Thursday, November 29, 2012

29 November 1986 - A Trophy Three Decades In The Making

On 29 November 1986, River Plate finally won their first Copa Libertadores in their third appearance in the final.

They reached the final in 1966 and 1976 before losing to Peñarol and Cruzeiro, respectively, though they forced a replay in both cases. After another ten-year break, they found themselves in the final again, this time against América de Cali, who finished as runners-up in 1985, their only previous appearance in the final.

The two teams met in Colombia for the first leg on 22 November and River Plate won 1-2 with goals from Juan Gilberto Funes (22') and Norberto Alonso (25'). At the time, the tournament was decided on points, so the Argentinians needed only a draw at home in the second leg to lift the trophy.

River Plate hosted America at the Estadio Monumental one week later, where a crowd of 74,300 turned out to watch. After a scoreless first half, Funes (pictured) found the back of the net in the 69th minute. It proved to be the only goal of the match, securing the trophy for River Plate.

Keeping to their ten-year pattern, they returned to the final in 1996 and won it for a second time, again beating América de Cali over two legs.

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