Luis Cubilla: Footballer and coach with Uruguay and Paraguay


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The Independent Online

Luis Cubilla, who died on 3 March at the age of 72 from stomach cancer, was a former Uruguay footballer who played in three World Cups for his country. He then went into coaching, and twice won the Libertadores Cup – the South American equivalent of the Champions League – with the Paraguayan side Olimpia.

Cubilla played in the 1962, 1970 and 1974 World Cups, his side reaching the semi-finals on the second occasion before losing 3-1 to Brazil. He was memorably involved in Uruguay's last-gasp extra-time winner against the Soviet Union in the quarter-final in Mexico, tenaciously winning a ball the Soviets thought was going out of play to set up Victor Esparrago for the only goal of the game.

Cubilla played for both Uruguay's biggest clubs, Penarol and Nacional, winning four domestic championship titles with each, plus one more in the twilight of his career with rank outsiders Defensor Sporting. He also played in Spain with Barcelona for two seasons, winning the Copa del Rey, as well as River Plate in Argentina.

As a coach, he worked in Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala as well as his homeland. He had five stints with Olimpia, winning the Libertadores Cup at the first attempt in 1979, the first time a club from outside Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay had won the competition. He led them to the title again in 1990, midway through his third spell at the club. No other club from Paraguay has ever won the trophy.