Monday, October 31, 2011

31 October 1987 - Making Sure The Fans Get Their Money's Worth

On 31 October 1987, a last-minute extra time goal in a replay gave Peñarol their fifth Copa Libertadores title.

The Uruguayans had reached the final eight times previously and won it four times (1960, 1961, 1966, 1982). And they had impressed on their road to the 1987 final, topping defending champions River Plate and seven-time winners Independiente in their semifinal group. They were up against Colombian side América de Cali, who were making their third consecutive appearance in the final after having fallen to Argentinos Juniors (in a penalty shootout) in 1985 and to River Plate in 1986.

The two teams were unable to decide a winner in the first two legs, with América winning 2-1 in Colombia and Peñarol getting a 1-0 victory in Uruguay to force the replay.

Playing at the neutral Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile, there was little to separate the teams over the first 90 minutes, or even through extra time. A penalty shootout looked certain when Peñarol striker Diego Aguirre (pictured) lashed a left-footed blast past the América goalkeeper in the 120th minute. The win placed them two behind Independiente in the list of the tournament's all-time winners, though Boca Juniors passed them with a sixth title in 2007.

Both Peñarol and América returned to the final once more, but lost both time (Peñarol in 2011 and América in 1996).

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