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April 23, 2010

2010 Copa Libertadores, Second Stage, Round of 16, with top 5 leading scorers.

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 11:00 am

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The map shows the 14 clubs through to the Round of 16, plus the two Mexican clubs who were allowed to pick up where they were a year ago prior to the H1N1 scare in Mexico that forced the two clubs, San Luis and Chivas Guadalajara, to pull out of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.
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Click on the gif below to see photos, with flag of the country of birth listed, for the top 5 scorers in the competition so far. [Note, I couldn't get an image inserted here...I am having a few problems with the newly installed WordPress 2.9.2 .]

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The Brazilian forward Kleber leads with 7 goals for his club Cruzeiro, who lost the 2009 Copa Libertadores final to Estudiantes. From 2003 to 08, Kleber played 65 times for Dynamo Kyiv, scoring 25 goals. He was then loaned out to Palmeiras in 2008, then signed with Belo Horizonte’s Cruzeiro in 2009, where he scored 7 league goals in 15 games and 3 in the ’09 Copa Libertadores.
Two of the players on the list below have been instrumental in propelling their under-dog status clubs into the Round of 16…Jose Carlos Fernandez of Peru’s Allianza Lima, and Rodolfo Gamarra, of Paraguay’s Libertad. One player, the Panamanian forward Luis Tejada, of Peru’s Juan Aurich, netted 6 times but his production was not enough to see his club go through. Two Peruvian clubs have made it through, though, the aforementioned Allianza Lima, and another club from the capital, Universitario. That’s an impressive showing for a country that been out of the limelight for a time, now. Sao Paulos’ Washington, born in the city of Brasilia, is a 35-year old journeyman who has played in Turkey (with Fenerbahce, scoring 10 goals in 12 games) and Japan, where he helped Urawa Reds win their first J-League title in 2006, and an Asian Champions League title in 2007. He netted 42 times in 52 games with Urawa. His prolific output has continued. He returned home in 2007, and scored 21 times in 28 games with Fluminense, before being signed by Sao Paulo, where he has scored 35 goals in 59 games, and counting.
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Credit must be given to the Brazilian contingent, all five of which advanced to the Round of 16…Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Internacional, and Sao Paulo.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, 2010 Copa Libertadores.
Thanks to Jeremy, at Albion Road site, for tech support… Football Clubs Guide, Albion Road.com, a fan’s guide to Football Clubs around the world.

February 14, 2010

2010 Copa Libertadores, Second Stage.

Filed under: Argentina,Copa Libertadores — admin @ 5:05 pm

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Note- I still am having a few problems with my admin. I have got a handle on inserting images via code, but I can’t figure out how to make links to other sites.

Below are two sets of images relating to the Cup-Holders, Estudiantes de La Plata…

Estudiantes de La Plata. La Plata, Buenos Aires state, Argentina. 4-time Copa Libertadores champions.

Estudiantes won 3 straight Copa Libertadores titles, in 1968, 1969, and 1970. This squad featured Juan Ramón Verón. His son, Juan Sebastián Verón, a midfielder, began at Estudiantes, where he helped the club return to the Argentinian top flight in 1995, before moving on to Boca Juniors in 1996, where he played 17 games (3 goals), and was a team-mate of Diego Maradonna. Verón had always dreamed of playing for Sheffield United (his uncle Pedro Verde played there). However, it was to Italy he went shortly after making his international debut in the summer of 1996, when he was signed by Sven-Göran Eriksson at Sampdoria. After two seasons in Genoa with Sampdoria, Verón signed with Parma, with whom Verón helped win the Coppa d’Italia and the UEFA Cup in 1998-99. Sven Goran Ericksson again sought the talents of the playmaking midfielder, and brought Verón over to Lazio. With Lazio, Verón helped the Roman side win the Double in 1999-2000 (this was Lazio’s second and last national title).

