Deportivo Táchira: goal from goal to goal, a “bad teammate” who almost ruined everything and the story that repeated itself 25 years later

Sports Tachira seems to have a tradition Libertadores Cup. The San Cristóbal team is one of the most popular in Venezuela, but it has also remained in the memory of many beyond the performances it has had in the largest continental competition. Last night, in the match he played in Bolivia, at the Patria Olympic Stadium, against Oil Independent, a curious fact was repeated that refers to a situation experienced almost 25 years ago. Or almost… Let’s see.

20 minutes into the second half and the match was tied at one goal. It was then that the Venezuelan goalkeeper Christopher Varela, 22, made a goal kick from his area with such power that the ball reached the door of the rival area. The ball bounced and the rival goalkeeper, Álex Arancibia, made a bad calculation, collided with a teammate and the ball went past him and headed for the net. Goal from arc to arc! Like 25 years ago in San Cristóbal! However, there was a detail that apparently prevented it. A teammate of Varela, striker Renny Simisterra, ran to the goal line to secure the ball and touched it. In or out? In the images it gives the sensation that the ball had already entered. But according to the referee of the match, the goal was awarded to the attacker, so the goal from goal to goal was left in the nebula due to the desperation of a teammate who, in his eagerness for nothing to get in the way of the goal, ended up taking the Honor your archer.

The name of Deportivo Táchira became popular in these lands back in 1987, when the Venezuelan team was drawn to join the Copa Libertadores group in which the Argentines Independiente and Rosario Central were. So, football in that country was the weakest in South America and that they could achieve a victory in the most important continental competition in this part of the world was almost a utopia. And more facing Argentine teams.

However, Táchira went down in history at that time not only because of an indisputable victory against Independiente, on home soil and by 3-2, but also because one of the goals came unexpectedly and was etched in the memory of all the Football fans. The goal from goal to goal with which Daniel Francovig, a Uruguayan goalkeeper who defended the Táchira fence, violated Luis Islas. It happened on Sunday, July 19, 1987, at the Polideportivo Stadium in Pueblo Nuevo. It was 21 minutes into the first half and the Venezuelan team was already winning 1-0 with a goal from Carlos Maldonado. Francovig took from his area with a high and strong delivery that fell about 20 meters from the goal of Independiente. Hugo Villaverde went to look for that ball, but he preferred to let it pass after the spike, which took Luis Islas halfway and far from his fence and he watched in amazement as the ball went in without being able to do anything.

The celebration was a lot of soccer players with aurinegra shirt on that hero who had achieved something that seemed impossible. On the other side, a bunch of red shirts looked incredulous, not understanding what had happened. That was an Independiente that had the base that had won everything in 1983/84 -with big names like Néstor Clausen, Villaverde, Carlos Enrique, Ricardo Giusti, Claudio Marangoni, Ricardo Bochini, José Percudani and Alejandro Barberón- and that at the same time Dessert would be a semi-finalist for that cup.

In 1995, on the occasion of an interview conducted by the journalist Diego Borinsky, Islas recounted the opprobrium with which he lived because of that fact: “After that goal I played a year under the crossbar. But I prefer that they score that goal for me to miss a ball or miss a center, “he said. And several years later, in the magazine The graphicwent into details of what happened: “The goal from goal to goal that Francovig made me today I have it as a comic anecdote, but for a long time it was a nightmare. With Independiente we played against Táchira, in Venezuela. It was on a small court, very small, a storm broke out and there was a terrible wind. In the midst of all those strange things, the goalkeeper kicks from the goal with his foot and the ball is going to bounce on the line of the big area, and there I shout to Villaverde ‘Let it pass’, he lets it bounce and in that the wind He raised the ball five meters, impossible to catch it, and that I, who is two meters tall, was at the penalty spot; If it hadn’t been for the gale, I’m sure I’d cut it off. He had a barbaric anger and I told the referee not to charge it, that a goal like that was not worth it. Of course, how was she going to be worth it? A very rare thing, here in the rematch, we beat them 5-0, but Francovig had become famous and I think Deportivo Armenio later bought him. For a while that goal was like a blow to the head, but I still think it wasn’t my mistake, I think it’s more of an error when you go out and miss the ball. If I went out it was to win; if not, I stayed in the goal”.

Indeed, Francovig after that was acquired by Deportivo Armenio, who had him in their ranks in the 1987/88 season, when they faced a first division championship for the first time in their history, after the historic promotion of the previous year. “It was a weird play. I never blamed Islas for the goal. The sports center field was wet from the water stick and he went ahead, which was normal, ”recalled the Uruguayan goalkeeper years later. Francovig played little or nothing in Armenio (he was a substitute for Sarmiento), and the following year he returned to his place in the world, Deportivo Táchira, the team that already makes a tradition of goals from goal to goal in the Copa Libertadores.