April 19, 1960: the first match of the Copa Libertadores

It appears that an ongoing theme of this blog is Uruguay’s central role in almost every key moment in football history, whether it be in its own region, or worldwide. Such a role obviously includes the most prestigious South American tournament, the Copa Libertadores.

As Uruguayans played a key role in the creation of the tournament, it seemed fitting that the first match was held in Montevideo. And so it was that, on April 19, 1960, Peñarol hosted Bolivian champions Jorge Wilstermann at the Estadio Centenario.

The Uruguayans scored the first goal in the tournament’s history. It was Carlos Borges, thirteen minutes in. He added to his tally fourteen minutes later, and Peñarol went on to destroy the Bolivians 7-1.

First goal of the Copa Libertadores
First goal of the Copa Libertadores

The standout of the match, however, was Peñarol’s Ecuadorian forward, Alberto Spencer.

Spencer scored four goals in the victory, leaving no doubt as to his footballing destiny. He was to be one of the greatest.

He ended up scoring seven of Peñarol’s thirteen tournament goals, ensuring that the first champions of the Copa Libertadores would be Uruguayan.

Alberto Spencer went on to score fifty-four Libertadores goals throughout his career.

It is a record that will never be broken.


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