Juan Sebastián Verón then tried his luck in England, but he didn’t have nearly the success he had in Italy, with tepid stints at Manchester United and Chelsea. The pace basically got the better of Verón in England. In 2004, Chelsea manager José Mourinho loaned out Verón to Internazionale, and after two years in this situation, Verón decided to return back to his and his father’s original club, in a sort of prodigal son role. Estudiantes were undergoing a giant disruption, because they were homelesss following the government ruling that banned wooden stands, and Estudiantes had 2 wooden stands at their ‘Estadio 1 y 57′ (aka Estadio Jorge Luis Hirschi). A waiver on the wooden stands ruling, which would have allowed Estudiantes to continue to play in the ’1 y 57′, was overruled by the mayor of La Plata, and this started the feuding between the local government and Estudiantes over the whole stadium issue.
Meanwhile, in his first year back with Estudiantes, Verón helped the club win it’s first national championship in 23 years, as the Pincharattas (the rat-stabbers) claimed the 2006-Apertura title. In the intervening 3 years, Estudiantes have played their home matches in 3 different venues, and currently are playing at the stadium of second-level club Quilmes (who are located in the southeast of Greater Buenos Aires, which puts them around 35 kilometers away from Estudiantes’ La Plata home). In spite of all this, in early 2009 the Estudiantes squad were able to keep their composure and progress through the stages of the Copa Libertadores, and after dispatching Uruguay’s Nacional 3-1 aggregate in the semifinals, Estudiantes were set to face Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte, Brazil in the finals. Throughout the tournament, Estudiantes were powered by the field general Verón, and the goals of striker Mauro Boselli. And it was these two who were instrumental in the outcome, when, after a nil-nil draw in the first leg in La Plata, Mauro Boselli scored the winning goal in Brazil in the 78th minute, on a header, from a corner kick by Verón. Verón won MVP for the competition, and Boselli was top scorer, with 8 goals.

The stadium had began being rebuilt in August, 2008, and as the last photo (taken in August 2009) shows, most of the main structure is up. Verón has contributed some of his own funds toward the new stadium’s construction, as well as to the club’s nice new training facilities just north of La Plata. Observers note he is positioning himself as the future president of the club, after retirement. The stadium is projected to be ready for play in a not-completely-finished state in late 2010. So soon Estudiantes will be back home, playing in a new 30,000-capacity stadium, on the site of their old and distinctive ground, with the luxurious canopy of trees which flanks the exterior still intact.

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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at es.wikipedia.org; I found the photo of the new stadium under construction there. There is also a nice blog covering the construction progress at the Estadio Tierra de Campeones’ , at estadiopincha.blogspot.com http://estadiopincha.blogspot.com/
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Thanks to Sam Kelly for help on this post. Sam’s work can be found at his excellent Hasta El Gol Siempre site, which covers the Argentinian scene (click on it at the Blogroll in the sidebar at right, at ‘hasta el gol siempre’), and at The Engache.com site (at the Blogroll on the right under ‘the engache.com’). Plus there is the Sam Kelly archive at ESPNSoccernet.com (on the Blogroll at ‘Sam Kelly @ ESPN soccernet’).

January 15, 2010

2010 Copa Libertadores, map of the 40 clubs in the competition.

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 9:23 am

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Defending champions are Argentina’s Estudiantes de La Plata.  As holders,  they enter the 2010 Copa Libertadores automatically.  Two other clubs entered automatically,  the two Mexican clubs that left the 2009 tournament in the wake of the H1N1 virus scare…Chivas de Guadalajara and San Luis FC.  They will enter the tournament in the Round of 16,  so they can pick up where they left off last year,  so to speak. 

The other 37 clubs in this year’s tournament all qualified by the many and varied ways which clubs qualify…from outright champions of their domestic leagues to runners-up to winners of separate competitions such as the Primera División de México’s InterLiga competition,  which just ended Wednesday (and takes place in the USA,  in southern California and Texas).  CF Monterrey,  and the newly re-branded Estudiantes Tecos,  of Guadalajara,  were the clubs which advanced to the Copa Libertadores via this competition.

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The 51st Copa Libertadores de América will begin on January 26,  with three matches from the First stage,  Deportiva Táchira (Venezuela) v. Libertad (Paraguay); and  Colón de Santa Fe (Argentina) v. Universidad Católica (Chile).   The 12 clubs in this stage are the lowest-placed clubs in the tournament and must win a 2-legged tie to advance to the Second stage.  The first part of the Second stage,  the Group stage,  will begin on February 9.  You can see the Group Stage set-up, here.  

On the map,  as I did last year,  there are thumbnail profiles of each club in the competition.  The profiles include the club’s city and stadium(s),  their domestic and Copa Libertadores titles,  their total Copa Libertadores appearances,  and how the club qualified for the 2010 Copa Libertadores. 

