Universidad Tecnica Cajamarca and Melgar both finished first in their respective groups. UTC and Melgar both finished with 27 points although the former ended the campaign with a higher goal difference. This means that the first leg will be in Cajamarca and the second will be in Arequipa. La Rojinegra only lost 1 game and that was at the very end vs Sporting Cristal. UTC lost 3 but drew less.
Melgar are currently in the Copa Libertadores’ group stages. Although last, they have more points than the other Peruvian side in the tournament (Sporting Cristal). They are the current runner ups in 2016 and were champions in 2015.
Players to watch – Melgar
For me, the best player in the league. The left winger has been a constant threat in the tournament. With his superb hold up play and dribbling, his performances will be key in this final. The Colombian has 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 appearances.
A more familiar name to other South Americans for the team. Recently signed for the season after having played at Emelec, he’s another hold up player. Uses his strength to bring the midfielders in but unlike Fernandez, he plays in the middle and not out wide. He has a good duo with Omar and is also up there for one of the best players in the league.
Nilson Loyola has been very good in left back. While poor defensively in the Libertadores, a full back at this level usually sacrifices a trait for another (attack for defence, vice versa). He’s a quick player with good dribbling and is very attack minded. In the past few years he’s been one of Melgar’s key assets and a fan favourite. That will be no different here.
Players to watch – UTC
Millan was signed from recently relegated Universidad Cesar Vallejo and is considered one of the best players in the league technically and physically. Lacks a bit of a football brain but overall has a lot of ability and on his day he is a very dangerous player.
Universitario are rumoured to want Gino after an impressive Torneo de Verano. With 4 goals and 1 assist in 10 appearances, he’s been an important player to the side and will definitely be one to watch out for.
Juan Pablo Vergara
He’s been the main playmaker for UTC this season. The main trick is to shut him down. That was done at the Monumental against Universitario and Cajamarca were very limited and looking without ideas. While aging, he has great technique and can slot a free kick or penalty in cleanly. Arguably the best player on the side and will need to be on the opposition radar as giving him a chance to play his game is risky.
One of the most reputable managers in the league. Despite criticism in international tournaments, he’s successful domestically. Having won the league with Universitario in 2009 and Melgar in 2015. He also won the Torneo Clausura with Coronel Bolognesi de Tacna in 2007. A club formerly managed by Jorge Sampaoli. His style is most comparable to Diego Simeone. He likes to score the first goal and then push back. Melgar are capable of scoring many but they will likely score early on and then sit in their own half looking for a good counter attack.
Franco Navarro (UTC)
An underrated manager. He wasn’t respected when he managed clubs in Lima. The only actual trophy he’s won was the Torneo del Inca in 2015 with Cesar Vallejo. The Torneo del Inca is the same thing as the Torneo de Verano but with a different name. His biggest achievement as a manager to date though is taking UCV to the Copa Sudamericana quarter finals in 2014. They knocked out Millonarios, Universitario de Sucre and Bahia before getting knocked out by Atletico Nacional de Medellin. Now he’s qualified for another Torneo de Verano/Torneo del Inca final and is continuing to prove he wasn’t only useful as a footballer but also as a manager.