Sunday, July 1, 2012

1 July 2004 - Like Watching Shaq At The Free Throw Line

On 1 July 2004, Boca Juniors lost the Copa Libertadores Final to Once Caldas in a penalty shootout where all four of Boca's attempts were either saved or missed.

It was the first final for the Colombian side, who were up against five-time champions and cup holders Boca Juniors. They played to a scoreless draw in the first leg at the Bombonera, then met at the Estadio Palogrande in Manizales eight days later for the second leg. There, goals from Once Caldas midfielder Jhon Viáfara (7') and Boca defender Nicolás Burdisso kept the sides level through extra time to force a deciding shootout.

The Argentinians got off to a great start when goalkeeper Robert Abbondanzieri saved the first kick, a high shot down the middle by Arnulfo Valentierra, but then Boca's Rolando Schiavi sent his shot over the bar. Once Caldas pulled ahead when Elkin Soto converted their second attempt, then solidified the lead when keeper Juan Henao saved the next shot by Alfredo Cascini.

Boca seized a lifeline when Abbondanzieri made his second save of the shootout to deny Once Caldas substitute forward Wilmer Ortegón, but their next attempt, taken by Burdisso, hit the bar to make the Argentinians 0 for 3. Jorge Agudelo then beat the Boca keeper put the Colombians up 2-0, which meant that Boca had to make their next attempt to keep going. Forward Franco Cángele fired a low shot to the keeper's right, by Henao made a diving save to knock the ball away and end the shootout 2-0 in favor of Once Caldas.

It was the first Libertadores win for a Colombian team since Atlético Nacional in 1989 (also on penalties) and remains the only appearance in the final for Once Caldas. Boca Juniors, meanwhile, returned to the final in 2007 to win their sixth trophy.

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