This year I have added another feature,  the jerseys of each club.  I put credits at the bottom of each jersey.  The four jerseys without credits I cobbled together myself (Nacional of Uruguay,  Real Potosí of Bolivia,  Juan Aurich of Peru,  and Deportiva Italia of Venezuela), because I could not find a suitable image anywhere. 

Thanks to Onion Bag.com,  for several of the jerseys [click here}.   Thanks to Futbol Mundial Kits blogspot,  for several of the jerseys {click here}.   Thanks to Subside Sports,  for several of the jerseys {click here}.  

Thanks to Junior Passion.com,  for an image of the Junior (Colombia) jersey {click here}.   Thanks to http://www.football-shirts.co.uk for an image of the Monterrey jersey {click here}.   Thanks to Big Soccer.com/Forum,  for the Estudiantes Tecos jersey {click here}.  

Thanks to World Soccer Shop.com,  for some of the jerseys {click here}.   Thanks to Soccer Shop Usa.com,  for the Morelia jersey {click here}.  Thanks to Football11.net,  for some of the jerseys {click here}.  

Thanks to El Blog de las Casacas,  for some of the jerseys {click here (set at Primera División Argentina kits, 2009)}. 

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (2010 Copa Libertadores page)}.   Thanks to Footiemap,  for location help {click here}.

May 22, 2009

2009 Copa Libertadores, Quarterfinals (8 teams).

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 5:10 pm

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San Luis FC and Chivas Guadalajara withdrew from the Copa L:ibertadores in the wake of the swine flu outbreak.  In fact,  Mexico has broken all ties with CONMEBOL  {see this (MSN.Foxsports.com/soccer)}.

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Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting shocked Boca Juniors, in Buenos Aires on Thursday night,  to clinch the final spot in the quarterfinals.   Here is an article from ESPN Soccernet, ‘Defensor stun Boca to reach quarter-finals’, {click here}.  Here is another article,  ’Copa Libertadores top eight’ (sportsya.com) {click here}.

There are four Brazilian teams in the quarterfinals: Cruzeiro,  Gremio Palmeiras,  and São Paulo FC;   2 Uruguayan teams:  Nacional de Montevideo,  and Defensor Sporting;  just one Argentinian team: Estudiantes de La Plata;  and for the first time in the quarterfinals, one Venezualan team,  Caracas FC.  It is amazing to consider that there is not a single team representing the capital of Argentina,  Buenos Aires.

{For the 2009 Copa Libertadores Quarterfinals Match-ups, click here }.

In the link,  you can also see the leading scorers in the 2009 Copa Libertadores,  so far.   Below is a photo gallery of the top scorers in the 2009 Copa Libertadores, through the Round of 16 .  [Note: for best viewing, click once more  on the image,  after the initial click.]

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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here,  for the 2009 Copa Libertadores page)}.

May 2, 2009

2009 Copa Libertadores, Knockout Stage, map of the 16 teams and their home stadiums; and the third installment of the tournament map.

Filed under: Copa Libertadores,Football Stadia — admin @ 6:59 am

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The Knockout Stage begins with the round of 16.  Teams are matched up according to results in the group stage.  The two-legged match-ups will be played on May 6 and May 13.  Here are the remaining 16 teams’ seeds, the match-ups,  and the bracket {click here}.   All 5 Brazilian teams have advanced.  There are no Colombian or Bolivian teams left in the competition.

Click on the title below for the other map…

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The two Mexican teams have a problem on their hands.  {See this, “Swine Flu Hits Copa Libertadores”, from The Offside.com}.

Thanks to Switch Image Project site for some of the jerseys (Boca Juniors, Palmeiras,  and Chivas Guadalajara jerseys)  {click here (set at Jan. 22, 2009 Club Deportivo Guadalajara Chivas 2008-09 kits}.   Thanks to the Sport Recife fans’ site called Meusport {click here (translated)}.   Thanks to the Cruzeiro fans’ site http://crufotos.wordpress.com/ .   Thanks to the Sao Paulo FC site Tricolormania {click here (translated)}.   Thanks to MuyBoca.com,  a Boca Juniors blog (translated) {click here}.   Thanks to Caracas FC site [I was unable to get a translation] {click here}.   Thanks to Sportfactory.Mediotempo.com,  and this thread {click here (Estadios Copa Libertadores 2009)}.   Thanks to GolazTropical.com.py , a Paraguayan sports site (translated) {click here}.   Thanks to http://deportivocuenca.blogspot.com/ .   Thanks to http://www.Cuencanos.com ,  for the elusive Deportivo Cuenca 2009 jersey photo {gallery at Flickr.com,  here}.

