th with 33 points.
Coquimbo Unido – 4th with 34 points.
Deportes Ovalle – 3rd with 34 points.
Santiago Wanderers – 2nd with 37 points. Going to play against the 2nd in the other Zone for the promotion play-off.
Palestino – winners of the Zone with 38 points.

Uruguay I Division

First Division – Primera A. 13 teams in it, but because the league was increasing to 14 teams the next season, no relegation. Rather strange was that the teams met only once between themselves – the league was small enough, yet, the championship was very short. Entirely different from the rest of South America, where long and complicated championships were typical. All teams were from Montevideo – in that Uruguay was unique: apart from city-states, no championship in the world was actually a championship of one city. One city, dominated by two rival clubs… and that was perhaps most interesting: the period when Penarol and Nacional lost their dominance. Sure, other factors contributed – particularly, the bitter fact that all top Uruguayan talent played abroad – but still it was exciting time of the underdog. One last thing: a small league where a team played only 12 games one can’t expect a big difference in points and dominance – yet, there was.
River Plate – last with 5 points. Lucky there was no relegation this season.
Central Espanol – 12th with 7 points. They distinguished themselves infamously: won only one match.
Liverpool – 11th with 8 points. They were the worst scorers this season: only 6 goals.

Huracan Buceo – 10th with 8 points.
Rentistas – 9th with 10 points. One recognizable name here – Ariel Krasouski – which is quite strange: since even Penarol and Nacional had difficulties keeping strong players, how come Krasouski played for small Rentistas?
Wanderers – 8th with 13 points.

Danubio – 7th with 13 points. They performed well in the Copa Libertadores and may be that was why they were not successful in the domestic league: no strength for two tasks. After all, the only recognizable player in the team was Kanapkis – hardly enough for more than mid-table season. What is there to say… the 1988 champions had no team for continuous success.
Defensor Sporting – 6th with 14 points.
Bella Vista – 5th with 14 points. Not bad for one of the small clubs and may be no reason to keep them in mind – but better keep them in mind: they lost only once this season. Not the only team with with such record, but keep them in mind.
Cerro – 4th with 14 points. It was all or nothing for them: 6 wins, but also 4 losses.

Penarol – 3rd with 15 points. Nothing to brag about…
Nacional – 2nd with 15 points. Hugo de Leon was back from Brazil and thus Nacional was the only team with great star, but one aging player was apparently not enough for more than besting arch0enemy Penarol on goal-difference. That was the bitter reality of Uruguayan football… even great clubs like Penarol and Nacional were unable to keep strong players and build good teams.
Progreso dominated the championship, ending with 9 wins, 2 ties, and losing only once. 18-8 was their scoring record. A total of 20 points – 5 more than Nacional and Penarol. Surely, a great season and well deserved title.
Lovely underdog, for sure. Top row from left: Gustavo Machaín, Julio Néstor Maidana, Robert Púa, Eduardo Acosta.
Middle row: Luis Alberto Berger, Esteban Carreira, Leonel Rocco, Pedro Catalino Pedrucci, Víctor Silva.
Front: Johny Miqueiro, Alejandro Pereira, Marcelo Suárez, Próspero Silva.
Coming out of the blue, but what a season! In only 12 games to build a 5-point lead over Nacional and Penarol is quite something even if the giants were weak. Progreso instantly placed itself in history – not just because they won their first and only title, but also for another reason: they matched a very old record, which was considered impossible for a very, very long time – only once before Nacional and Penarol were not champions 3 years in a row and that was between 1908 and 1910, when River Plate (twice) and Wanderers won the titles. Now Progreso matched the same record, after Defensor Sporting won in 1987 and Danubio in 1988. It was unlikely Progreso could continue winning, but they became essential part of the history of Uruguayan football – the period when the dominance of Nacional and Penarol was broken.
One may say – and with good reason – that Progreso’s victory was accidental and mostly due to the weakness of the giants. The new champion had no stars, the squad was rather ordinary, if not obscure, but they played well. It was collective effort, well sustained during the whole season. Others may have been weak, the season was surely too short for correcting mistakes and negligence, but on the other hand even great teams are rarely able to build 5-point lead in only 12 games. Progreso deserves only praise even when it was clear that they will not repeat their performance in the next year. A victory of the underdog is always wonderful. For their fans this squad was instant legend. Progreso became the 9th club in the history of Uruguayan football winning the title.
Such unusual champion deserves one more photo.

