Fans of Club Atlético Colón enjoyed a jubilant weekend to remember after the Santa Fe side celebrated its first ever top-flight title in 116 years late Friday night.
Celebrations stretched on long into the early hours – and the following few days – following Colón’s triumphant 3-0 win over Racing Club at the San Juan del Bicentenario stadium in the Copa de Liga Profesional 2021 final.
Second-half strikes from Rodrigo Aliendro (58th minute), Cristian Bernardi (71st) and Alexis Castro (86th) took the Sabalero to uncharted heights. Previously the team’s top honour was a Primera B division win in 1965, though they finished as runners-up in the 1997 league campaign.
Led by coach Eduardo Domínguez, the Santa Fe side can now look forward to continental competition and a Copa Libertadores campaign in 2022.
Colón didn’t go into the final as favourites, despite having eliminated Independiente in the Copa de Liga semi-finals 2-0, but they started well, with Cristian Ferreira firing over from the edge of the box in the opening exchanges.
In a tense first half, the Santa Fe side dominated possession and created the best openings, but they were unable to create many clear cut chances. Racing grew into the game and came back into it towards the end of the first half.
The second half resumed with stalemate, but 15 minutes into the second period, the deadlock was broken – Aliendro ended off a good passage of play, firing home from the edge of the six-yard box, and Colón’s fans were starting to dream.
Racing raised their game to respond, but the side in red and black could smell blood. As the clock ticked past 70 minutes, Bernardi did well on the left, and after exchanging passes with a teammate, he lifted a shot over Racing keeper ‘Chila’ Gómez.
As the rivals pushed for an unlikely comeback, the game became stretched. Four minutes from time, Alexis Castro capitalised on a defensive mix-up to start the celebrations.
“I’m immensely happy, there are no words to describe what this club is going through,” beloved veteran forward Luis Miguel 'Pulga' Rodríguez said after the game. “I hope the people of Colón enjoy it, because they’ve waited 116 years for this moment.”
The title win prompted unbelievable scenes in Santa Fe, as fans celebrated the side’s historic victory. Fans were on the streets on Saturday and Sunday, with a caravan of cars driving through the streets honking their horns in delight.
A number of videos began circulating on social networks, including clips of elderly supporters – most of whom had never seen the club win a trophy – crying with joy.
The festivities even took a bizarre turn as one family took their celebrations to the extreme. In a post that quickly went viral (scoring one million views in just 12 hours), one video showed a supporter – with minutes of the match remaining – grabbing up his late father’s ashes, a bottle of wine and an electric drill.
After drilling a hole in the receptacle, he opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and poured wine down a funnel into the urn, so his father could celebrate with them.
JAJAJA NO PUEDE SER, DALE COLÓOONNNN pic.twitter.com/m7U1jwvg1v— Ale Moreno (@AleMoreno_10) June 5, 2021
Sadly, not all the frolics were festive. On Saturday, as Colón’s fans celebrated on the streets of Santa Fe City, clashes broke out between the club’s hooligans and others from their historic rivals, Unión de Santa Fe.
According to reports over the weekend, at least five individuals were arrested, while 70 people were left with injuries.
Local authorities condemned the incidents, criticising fans for not only the violence but violating restrictions put in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.