Thanks to the nice French site Chasseuer De Stades [which Babel Fish translated as 'hunter of stages',  but it's a site about football stadiums across the globe],  {click here}.

Thanks to GaloDigital {click here}.   Thanks to Flickr.com {click here .   Thanks to Panoramio.com {click here}.  

Thanks to World Stadiums.com {click here}.   Thanks to FussballTempel.net (German site on football stadiums) {click here}.   Thanks to the Onionbag.com {click here}.   Thanks to Futebol & Negócio {click here}.   Thanks to Minube.com (travel site) {click here}.   Thanks to Skyscrapercity site,  and this thread {click here (Estadios Peruanos III)}.

Finally,  thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (set at Copa Libertadores 2009 page)}.

February 10, 2009

2009 Copa Libertadores, Group Stage (Map of all 32 clubs, with brief profiles).

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 11:31 am

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2009 Copa Libertadores Group Stage.  {Wikipedia’s page on 2009 Copa Libertadores,  click here}.

Game highlights from 12th Februaruy (via 101 Great Goals site) …

Nacional de Montevideo (Uru.) 2- 1 Universidad San Martin de Porres (Peru).  {click here    [Check out the overflowing crowd in the nice compact stadiumi n the Uruguayan capital;   free kick goal by Nacional's Federico Dominguez at 0:01;   stunning full-stride volley at 2:00, by San Martin's Martin Arzuaga;   injury-time winner by Nicolas Lodeiro at 2:35.]

Universitario de Sucre (Bol.) 1-1 Deportivo Quito (Ecu.) {click here  [In the cavernous 2/3-empty bowl up in the high altitude of Bolivia,  goals at 0:10, by the home side's Marcelo Gomes;  and by the visitor's Mauricio Donoso at 0:30.]

River Plate (Arg.) 1-0 Nacional (Par.).  {click here   [With River's giant El Monumental filled to a respectable crowd level,  the winner came in injury time, at 2:44 on the video, by River Plate's talismanic,  5 ft.-2 in. striker Diego Buonanotte .]

The 32 Clubs, by country…

Written by Sam Kelly.  [Sam at Hasta El Gol Siempre,  {Click here};  at ESPN Soccernet/ Sam Kelly archive, {Click here}.]

Argentina.   Boca Juniors.  Founded 1905.  The second most successful side domestically in Argentina,  and the most popularly supported.  They’re also the most successful side in this year’s Copa,  a win will draw them level (on seven titles) with their fellow Argentines Independiente.

Estudiantes.  [see previous Copa Libertadores post, from 27th January, 2009...Click here].

Lanus.  Founded 1915. [Lanus is a southern suburb of Buenos Aires.]  One of the revelations of recent years in Argentina,  winning their first title in the 2007 Apertura to qualify for this year’s Copa,  they play some of the most attractive football in the country.  They won the 1996 CONMEBOL (a forerunner of the Copa Sudamericana).  

River Plate.  Founded 1901.  Top of CONMEBOL’s recently revised all-time Copa Libertadores standings (which award points-per-game won),  largely thanks to have participated in the Copa more times than any other Argentine side.  They’ve also won more domestic titles than any one else,  but have only won the Copa twice,  and finished bottom of the 2008 Apertura. 

San Lorenzo de Almagro.  Founded 1908.  The only one of Argentina’s ‘Big Five’ never to have won the Copa,  San Lorenzo’s most recent domestic title came in the 2007 Clausura,  but they went to a three-way playoff with Boca and minnows Tigre to decide last year’s Apertura.  Have 10 professional titles in Argentina,  and will be desperate to break their Copa duck.

Bolivia.   Club Aurora.  Founded 1935.  The current champions of Bolivia after claiming their first professional title with last year’s Clausura,  but also won a semi-pro title in 1963.  Their one previous Copa appearance was in 1964,  with a first round exit.