Uruguay II Division

Uruguay. Conservative approach – nothing changed in the structure and the championship formula, only the top league was going to be of 14 teams in the next season. Thus, no relegation in both first and second divisions.
Paysandu was the champion of the interior – and this success meant very little, for there was no team located outside Montevideo in the top two divisions.
Basanez won Third Division and was promoted to Primera B. The status quo remained – one more Montevideo club won third level and went up.
Primera B – Second Division. 10 teams, as usual, playing twice against each other, The top three teams in the regular championship went to final stage to compete for promotion. No relegation this year. All teams from Montevideo.
Colon – last with 8 points. Interestingly, they were the 5th high scoring team with 22 goals in 18 games.
Villa Espanola – 9th with 10 points.
Fenix – 8th with 13 points. They won only once, but tied 11 games.
Sportivo Italiano – 7th with 17 points.
Miramar Misiones – 6th with 18 points.
Rampla Juniors – 5th with 19 points.
El Tanque Sisley – 4th with 19 points.
Sud America – 3rd with 24 points.
Racing – 2nd with 26 points.

Cerrito – 1st with 26 points. Apparently, placed on top on better head-to-head record against Racing, but that meant little – the championship had a final stage.
Final stage – round-robin tournament between the top three teams in the regular championship. Points from the first stage carried over.
Sud America – 3rd with 2 points: 0 wins, 2 ties, 0 losses, 2-2. Total – 26 points.
Cerrito – 2nd with 27 points. Their final stage record: 0 1 1 and 1-3.
Racing (Montevideo) won the decisive match against Cerrito in the final stage and thus won the championship. Their final stage added 3 points to the 26 they earned in the regular championship: 1 1 0 and 3-1. Thus, 29 points altogether. Standing from left: Rafael Villazán, Héctor Tuja, Mario Delgado, Alberto Bica, Néstor Rosa.
First row: Venancio Ramos, Domingo Cáceres, Sergio González, Luis Fernández, Luis Cardozo, Miguel González.
Great success for the small club – they rarely played in the top division. Going up was wonderful.

Argentina I Division

First Division. The European experiments trying to invigorate the stale football of the 1980s reached Argentina too – new point system was introduced this season: no more ties. Instead 3 points were given for a win and a tied match was followed by penalty shoot-out. The winner in that got 2 points and the loser – 1 point. The other unusual feature was the unofficial Apertura tournament to determinate the 2 Argentine teams for 1989 Copa Libertadores. Thus, the Argentine champion for 1989 was to play in the 1990 Copa Libertadores. Relegation went by the long established relegation table – the last two teams in it. Because of this relegation rule the last team in the championship remained in the league – weird, but rules are rules.
Instituto (Cordoba) finished last with 31 points. In the relegation table they were 18th and were not relegated. Very poor season, but one can note a player with quite a high profile in the 1990s – Dely Valdes.
Deportivo Armenio ended 19th with 37 points. They went down – last in the relegation table.
Ferrocarril Oeste – 18th with 45 points. There great days were over, but relegation was not for them yet.
San Martin (Tucuman) – 17th with 46 points. The relegation table worked against them, as it worked against Deportivo Armenio: in it, they were last. Like Deportivo Armenio, they did not play in the top league continuously in the last 3 seasons and that was one major reason for having so bad combined record. They were relegated.
Racing (Cordoba) – 16th with 50 points.
Platense – 15th with 50 points.
Textil (Mandiyu) – 14th with 51 points. Relatively strong season kept them in the league – like San Martin (Tucuman), they were just promoted to Primera Division and their relegation record consisted only of this season’s points – but because they played well enough, they ended 15th in the relegation table. Good for one more season at least. More intriguing is their name – they are generally known as Deportivo Mandiyu and under this name appeared in magazines and so on. But not in the final table… in it they are named Textil. May be the club changed name during the season… a mystery. Textil or Deportivo, they had the league record of ties in this championship – 19 games. Of them, they won 11 in the penalty shoot-outs.
Rosario Central – 13th with 51 points.

