The first of the two-legged Final takes place tonight at Pumas’ home stadium, Estadio Universitario, Estadio Olimpico, Estadio Mexico68, CU. It has many names. It may not have the historical footie cache as the Azteca has(if two dazzling world cup finals aren't enough, may I present Italy's 4-3 semi final classic over W Germany in 1970), but it has its share of unforgettable moments, and not all of them have to do with futbol.
During the Mexico City Olympics, the stadium was witness to two unbelievable world records that were set within minutes of each other: Bob Beamon’s ridiculous long jump, and his ensuing sobbing on the track delayed Lee Evans’ 400 meter finals. Evans then ran the fast 400m in history. The Fosbury Flop won another gold medal. And for the Mexicans who saw it, El Sargento Pedraza’s silver medal in the 20K walk is burned in their memory.
In 1986, Michel Platini’s early goal put an end to Italy ’s hopes of repeating as world cup winners in France ’s 2-0 win.
And then there’s Pumas. But not the team you’re thinking of.
The stadium at CU was built in the 50’s for Pumas, but not the footie team. The stadium was originally built to house its American Football team that go by the same name (and also use Notre Dame’s colors – a sore subject for this Longhorn fan, but oh, well). The design of the stadium is built for American Football: the majority of its seats are “between the 20’s”.
They could not have christened the stadium any better, a come from behind win over the arch-rival Burros Blancos del Politécnico. A rivalry every bit as big as the intrastate college rivalries we see in the fall. And it’s the reason why the gridiron is painted on the field during the Aperturas.
The futbol team has also won its share of titles. 5 to be exact since earning promotion in 1962.
But the most gratifying for most Pumas fans was the 1991 finals win over cross-town rival America . The one who scored the deciding goal: current Pumas Coach, Tuca Ferretti.
As far as tonight’s game and the series… (Telemundo 9PM CDT) the finals will be decided by whether or not Pumas can breech Pachuca ’s defense. Pachuca has the most goals in the Clausura, but they gave up their share as well. If Pumas can crack the code, they have a chance. If not, then it’ll be the Tuzos who lift the league trophy for the sixth time.