Wednesday, May 16, 2012

16 May 1968 - Estudiantes Were Quick Learners

On 16 May 1968, Estudiantes beat Palmeiras in a playoff to win the first of three consecutive Copa Libertadores trophies.

They qualified for the tournament--their first--by finishing as runners-up in the Argentina Primera División behind Independiente. But they beat their league rivals twice in the cup's first round and twice more in the second on their way to the final.

There, they met Palmeiras in what was scheduled as a two-legged tie, home and away. Estudiantes won the first match, played in La Plata on 2 March, by the score of 2-1, but lost the second 3-2 in São Paulo to set up a playoff at the neutral venue of Montevideo's Estadio Centenario.

There, a crowd of 55,000 turned out to see Estudiantes take a 1-0 lead with a goal from forward Felipe Ribaudo in the 13th minute. Their defense managed to stifle the Palmeiras attack, which included Tupázinho, the tournament's leading scorer with 11 goals, then Estudiantes forward Juan Ramón Verón delivered an 82nd-minute strike to seal the 2-0 victory.

Estudiantes followed the win by beating Manchester United in that year's Intercontinental Cup, then repeated as Copa Libertadores champions in 1969 (over Nacional) and 1970 (over Peñarol). In 2009, they won it for a fourth time, beating Cruzeiro.

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