Sunday, June 9, 2013

9 June 1971 - Estudiantes Get Taken To School

On 9 June 1971, Nacional won their first Copa Libertadores, beating three-time defending champions Estudiantes in a playoff.

It was the fourth appearance in the final for both teams, but that is where the similarities in their histories ended. Nacional had lost all three of their previous appearances, including a loss to Estudiantes in the 1969 final, while Estudiantes had also won in 1968 and 1970, giving them a perfect record.

The final was played over two legs and decided on points. They met in La Plata for the first leg on 26 May, with Estudiantes taking a 1-0 win. But in the second leg, played in Montevideo on 2 June, Nacional won by the same margin, sending the teams to a playoff to decide the title.

They met at the neutral venue of the Estadio Nacional in Lima, where Nacional again set the margin at 1-0 with a 22md-minute goal from midfielder Víctor Espárrago. They then broke form by adding another from striker Luis Artime, his tournament-best tenth goal, to stretch the final margin to 2-0 and take the trophy from Estudiantes.

Nacional returned to the final twice more, winning it both times (1980, 1988), while Estudiantes made it back in 2009 and won.

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