Club Universitario.  Founded 1962.  Last year’s Torneo Apertura was their first domestic title,  after winning promotion to the top flight in 2005.  They’re making their Copa Libertadores debut this year,  but appeared in the Copa Sudamericana in 2006,  with a first round exit.

Brazil.   Cruziero.  Founded 1921.  The club that launched Ronaldo’s career,  two-times Copa Libertadores winners [1976 and '77] and once Brazillian champions (in 2003),  the Belo Horizonte team finished third in last year’s Brasileiro.

Gremio.  Founded 1903 [in the southern city of Porto Allegre].  Have won two Copas [1983, 1995] and two national titles,  enjoying their most successful era under just-sacked Chelsea manager Luis Felipe Scolari,  and have produced players like Ronaldinho and Manchester United’s Anderson through their academy.  Lost the 2007 Copa final by a landslide against a Juan Roman Riquelme-inspired Boca Juniors.   

Palmeiras.  {see previous Copa Libertadores post, here}.  [1 Copa Libertadores title,  in 1999.]

Sao Paulo.  Founded 1930.  One of Brazil’s giants,  their 2008 league win made them the first side to win the Brazilian title three times running.  They’ve also won three Copa Libertadores titles and have been crowned world champions [FIFA Club World Cup] thrice. 

Sport Recife.  Founded 1905.  Eleventh in last year’s first division,  they qualified for the Copa by virtue of winning the Copa do Brasil,  but have made only one previous appearance,  in 1988,  when they were eliminated in the group stage.

Chile.   Colo Colo.  Founded 1925.  One of eight founder clubs of the Chilean first division in 1933,  they’re the only club to have never been relegated,  and with 28 titles (including five in the last 6 championships) are the most successful trophy-wise,  too.  Having won the 1991 Copa Libertadores,  they’re also the only Chilean side to have been crowned South American champions.  

Everton (de Vina del Mar).  Founded 1909 by an Englishman,  David Foxley,  and named after a rather more famous club in his home country.  The second most successful of the clubs outside the Chilean capital Santiago,  with four national titles,  most recently in June last year when they claimed the Apertura title.  Previously knocked out in the first round of the 1977 Copa,  their only other appearance. 

Universidad de Chile.  {see previous post,  here}.

Colombia.   América de Cali.  Founded 1918 or 1927,  depending who you ask.  The joint most successful club (along with Millonarios of Bogotá) in the history of the Colombian league,  América have been in financial turmoil for some time and frequently have transfer negotiations affected by their controversial inclusion on the ‘Clinton List’  [see this].  Reached three straight Copa finals in the mid-1980s,  and were there again in 1996,  but have never managed to get their hands on the trophy.

Boyacá Chicó.  Founded 2002  [in the capital,  Bogotá,  but in 2004,  moved to the city of Tunja in the province of Boyacá] .  One of several relatively new clubs in Colombia to have enjoyed success early on in their history,  after beating the domestic giants of América de Cali in the final of last year’s Torneo Apertura.  They went out in the qualifying round of last year’s Copa,  so will be hoping to prove they can do the business in this year’s group stage.

Independiente Medellin.  {see this}.

Ecuador.   Deportivo Cuenca.  {see this}.

Deportivo Quito.  Founded 1940 as Sociedad Deportiva Argentina,  and changed their name to the current Sociedad Deportivo Quito in 1955.  Spoiled their cross-city rivals’ post-Copa celebrations somewhat by beating Liga to the Ecuadorian title last year to claim their third national title.  This is their sixth Copa,  and they’ve only made it beyond he first round once,  in 1989,  when they reached the second round.

LDU de Quito.  Founded 1930.  The defending Copa Libertadores champions after shocking all comers on their way to last year’s final before beating fellow first-time-finalists Fluminese of Brazil on penalties to become the first Equadorian side to win the Copa.  Have recently changed managers after Edgardo Bauza’s resignation,  but whilst few expect lightning to strike twice,  they’ll at least want to show last year wasn’t a fluke.

Mexico.   CD Guadalajara (“Chivas”).  Founded 1906.  Mexico’s most widely-supported club,  in no small part by virtue of their policy of fielding only Mexican players.  They’ve come as close as any to winning the Copa Libertadores,  having reached back-to-back semi-finals in 2005 and 2006,  but their most notable trophies are their [record] 11 Mexican national titles,  most recently the 2006 Apertura.  ["Chivas" ('Goats') nickname was applied as an insult by a journalist in 1948,  picked up by opposing fans,  and eventually adopted by the club's supporters themselves with pride {thanks to Albion Road, here, site for that}.]

