The dream of Peñarol. The chickadee fans turned off the television and went to sleep with a lump in their throats. They stayed between what could have been and what was not in the final stretch of the tournament. Reasons? Coach Mauricio Larriera began to build a team, with all that this entails in terms of work and repetitions that translate into understanding, and ended up with another.
Curiously, he started playing with a striker who was the team’s top scorer and ended up playing in the semi-final bracket rival, and not only that, but David Terans was a key factor in leaving Peñarol out. It may sound like an excuse. It is a fact of reality. Facing the final phase of the Sudamericana, the team lost Fabricio Formiliano, Joaquín Piquerez and David Terans. Curiously, Piquerez and Terans will define the Libertadores and the Sudamericana.
How did the chickadee replace casualties? With five players of which two did not make their debut (Rubén Bentancourt and Edgard Elizalde) and the remaining three joined late as Nicolás Gaitán, Laquintana and Ramos.
Former coal president José Pedro Damiani used to say: “There is no sporting power without economic power.” It is the reality of a Uruguayan football where, for many years, the lion’s share has been taken by someone else. But aside from casualties and incorporations, things also happened on the field that could change the team’s fortunes. In the first leg in Montevideo, Peñarol received a goal from the locker room on an error at the start. From there, not only did the game change, but also the mood and the series.
In the rematch, where he started well, he collapsed on a 30-meter long ball where the rival took the lead. And then the penalty kicked by Cepellini ended up destroying the dream.
There was the feeling that the aurinegro was eliminated by a modest team, which did not overwhelm him from a football point of view. A story known to all Uruguayan clubs that have lived with that history of being eliminated by modest teams for years. The list is long.
And so Peñarol said goodbye to the Sudamericana, between what could have been with Piquerez and Terans and what was not with Bentancourt, Gaitán and Ramos.