The first Peñarol vs La Luz in history was in 1978 and was suspended due to lack of light

Peñarol and La Luz will play this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. in the Champion of the Century, the first leg of the semifinals of the nascent Copa AUF Uruguay. Both rivals only met in two official matches throughout its history. It was in 1978 for the Major League and the humble cast of Aires Puros managed to put Fernando Morena’s aurinegro in trouble, who had just been proclaimed Uruguayan champion.

The Major League was created in 1975 and Nacional won it both that year and in 1976 and 1977.

For 1978 the tournament changed its format. It was played after the Uruguayan Championship in two series of 10 teams each, with the top seeded teams, where the top six advanced to the second phase.

In addition to the First Division teams, the four best from B and the four zonal champions of the Interior Football Organization (OFI) played.

It was La Luz’s turn in the Peñarol series. The team was directed by Roberto Fleitas, who in 1976 had made it champion of the C division, returning it to the B division where in the 1960s it had two vice-championships, the one in 1965, won by Defensor, and the one in 1967, won by River Plate after a 1-0 win at Rivero against Aires Puros with a controversial arbitration by Esteban Marino that annulled a goal against the merengues.

At the age of 22, Juan Tejera was released by Danubio after the campaign that put him in the Copa Libertadores for the first time and there he ended up in La Luz. At that time he played as a defender or left winger, although in the Aires Puros merengue he played as a winger with the number 6 on his back. He would eventually end his career as a midfielder.

“This year we fought for promotion with River Plate who had come down and had a great shot: Tola (Julio César) Antúnez, Eduardo Pierri, Mario Menchaca, Ruben Bareño, the Rodríguez family and Waldemar Victorino also made his first weapons. In addition, the technician was Ondino Viera”, revealed Tejera to Referee.

“What we left seconds in the B We played the Major League and that’s where Peñarol touched us,” he added.

The first match was played at Parque Viera, where La Luz officiated as the local. “The Rivero was a small field to take Peñarol, it had a single grandstand and two rows of benches in the other. Behind the arches there were no stands.” 4,167 tickets were sold and 25,341 new pesos were collected.

Peñarol, directed by the Brazilian Dino Sani, he trained with Jorge Fossati, Walter Olivera, Wilson Kénez; Victor Hugo Diogo, Lorenzo Unanue, Juan Vicente Morales; José Cruz, Gustavo Dittman, Fernando Morena, Ildo Maneiro and Ruben Paz.

Peñarol came to be Uruguayan champion after drawing 1-1 with Nacional on the penultimate date (penalty goals by Morena and Alfredo De los Santos) and then beating Rentistas 2-0. Morena scored 36 goals in the Uruguayan Championship stamping the best mark scorer of a soccer player in the history of the contest, surpassing the 34 that he had done in 1975. It was in that tournament where he made him seven goals against Huracán Buceo.

“It was a great match. But we matched them. We tied 1-1 and when we scored the equalizer, the judge who was Otelo Roberto suspended it. The game was for us and that saved them,” Tejera said with a smile. “But the truth is that a storm surge broke out, the sky darkened and nothing could be seen. We had it finished three days later and we ended up in a draw.”

Below the record of that party, the clipping of El Diario expresses as “remarkable aspect”: “The happy performance of those of Aires Puros, playing equal to equal to the favorite. The fight was acquiring great intensity when it had to be suspended.”

Peñarol opened the account through Unanue at 26′ while Carlos Rodríguez equalized for La Luz at 65′.

La Luz formed with Gervasio Dos Santos, Julio Martínez, Miguel Sesser; Horacio Silva, Alfredo Bentos, Juan Tejera; Daniel Muñiz, Óscar García, Eduardo Rey, Waldemar Dupazos and Carlos Rodríguez.

“I remember that in that game I had to mark three pointers. First Pepe Cruz and I annulled him. For the second half, Daniel Quevedo entered, who had returned to Peñarol. And when the peak was played, Dino Sani put Dittman on me”, Tejera recalled.

Eduardo Rey came from scoring 20 goals in B where he finished as the tournament’s top scorer. García had played in Danubio. And Carlos Rodríguez was a former River player, brother-in-law of Fernando Morena.

“The light was a team of mature people. The young people were me and Martínez. The rest were experienced, a very healthy group, focused and very well worked by Fleitas. Peñarol respected us because we played a very good game against him. I remember that in the series we beat Peñarol from Paso de los Toros who had the yellow and black jersey but with finer stripes and after playing the peak with Peñarol on Wednesday, we went to Fray Bentos on Thursday to play on Saturday with on July 18, which was a very brave team, which had a lot of fans, and we beat them 3-2. We had a very good campaign,” recalled Tejera, a coach with a long career in Uruguayan soccer where he directed Defensor Sporting in two cycles, Rentistas, Cerro, Racing, Fénix, and Boston River.

Juan Tejera

“I didn’t play the other game against Peñarol. I had a very troubled knee and I didn’t play anymore. In the second round with Nacional things went badly for us, we lost 6-0,” he added.

In revenge, it was played in the Centennial with 9,423 tickets sold and a collection of 55,882 new pesos, Peñarol trained with Fossati, Olivera, Nelson Marcenaro; Diogo, Unanue, Morales; Cruz, Juan José Duarte, Morena, Maneiro and Dittman. At 25′ Alberto Brailowski came on for Cruz and at 66′ Mario Saralegui for Duarte.

La Luz played with Dos Santos, Sesser, Dupazos, Silva, Bentos, Alonso; Rodríguez, Muñiz, Rey, García and Lema entering the course of the match Boix and Fernández.

Again La Luz was a competitive force. Morena put Peñarol ahead at 47′, Brailowski made it 2-0 at 71′, Rodríguez (executioner in Fossati’s two games) discounted at 72′, Morena again stretched the lead at 78′ and Rey gave him definitive figures to the marker at 88′.

A good Uruguayan definition

Peñarol took a good lead after drawing 0-0 in a classic where Morena was sent off for mutual aggression with Ruben Giménez. Due to the protests, Morena received a five-match ban. Giménez was given two.

The team took a good advantage that vanished in the last two dates with losses against Huracán Buceo and Cerro.

Defensor matched him in points, but Peñarol had a better balance of goals. in his book The NandoPablo Muró reveals how Peñarol’s title was confirmed: “The definition (or, rather, the confirmation) of the title was in charge of the Council of Neutrals of the AUF that the following Monday confirmed that the definition was the one consigned by the press already in the days before the matches.Defensor appeals, but the Court, based on Article 6 of the Major League Regulations, ratifies the ruling.Peñarol won for the first time (and with what suffering!) the Major League, championship that until then had been elusive”.

44 years have passed since those historic matches. La Luz achieved its promotion from the First Amateur Division to the Second Professional Division in January 2022 and in September its long-awaited promotion to the First Division. Meanwhile, he starred in a remarkable campaign in the AUF Uruguay Cup, eliminating Fénix and Albion, both from Primera. And now he’s back face to face against a big one.

The first Peñarol vs La Luz in history was in 1978 and was suspended due to lack of light