Newell’s Old Boys – 12th with 51 points. For a team featuring Sensini, Batistuta, ‘Tata’ Martino, Dario Franco, Norberto Scoponi – quite a disappointing season. Especially when they reached the Copa Libertadores final in 1988. May be the players were still too young to be able to endure long gruelling season and the Copa Libertadores effort took they their attention away from the domestic championship. May be that, or may be the best talent was already attracted by lucrative contracts abroad. Whatever the case, it was disappointing season – perhaps the biggest slump in the league at that time.
Velez Sarsfield – 11th with 53 points. Young Diego Simeone here, but the biggest puzzlement come from the presence Gareca. In 1989 he was still a player of Colombian America (Cali). So… the photo, although from 1989, belongs to 1989-90 season – most likely, that’s the case, for Colombian season was canceled in October. Velez Sarsfield won most penalty shoot-outs in the championship: 12 out of 17 ties.
Gimnasia y Esgrima (La Plata) – 10th with 57 points.
Racing (Avellaneda) – 9th with 59 points. Like Velez Sarsfield, it is not certain to which season the photo belongs – to 1988-89 or to 1989-90 – but in general would not matter much: Racing was going through their long convulsions, which started back in the 1960s. Bankruptcy was looming large, not success.
Estudiantes (La Plata) – 8th with 61 points. As usual, ahead of local rivals Gimnasia y Esgrima, but that was all this season.
Argentinos Juniors – 7th with 61 points. Not bad at all – they managed to stay quite strong for a small club, routinely losing their best players to other clubs.
Talleres (Cordoba) – 6th with 65 points. Good season for a good squad.
For the sake of variety, San Lorenzo de Almagro dressed in their reserve kit. 5th with 66 points. If anything, San Lorenzo knew how to stay among the strongest.
River Plate – 4th with 67 points. This squad could be considered a failure… Menotti was the coach and the selection was stellar. At least, on paper… Perhaps not entirely completed and balanced, but given the current reality of Argentine football – the stars constantly going to Europe, that is – a very impressive squad. On paper… Claudio Borghi is here, but eventually went to play in Brazil – more or less, on his way going down. Seemingly, the magic of Menotti dried up already as well.
Deportivo Espanol – 3rd with 68 points. Ahead of River Plate with their stars. Arguably, the best season of Deportivo Espanol, which is quite a modest club. In the ranks of Buenos Aires… may be a third tier club. That was their time, though, and there is nothing better than a Cinderella story. And signs of the future were present: it was not yet high fashion for players to roll their socks above the knee, so here is an early bird in times when it was fashionable to roll down the socks to the ankles.
Boca Juniors – 2nd with 76 points. Strong season of not a bad team, but they were not a title contender. Compared to River Plate, they appeared weaker, but performed better. Well, if not able to win the title, ate least they finished ahead of the arch-enemy and that was always sweet.
At the end – familiar champion. Independiente (Avallaneda) won the championship with confidence – 84 points. 8 points ahead of Boca Juniors. They won 22 games, lost only 5. Their 11 ties ended with 7 penalty shoot-out wins and 4 losses. Scored 58 goals, allowed 32. Very strong season indeed.
Their squad was perhaps more similar to Boca’s team than to River’s – a bunch of stars, but fewer and not quite as famous as River’s. A slight change of line-up – as the one here – suddenly makes the team rather ordinary on paper. But not on the field!
Standing from left: Pereira, Clausen, Monzón, Delgado, Ríos, Ludueña.
Front: Bianco, Reggiardo, Ubaldi, Bochini, Insúa.
No matter who else was in the team, the greatest name is Richardo Bochini. Already a living legend and evidently eternal… And his status was such that… he can play with different socks than the other players, as the first picture of the champions shows. He spurred Independiente to their 13th title. As a curious note, there was only one Independiente player in the 1990 World Cup Argentine squad and he was not a part of the 1989 champion team.