San Luis FC.  Founded 1957.  Avoided relegation by the skins of their teeth at the end of the 2006 Apertura,  but are making their Copa debut this term by virtue of an impressive performance in the regular season of last year’s Apertura.

Paraguay.  Guarani.  Founded 1903 [named for the indigenous people of the region, the Guarani;  uniforms with black and yellow vertical stripes are in reference to Uruguayan giants Penarol].  Have won nine championships,  most recently in 1984,  and were runners-up to Libertad last year.  Reached the Copa semi-final in in 1966,  but haven’t been beyond the first round in two attempts this century.

Libertad.  Founded 1905.  With 14 titles,  they’re the third most decorated club in Paraguayan football,  and have nine Copa participations to their name,  with semi-final appearances in 1977 and 2006,  and a quarter-final in 2007.  

Nacional.  {see this}.

Peru.   Universidad San Martin de Porres.  Founded 2004,  and have already won two titles- in 2007 and 2008- after beginning life in the second division,  by ‘buying’ their first division place from Sport Coopsol,  and improving rapidly.  The first Peruvian club to be founded as a Joint Stock Company,  they beat River Plate of Argentina 2-0 in their first ever Libertadores match last year,  but were eliminated at the end of the group stage.

Univeritario.  Founded 1962 [are the most popular club in Peru].  Have never been relegated from Peru’s top flight,  and have won more more Peruvian tiles (24) than any other club,  and were the first Peruvian club to reach the final of the Copa,  in 1972,  but have won no national championships since 2000.

Venezuela.  Caracas FC.  Founded 1967.  Nine national titles make them the most-crowned team in Venezuela,  and they became the first Venezuelan side to ever win in Argentina when beating River Plate two years ago.  Finished second last season,  and have never been beyond the round of sixteen [2nd round],  which they reached in 2007.

Táchira.  Founded 1974.  They’ve won six first division titles,  most recently last season,  and reached the quarter-finals of the 2004 Copa before losing a match.  [From San Cristóbal, Tachira state,  in the far west of Venezuela near the Columbian border.]

Much thanks to Sam Kelly for the fine write-up.  Check out his great Hasta El Gol Siempre site,  the place to go for English-language news and insight into the Argentinian game: http://hastaelgolsiempre.com/.    

January 27, 2009

2009 Copa Libertadores, Preliminary Round. Map (of all 38 clubs who qualified: 12 Preliminary clubs/ 24 Group Stage clubs).

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 12:59 pm

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The Copa Libertadores can be viewed as the Champions League of South America (plus Mexico).  However, it is a far more grueling ordeal for the clubs than the Champions League.  The competition is shoe-horned into a 4-month period (as opposed to the 9-month span of each Champions League season),  with travel far more problematic.  Modern airports and efficient travel routes are far less prevalent than in Europe.  The 2009 Copa Libertadores is the 50th edition of the tournament.    34 of the 49 Copa Libertadores Titles have been won by clubs from the 2 dominant nations of South America:  Argentina (21 Titles) and Brazil (13 Titles).  But not last year.

Defending Champions are Ecuador’s LDU Quito (Wikipedia page, {Click here} ).  They were a surprise finalist, and took Brazil’s Flumenese to penalties after the second leg’s regular time was finished, with the aggregate score at 5-5.   LDU Quito’s goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos made three saves on Fluminese penalty kicks,  and the unheralded club from the small equatorial nation won the shootout 3-1.  It was the first Copa Title by a club from Ecuador.  Here is an article on the shock win, from the Guardian.co.uk site, from 4th July, 2008… {Click here}.

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The Preliminary Round of the Copa Libertadores features 12 clubs.  They were drawn into two-legged match-ups.  The 6 winners are determined on aggregate goals, with European-style away goals rule in effect (since 2005).  If the aggregate is level, there is no extra time…it’s straight to a penalty shootout.  The 6 tie-winners advance to the first round,  which is the Group Stage {see the 8 groups,  here }.

[The Final has different rules for aggregate goals, though.  Away goals are not doubled, and there is a half-hour AET, before the penalty shootout, if necessary.]

