6
Jul 04

Once Caldas win Copa Libertadores

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Once Caldas win Copa Libertadores

TV coverage of the Copa Libertadores is frustratingly hard to find. Eurosport provide brief highlights and Channel 5 occasionally add a segment onto their Argentine league show in the early hours, but it’s not seen as big business for Sky. A real shame.

The Liberator’s Cup is essentially the Latin American equivalent of the Champions League, although the scale is slightly bigger and stadium riots more likely. Boca Juniors have been champions six times and made it to the final again. They were up against Colombia’s Once Caldas, a defensive side who have never prospered in international club competition. Boca were firm favourites, yet both legs ended in draws. Boca then Beckhamed every one of their penalties and Once Caldas lifted the trophy.

It’s easy to draw comparisons with Greece’s Euro 2004 victory, but there’s another element to bring into play, one we don’t have issue with in European competition. Once Caldas are based in Manizales, over seven thousand feet above sea level. They never lost a match at home and scored plenty of goals in the second half as opponents began to wilt in the thinner air.

In Colombia, the fans hit the streets, “Now we are going to celebrate. We are going to throw flour, dance and drink and dance,” predicted one fan. Right.

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