Although it rarely makes it onto the TV screens in Europe, Peruvian football is phenomenally popular in its home country, almost a religion, and for travellers travelling to Peru on a holiday it can make an exciting "excursion" - be it an international game (Peru frequently play countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and Chile in the annual Copa Libertadores), or a league game.

Lima in particular has a few teams that regularly play local "derbies", including the more popular teams of Universitario, Alianza, and Cristal; and Cusco's main team, Cienciano, are also popular and won the Copa Sudamerica title in 2003 (the equivalent to the UEFA Cup).


On Wednesday this week, 18th December 2013, Lima side Universitario, nicknamed "La U", won the 2013 league title - the "Descentralizado de Futbol Profesional Peruano" - in a thrilling final against Real Garcilaso from Cusco.

After a tough-going first half, partly due to the altitude (the game was played in Estadio Huancayo, in the Junin region of Peru, at 3259m above sea level), the teams went into the halftime break level at 0-0. In the second half Universitario went ahead after 51 minutes before Real Garcilaso fought back to equalise in the 64th minute.

After a thrilling and tense final few minutes the game ended after 90 minutes with the teams still deadlocked at 1-1. In the deciding penalty shootout Universitario squeezed ahead after Real Garcilaso missed 3 penalties to win the shootout 5-4.


The Universitario team celebrating following their win.

The Peruvian football competition is complicated compared to the European equivalent, with this game actually being the third game in 10 days that these teams had played against one another (Real Garcilaso has first beaten Universitario 3-2 at home on 8th December, before losing 3-0 away on 15th December, with this game being the decider). However this is Universitario's 26th title win.

(Published 20/12/2013).

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