Match-ups…{Click here (Foxsports) }.

El Nacional (Ecu.) v. Nacional (Par.) 1st leg, 27 Jan.

Universidad de Chile (Chi.) v. Pachuca (Mex.) 1st leg, 28, Jan.

Independiente Medellin (Col.) v. Peñarol (Uru.) 1st leg, 28 Jan.

Palmeiras (Bra.) v. Real Potosí (Bol.) 1st leg, 29 Jan.

Sporting Cristal (Per.) v. Estudiantes (Arg.) 1st leg, 29 Jan.

Deportivo Anzoátegui (Ven.) v. Deportivo Cuenca (Ecu.) 1st leg, 29 Jan.

The 12 clubs in the 2009 Copa Libertadores Preliminaries: [Note: unless otherwise noted, populations are from the Mongabay site {Click here},  and are 2002 estimates.]

Deportivo Anzoátegui (Venezuela).  A very new club, established in 2002.  The club has no titles,  and this is their Copa Libertadores debut.  From Puerto la Cruz, which is part of the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Venezuela (metro pop.: 607,000).  Kit: yellow, with red trim.

Deportivo Cuenca (Ecuador).  Relatively new club, established in 1971. Won their only National Title in 2004.  Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador (metro pop.: 417,000).  Third Copa Libertadores appearance in 5 years.  Kit: red, with black.

El Nacional (Ecuador).  The football club of the Equadorian military, they were founded in 1964.  Tied with Barcelona Sporting Cub for the most National Titles,  13 (their last in 2006).  From the capital, Quito (metro pop.: 2,686,000).  Kit: all red, with blue trim.

Estudiantes (Argentina).  From La Plata, the capital city of Buenos Aires Province (metro pop.: 833,000).  Glory days were four decades ago, when the club won 3 straight Copa Libertadores Titles (1968-’70).  Won their 4th Argentine Professional Title in 2006 (and their first in 23 years) under then-manager Diego Simeone, who built that team around Juan Sebastián Verón (who had returned after 11 years in Europe).  Verón is still on the squad, which finished in 7th in the 2008 Apertura.  [Note: qualification in Argentina for some of the spots in the Copa Libertadores is based on league form over one and a half seasons.]  Kit: red/ white vertical stripes on jersey; black pants.  Nickname: los Pincharratas (the Rat Stickers), for the plethora of rodents in their old ground.

Independiente Medellin (Colombia).  Dubbed “El Ponderosa de la Montaña” (the powerful of the mountain).  Had a great run in the early part of this decade, with Nationbal Titles in 2002-II and 2004-I, as well as a third-place finish in the 2003 Copa Libertadores.  First Copa appearance since ’05.  Medellin is the third largest city in Colombia (metro pop.: 2,994,000).  Kit: red jersey, blue pants. 

Nacional (Paraguay).  A club that has three spells in the second division in the last 30 years.  Their last of 6 National Titles was in 1946.  Nicknamd La Academia, for it’s good youth system.  Like most of the Paraguayan top tier, Nacional is from the capital, Asuncion (metro pop.: 1,600,000 [2005 estimate, from MSN Encarta]).  Kit: white jersey, blue pants.

Pachuca (Mexico).  The oldest pro club in Mexico, from Pachuca, Hidalgo state, which is 88 km east of Mexico City (55 miles).  Nicknamed Tuzos (Gophers), the club has had a remarkable last decade, with 5 National Titles (last, Clausura 2007), and 3 CONCACAF Champions League Titles (2002, ’07, and ’08).  This after years (prior to 1998) of yo-yoing between the 1st and 2nd divisions.  According to Wikipedia (page on Mexico, here),  Pachuca is the 31st largest city in Mexico (metro pop.: 439,000 [2005 census]).  Kit: blue and white vertcal striped jersey, white pants.

Palmeiras. (Brazil).  From Brazil’s largest city,  Sao Paulo (metro pop.: 18,505,000).  A 2004 survey found Palmeiras to be the 4th-most-supported club in the country,  with 11.8 million fans {you can see the whole list (plus a zoom map of 2008  Brazil Campeonato Serie A clubs), in this post,  from last May: Click here}.  Founded in 1914, as Palestra Italia, by members of the city’s Italian community (the club changed their name during WW II).  Palmeiras have won 4 Campeonato Serie A Titles (the last in 1994),  and 1 Copa Libertadores Title, in 1999.  They just missed out on the 2008 Brazillian Title (won by Sao Paulo for the third straight season),  and recently had their manager, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, attacked and injured by supporters {see this (from a blog on the FourFourTwo site) }.  Kit: all green.