Argentina II Division

Argentina. Unusual system, which was more complicated in the second level – if the First Division was simple, the Second Division had problems inherited from the past. It was not easy to amalgamate the Province of Buenos Aires with the other provinces in the country. Thus, Second Division was practically the old Buenos Aires Second Division, now including some clubs from other provinces. Promotion and relegation were difficult issue, though – it was felt that some strong clubs from other provinces were left out and because of that only the champion of the Second Division was directly promoted to first level. The second promotion was a play-off tournament between 9 Second Division teams (those placed 2nd to 10th in the final table) plus the winners of Primera B Metropolitana and Zonales Noroestre and Sureste from Torneo del Interior. The winner of this tournament was promoted to First Division. As for relegation, three teams went down (to either Primera B Metropolitana or their respective provincial league) and one more club played promotion/relegation play-off against a team from the regional leagues. Two legs were played only if the first leg was tied or won by the regional candidate, the current Second Division member hosting the first the leg. Argentina used strange relegation system for years and continued to do so: it was not according to final positions in the championship, but by separate relegation table which made average of points divided by number of games in the last 3 seasons. This traditional system as a rule of thumb worked against newcomers to the league – unless such a team had very strong season. There was a new rule this season, part of the drive during the 1980s to invigorate the game in Europe with various experiments, but it was employed only in the First Division.
Second Division – Primera B Nacional. 22 teams in it, standard league championship with 2 points for a win. The last three in the relegation table went down and one more team went to promotion/relegation play-off – but why this particular team is unclear. As already mentioned, 2nd to 10th finishers went to promotion play-off plus 3 more teams to contest the second promotion to Primera Division. Violence was increasingly marking football around the world and Argentina was getting quite a bad case of it: in the 3rd round the match between Central Cordoba and Huracan was suspended in the 83rd minute and later was awarded to Huracan. Chacarita Juniors had 3 points deducted for violence acts and Douglas Haig had 2 points deducted for the same.
Chacarita Juniors finished last with 23 points. In the relegation table they were 20th and thus – relegated.
Temperley – 21st with 26 points. 21st in the relegation table too, so relegated. Second row from left: Medina, Capuzzi, Pereyra, Franchini, Bottari, Legaspi. Crouching: Aguilar, Morrudo, Arana, Seco, Azerrad.
Cipolletti – 20th with 28 points. They out of the relegation zone in the relegation table, so they remained in the league.
Tigre – 19th with 30 points.
Estacion Quequen (Necochea) – 18th with 31 points. And the curse of the newcomer… since they were just promoted to Second Division, they had no previous record in the relegation table and had to depend only on this season – which was brave, but still lowly, and thus their average was the worst in the relegation table. They were relegated.
Douglas Haig – 17th with 32 points.
Los Andes – 16th with 33 points. Standing from left: Justo S. Meza, Néstor Ferraresi, Daniel Bolognese, Enrique José Alvarez, Héctor Franchoni.
First row: C. López, Villafañe, Marcos Castro, Daniel A. Godoy (Uruguayan), Marcelo Ibáñez, Orlando Romero.
Quilmes – 15th with 37 points. Back row from left: Jorge Di Gregorio, Javier Orrego, Emilio Kalujerovich, Ricardo Kergaravat, Alejandro Mulet, Guillermo Escalante.
Front: Ronald Baroni, Omar H. Gómez, Mario Gómez, Jorge Raffo, Hugo Neira.
Deportivo Maipu – 14th with 43 points. Here is the mystery… in the relegation table they were 12th. No reason to be in danger of relegation at all, yet, they were the team which went to the promotion/relegation play-off.
Standing from left: Gazzaniga, Lamolla, Funes, Barrios, Franco, Torletti. Front: Corró, Alberto H. Rodríguez, Escobar, Nocelli, Navarro.
Central Cordoba (Santiago del Estero) – 13th with 43 points.
Banfield – 12th with 44 points.
Atletico Tucuman – 11th with 45 points.
Sportivo Italiano – 10th with 46 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Talleres (Renedios Escalada) – 9th with 48 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Standing from left: Tomás Quiroga, Jorge Giles, Sergio Zanetti, Osvaldo Biaín, Alfredo Jáuregui, Pastor Ortiz.
First row: Sergio A. Rodríguez, Adalberto Perroud, Mauricio Caminitti, Rubén Rojas, Carlos P. Cardozo.
Defensa y Jisticia – 8th with 49 points. Going to promotion play-offs.

