Wednesday, August 31, 2011

31 August 1994 - Vélez Topples The Brazilian Giant

On 31 August 1994, Vélez Sársfield won the Copa Libertadores, defeating two-time defending champions São Paulo in a penalty shootout.

Embodying the joga bonita philosophy of their manager, Tele Santana, São Paulo were in the midst of a tremendous five-year run of success that included one league title (1991), two Campeonato Paulistas (1991, 1992), two Intercontinental Cups (1992, 1993), as well as the 1992 and 1993 Copa Libertadores. They were heavily favored over Vélez Sársfield, who by that point had won a handful of amateur trophies and two league titles (1968, 1993).

But it was Vélez who took the advantage in the Copa final, winning the first leg 1-0. In the second leg, played on 31 August in São Paulo, the hosts evened the aggregate score with a 33rd minute penalty from striker Luís Antônio Corréa da Costa, better known by his nickname, Müller.

Still level at the end of regulation, the match went to a penalty shootout. After Vélez defender Roberto Trotta scored with the first kick, keeper José Luis Chilavert guessed correctly, diving to his left to parry the attempt from Sao Paulo's Palhinha. Immediately afterward, Chilavert stepped up to the spot and converted his own attempt as Vélez claimed the trophy by a 3-5 margin in the shootout.

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