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19.12.2009 11:08

Barça v Estudiantes: Did you know...

Pau Ramírez / Jordi Clos

Barça have the chance to win the only major title they are missing. All that stands between them now is Estudiantes, a game that has thrown up all kinds of curiosities.

- This is Barça’s third assault on this title. In 1992, when it was still called the Intercontinental Cup, they lost a single game to Sao Paulo in Japan (2-1). In 2006, now played to the present-day format, they lost to Inter of Porto Alegre 1-0 in Yokohama.

- Current Barça coach Pep Guardiola played in the first game, after winning the European Cup at Wembley.

2009-12-16_PARTIDO_044.JPG- Barça’s goalscorers so far in this competition are Busquets, Messi and Pedro, who join Stoichkov, Gudjohnsen, Márquez, Ronaldinho and Deco. No player has scored more than two goals.

- Pedro made history in the semi final. He became the first player ever to score in six competitions in the same season: the Spanish and European Super Cups, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Liga.

- The current Clubs World Cup champions are Manchester United. Last year they beat Ecuador’s Liga de Quito.

- Estudiantes was founded on August 4, 1905 by a group of players that left Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima of La Plata (formed by the city’s middle classes) due to differences with that club’s directors. Their new team was called Club Atlético Estudiantes.

- Estudiantes dominated South American football from 1968 to 1971. They won the Copa Libertadores and also the Intercontinental Cup (1968) against Manchester United and also the Interamerican Cup (1969). In 1971, they once again played in the Libertadores final, but lost and did not qualify again until last summer.

- Estudiantes are known as the 'pincharratas' (rat-prickers) because in the early 20th century, a lot of their players were medical students who did experiments on rats. The club’s modern day mascot in a lion.

estudiantes-de-la-plata-se-consagro-campeon-de-la-copa-libertadores.jpg- They have won the Argentinian first division four times, for the last time in 2006, the Opening Tournament.

- Estudiantes are in the Clubs World Cup by virtue of winning the Libertadores Cup. They played the final against Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte in Brazil. They played the first leg in La Plata, and drew 0-0, and then caused a surprise by winning 2-1 away to take the title for the first time in 39 years.

- To reach the final, Estudiantes faced Korea’s Pohang Steelers, who they beat 2-1, with the opposition having three men sent off.

- The star of the Estudiantes squad is Juan Sebastián Verón. Known as ‘the warlock’ he is the son of a famous ex 'pincharrata', Juan Ramón Verón. The current Estudiantes captain was born on March 9, 1974 on the day his father was playing the city derby against Gimnasia. The manager of Estudiantes back then, Carlos Bilardo, refused to let the player know his son had been born until after the game in order to prevent him from losing his concentration. Juan Ramón scored a header that day.

- Four of the players that won the Libertadores have since left the club. These are goalkeeper Mariano Andújar (signed by Italy’s Catania), defender Ronaldo Schiavi (Newell's Old Boys), midfielder Gastón 'La Gata' Fernández (Tigres of Mexico) and veteran striker José Luis Calderón, who retired at the age of 39.

- Alejandro Sabella, manager of 'pincharratas', has coached the club since March this year.
Barça v Estudiantes: Did you know...
The Referee
The match official today will be Benito Archundia. The Mexican has obviously not refereed Barcelona before.

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