Belgrano – 7th with 50 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Colon – 6th with 50 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Huracan – 5th with 51 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Second row from left: Héctor Cúper, Oscar Garré, Fernando Quiroz, Gabriel Puentedura, Ramón Brítez, Eugenio Gentile.
Crouching: Carlos Taracido, Antonio Mohamed, Ariel Paolorossi, Walter De Felippe, Gustavo R. Montero.
Almirante Brown – 4th with 51 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Second row from left: César G. Carrizo, Sergio Rechiutti, Raúl Martini, Ricardo Johansen, Víctor H. Zacharski, Marcelo Golinowski.
Front: Gabriel Pastor, Juan J. Rodríguez, Rodolfo Righi, Víctor H. Meriggi, Eduardo Cristaldo.
Union – 3rd with 52 points. Going to promotion play-offs.
Lanus – 2nd with 53 points. Lost top place by a point. Going to promotion play-offs, but with a bit of luck they would have been champions and directly promoted up.
Chaco For Ever – clinched 1st place with 54 points from 21 wins, 12 ties, 9 losses, and 66-44 goal difference. Dramatic victory, no doubt, but well rewarded – not only champions of Second Division, but directly promoted to Primera – a rare achievement.
Back row from left: Raul Oyola, Juan Arguello, Jorge Benitez, Jose Vilche, Felipe Di Marco, Hugo Parrado.
Front: Luis Sosa, Celso Freyre, Jose Villarreal, Luis Diaz, Juan Sotelo.

Relegation play-off: Deportivo Maipu had to meet Gutierrez Sport Club from the Liga Mendocina de futbol. Unheard of club… Deportivo Maipu benefited by the strange rule for this stage: they hosted the opening leg and won the match. It was just 1-0, but the victory was theirs and no second leg was to be played – Deportivo Maipu remained in Primera B Nacional.
Promotion play-offs. Only on the surface the rules were simple: direct elimination cup-style, in two legs. But 12 teams participated… 9 from Primera B and 3 from lower leagues: Villa Dalmine, the champion of Primera B Metropolitana, and the winners of Zonales Noroestre and Sureste from Torneo Interior – Atletico de Rafaela and Olimpo. Not everybody started from the first round, though – 3rd placed in the Second Division championship – Union – started in the second round and the 2nd placed in the league – Lanus – entered at the semifinals.
First round:
Atletico Rafaela lost to Huracan 3-5 and 1-2. Top row from left: Fertonani, Marino, Querini, Levrino, Berzero, Alfaro. Front: Giordano, Fuentes, López, Bernasconi, Riberi.
Olimpo (Bahia Blanca) was eliminated by Almirante Brown 2-0 and 1-3. Hard to tell why… they scored away goal.
Standing from left: Mercuri, Torres, Quevedo, Cheiles, Oviedo, Ronco. Crouching: Bustos, Schmidt, Paolucci, Mansilla, Palacio.
Villa Dalmine lost to Colon 0-0 and 1-4.
Standing from left: Barrios, Bustos, Tallarico, Latreite, Genaro, Céliz. Front: Urán, Galván, Bartolucci, Labonia, Acuña.
Sportivo Italiano eliminated Belgrano 0-0 and 1-0.
Talleres (Remedios de Escalada) lost to Defensa y Justicia 0-0 and 1-2.
Second round: Union entered the play-offs now.
Colon eliminated Huracan 1-0 and 2-1.
Defensa y Justicia lost to Almirante Brown 0-2 and 1-2.
Sportivo Italiano lost to Union 1-2 and 2-2.
½ finals: Lanus entered.
Almirante Brown was eliminated by Union 0-2 and 0-3.
Lanus eliminated Colon 2-0 and 1-1. Well… they did not – for whatever reason Colon went to the final.
So unlucky… leading at half-season, but lost the title at the end by single point. They won the promotion ½ final against Colon and yet the losers went to the final… unless Lanus was punished for some infractions, there was no reason the winning team to be eliminated.
Final: Colon vs Union. Both teams played top league football before and were eager to climb back to it. Colon had no right to be at the final, so some kind of justice required their opponents to win… and they did: Union won both legs 2-0 and 1-0.
Union (Santa Fe) won the promotion play-offs – or Torneo Reducido – and got promoted. A nice return to top flight.
It was nice for Union (Santa Fe) to earn promotion, but still the champions of Second Division were the best team – once again, Chaco For Ever. Second row from left: Di Marco, Valdéz, Freyre, Ferlatti, Sperandío, Parrado. First row: Cravero, Noremberg, Alfredo Fernández, Luis Sosa, Rosas.
Champions and directly promoted! What a thrill!