Peñarol (Uruguay).  From the capital, Montevideo (metro pop.: 17,223,000), as are almost all top flight clubs in Uruguay (13 of the 16 clubs are from Montevideo, currently).  Peñarol vie with Nacional for the position as the biggest club in the country.  A 2006 survey showed that 45% of Uruguayan fans supported Penarol, while Nacional had 35%.  Peñarol has won 5 Copa Libertadores Titles.  Peñarol won the first 2 Copa Libertadores competitions, in 1960 and ’61.  Their fifth and last Copa Title was in 1987.  The club’s origins were as an off-shoot of the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club, in 1913.  Kit: black and yellow vertical stipes on jersey: taken from the colors used on railway signs and warning barriers. 

Real Potosí (Bolivia).  Bolivia is the ugly stepchild of South American football…no Bolivian club has advanced past the Group Stage (1st Round) of the Copa Libertadores in 8 years.  Real Potosí is a club that dates back to 1941, but was wound up in 1985, and re-launced in 1994.  Potosí (metro pop.: 136,000) is claimed to be the city with the highest elevation in the world (at 4,090 meters or 13, 420 feet…that’s 2 and a half miles).  The club has won 1 National Professional Title (2007 Apertura [Feb.-June]).  Kit: purple jersey, white pants (and their logo is so close to Real Madrid’s as to be a copyright infringement).

Sporting Cristal (Peru).  From the capital, Lima (metro pop.: 7,604,000),  the club’s original name was Sporting Tobacco (talk about an oxymoron).  Cristal is a brand of beer.  The club has won 15 National Titles, third most in Peru.  Kit: sky blue jerseys, white pants.

Universidad de Chile (Chile). From the capital, Santiago (metro pop.: 5,637,000).  The well-supported club has the second most National Titles, with 12 (last: 2004-Apertura),  but 16 less than Chilean giants Colo Colo.  Nickname is los Chunchos (the Owls).  Kit: all blue.  

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Notes:   1.  In the category of Appearances, the ’09 competition is counted as an appearance.  Also, being eliminated in the Preliminary Round still counts as an appearance (the RSSSF site {see this page}uses this protocol, so I am following suit {RSSSF home page, here}).  

2. In the category of Titles Won, only professional titles are listed.  River Plate (of Argentina) have 1 amatuer title to add to their 33 pro tiles;  Boca Juniors have 7 amatuer titles to add to their 24 pro titles;   Estudiantes have 1 amatuer title to add to their 4 pro titles.    Penarol (of Uruguay) have 10 amatuer titles to add to their 31 pro titles;  Nacional (of Uruguay) have 11 amatuer titles to add to their 30 pro titles.  Libertad (of Paraguay) have 4 amatuer titles to add to their 9 pro titles.  Universiario Deportes (of Peru) have 7 amatuer titles to add to their 17 pro titles.  

3A.  Some countries have Apertura and Clausura titles that stand on their own as national titles.  Argentina is the best example of this;  Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Bolivia also use this system, and Paraguay has just adopted this system.   3B.  Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela have a playoff format between the Apertura and Clausura winners to decide the season’s champion.   3C.  {Click here (Wikipedia)} and see the second paragraph to determine what part of the year the Apertura and Clausura are played.   Yes that’s right…in certain parts of South America,  “apertura” and “clausura” have the opposite meanings.  This is just the tip of the iceberg,  unfortunately,  of the dysfunction endemic to the game on this continent.  Thankfully,  the Copa Libertadores itself is only getting bigger and stronger  (and more important to clubs), as the years go by.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages on the Copa Libertadores at Wikipedia  {Click here}.

Thanks to Sam Kelly at the Hasta El Gol Siempre site  {Click here}  (and also at ESPN Soccernet [Sam Kelly at ESPN Soccernet archive here]),  for fact-checking and input.  Sam will be writng about the Copa on my next post on the competition, which will be just before the Group Stage begins on 11th February.

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