Sunday, April 19, 2015

19 April 1960 - Peña-rolls

On 19 April 1960, Uruguay's Peñarol and Bolivia's Club Jorge Wilstermann contested the inaugural match of the first Copa Campeones de América. Now known as the Copa Libertadores, it is the top club tournament in South America.

The competition was open to all South American domestic league champions, but only seven participated - San Lorenzo (ARG), Bahia (BRA), Universidad de Chile (CHI), Millonarios (COL), Olimpia (PAR), Peñarol (URU), and Jorge Wilstermann (BOL). The champions of Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela were invited, but did not attend, so the number of teams was unbalanced. As a result, the participants were divided into three two-team groups, with Olimpia winning the draw for a bye into the semifinals.

Peñarol hosted the tournament's first match at Montevideo's Estadio Centenario, with a crowd of about 35,000. It was a rout - Peñarol's Luis Borges scored the opening goal, one of his two on the day, while his teammate Alberto Spencer (pictured) adding four goals of his own. Luis Cubilla contributed another as the Uruguayan side won 7-1.

The Bolivians managed a 1-1 draw in the return leg, played in La Paz, but Peñarol went through to the semifinals, where they defeated San Lorenzo. They then beat Olimpia in the Final to claim the trophy - the first of the club's five Copa Libertadore titles.

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