Cali vs. Millionaires: Memories of the Old Classic of Colombian Soccer | what do we play


Cali and Millonarios in a match at the Pascual Guerrero stadium in the Valle del Cauca capital, corresponding to the Colombian tournament, in 1963. / El Espectador Archive

With Adolfo Pedernera at the helm, Millonarios was another kind of machine. The Argentine was then a kind of worker, perhaps the best in his class, for having managed to be in what was called La Maquina de River Plate and, although it did not bear the same name, the famous Blue Ballet was also promoted. After winning their first star in 1949 against Cali -a fact to which we will return later-, the Bogota team catapulted as an invincible and overwhelming team, which did not score less than two or three goals per game and which included figures that reaffirmed a name that at that time was pompous, but that never corresponded with the coffers of the club.

It was 1950. Julio Cozzi, another of the stars of the nascent Blue Ballet, arrived at Millonarios. His debut was not the best. He conceded three goals in a draw at El Campín, but in his second game he suffered twice. It was time to visit Cali and relive that kind of final that had been played the previous year, when the team from the capital obtained its first star by beating the Valle del Cauca team 4-2 in a round trip series. The Blues came into the match as favorites, but they found an unbeatable version of the Sugar Bowls. For one day they stopped being the protagonists of the ballet to be the spectators of one. That afternoon the field of Pascual Guerrero was not the one of other days. Six goals to one was the result. Three goals from Valeriano López, two from Fernando Walter and one from Rodolfo Cervino registered the team from the capital of Valle del Cauca. It was not possible to speak of a welcome at the arrival of the Argentine goalkeeper in Colombia.

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A classic of the “Lost Generation”

That kind of end of 1949 and the rout of 1950 were two precedents of a Cali vs. Millionaires that was defined over time as the classic of yesteryear. América and Nacional took center stage, because in addition to their titles and outstanding performances in the 1980s and 1990s, several of the players of that time were benchmarks for South American teams and, of course, Colombia. While in the case of blue and sugar bowls it was not. At least, if we talk about Nacional, several of the members of the national team for the 1990s -those who went to the World Cups in Italy 90 and the United States 94-, left the Nacional champion of the Copa Libertadores in 1989.

We speak of a “Lost Generation”, because although there were great references in Colombian football, they failed to take the Colombian team to a World Cup event, leaving a gap of almost 30 years without attending the top of international football, despite that the sparks of genius of some players were not lacking in local football.

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It was the names of Willington Ortiz, Arturo Segovia, Jairo Arboleda, Osvaldo Calero, Miguel Escobar and Pedro Zape who are remembered from Millonarios and Cali from the 1970s and 1980s, from two teams that had large payrolls, but with different styles. game and that were giving some first glimpses of the formation of a possible game identity in Colombia, being part of the list that was runner-up in the 1975 Copa América.

In Millonarios, which was in charge of Gabriel Ochoa Uribe for most of the time of the 70s, and with players like Alejandro Brand, Willington Ortiz and Jaime Morón, direct, fast football lasted for several years, which could not only be considered the characteristics of those who made up the eleventh blue at that time, but because the doctor He knew that having the height factor in his favor should mean greater speed on the field, in order to tire the rival faster and force them to make a mistake.

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Cali, for its part, which came from the influence of the teams led by Francisco hot dog Villegas -who gave the first titles to the sugar team in 1965, 1967 and 1969-, had an offensive game, contrary to that of the blues, because it was not direct, but it was intense, and it became more physical with the arrival and the championship led by Serbian Vladimir Popovic in 1974.

“They were the strongest, those who fought for titles and went to the Colombian national team. At that time it was complicated, because we barely played four or five Colombians in the teams. Our soccer took time to develop because of that, because there were more foreigners,” Willington Ortiz told The viewer.

Six times they have defined a championship Millonarios and Cali. Although it must be taken into account that the Colombian tournament did not previously have the format of a two-way final, but rather with the team with the best accumulated points (or in case of a tie, with series between those involved), both ambassadors as sugar bowls have been found to define the champion. The blues stayed with stars in 1949, 1962, 1972 and 1978, being the team that has taken the title from the Valle del Cauca team the most, who are also the team that has been runner-up the most times in national football, losing 14 times. In 1969 and 1996, the greens were proclaimed champions, on two occasions in which they defined the contest with América in 69 and with the scarlet and Nacional in 96.

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