|Full name||Club Atlético Grau|
(Grau Athletic Club)
|Nickname(s)||Los Blancos, Los Albos|
|Founded||June 5, 1919|
|Ground||Estadio Miguel Grau, |
|Chairman||Percy Ordinola Vieyra|
|2020||Liga 1, 19th (relegated)|
The club was founded on June 5, 1919 as Club Miguel Grau by Guillermo Herrera on Calle Tacna in Piura; next to the home where Peruvian war hero Miguel Grau Seminario was born. The club was one of the founders of the first provincial league in the region, Liga Provincial de Fútbol de Piura in 1922 in which it played until 1965. One of its most important achievements was to contribute nine players to the gold-medal Peru national football team that competed at the 1961 Bolivarian Games football tournament.
Early First Division SpellsEdit
In 1966, the Peruvian Football Federation decided to decentralize the national tournament by inviting and allowing teams from outside Lima and Callao to play in the tournament. The four invited teams were Melgar, Alfonso Ugarte de Chiclín, Octavio Espinosa, and Atlético Grau. The club's debut was against Alianza Lima who it defeated by 1–0. That year's coach was Ladislao Padosky. Out of the four invitees only Atlético Grau was saved from relegation that year. The team would remain in the highest flight of Peruvian football until 1970.
Atlético Grau was relegated to the Copa Perú that year which it would win in 1972 after defeating Deportivo Carsa, Cienciano, León de Huánuco, Deportivo Junín, and Cultural Juanjuí in La Finalísima, or Final Group Stage, and thus ascend to the Torneo Descentralizado once more alongside León de Huánuco. The 1972 squad was coached by Guillermo Quineche Gil and included Rolando Jiménez, Jorge Albán, Julio Miranda, Julio Ceballos, Manuel Mora, Javier Márquez, Manuel "Meleque" Suárez, Toribio Peña del Rosario, Marcos Murguía, José "Quimbo" Córdova and Reynaldo Rojas. This was Atlético Grau's only national title until the 2019 Copa Bicentenario. The team would remain in the first division for four years completing descent mid-table performances by finishing 7th in 1972, 11th in 1973, 15th in 1974, before being relegated in 1975 after finishing last in 18th place with only 22 points.
Atlético Grau reached the Final Group Stage a second time in 1982 where it finished 2nd behind its fellow Piura Region team Atlético Torino by a goal difference of 3. Atlético Grau returned for its third and longest first division spell in 1986 by invitation during the Regional Leagues era of Peruvian football that saw up to 40 teams compete in the highest division at its peak. The teams were divided into regional tournaments where the highest placed teams would qualify to the national stage which was played by 16 teams. The only two memorable campaigns would be its first in 1986 where the club reached the main national tournament and finished third in its group as well as the final campaign in 1991 where it ended up being relegated to the 1992 Torneo Zonal.
21st Century Copa Perú CampaignsEdit
Since then, Grau reached the National Stage of the Copa Perú multiple times during the 21st century. It reached the semi-finals, and quarter-finals in 2000 and 2001 respectively. It would reach the finals in 2002 for the first time during the bracket tournament format against Atlético Universidad from Arequipa with whom it tied 1–1 at home and lost 2–4 away. It would also reach the Round of 16 twice in 2010 and 2011 without being able to advance any further. In the 2011 Torneo Intermedio, the club was eliminated by Universidad César Vallejo in the Round of 16.
In 2004, Atlético Grau fused with 2000 Copa Perú champion Estudiantes de Medicina from Ica due to that club's financial instability. During the merge the club was known as Grau-Estudiantes and played with the colors of Atlético Grau. The new team was not recognize as valid by a majority of the club's voting members who fielded an alternative Atlético Grau team in the Copa Perú that same year. The merge only lasted for the first half of the 2004 Torneo Descentralizado season as the Peruvian Football Federation did not recognize the merge as legal. Curiously, Estudiantes de Medicina kept the same kit for the last half of the tournament after the merge was over and during which it was relegated.
Los Albos participated in the Liga Superior de Piura from its creation in 2009 until 2016 during which it was that league's champion four times. The Ligas Superiores were an effort by the Peruvian Football Federation to create a group of elite teams from every region of the country and thus elevate the quality of amateur football.
The 2017 Copa Perú campaign would see Grau become runner-up for the third time in the club's history. The team finished first in its group with 15 points during the first stage of the Departamental Stage. It then would go on to beat regional rivals such as Sport Ingeniero, Sport Chorrillos, Atlético Torino, and Asociación Torino to become the Departamental Champion and thus qualify once more for the National Stage for the first time under its current format. Atlético Grau then finished first out of fifty teams in the country in the league table with 16 points, 19 goals scored, and only 3 goals against. It would then beat Carlos Stein in the Round of 16 by a global score of 3–2. The toughest game of the season came in the quarter-finals against Club José María Arguedas to whom it lost 0–4 in the first leg only to beat it 4–0 with a goal in the final minutes of the game to advance to La Finalísima because of a better ranking in the League Table.
Once in the Final Group Stage it beat Estudiantil CNI by 2–0. Then it would tie 0–0 against the eventual champion Escuela Municipal Binacional. Thus for the third and final match Atlético Grau saw itself forced to win by as many goals as possible as to remain first on the table with a better goal difference. It won its last game against José Carlos Mariátegui 3–2, which was not enough as Escuela Municipal Binacional defeated Estudiantil CNI 2–0 and thus won the championship by a better goal difference. In the end Grau finished second and became the Peruvian club with the most runner-up campaigns in the history of the Copa Perú as well as winning a berth in the Peruvian Segunda División.
Second Division SpellEdit
The 2018 season was Grau's first season in the second division of Peruvian soccer where it faced another six teams from the north of the country. Club leaders seemed hesitant to participate in the competition but later confirmed the club's participation. The team finished in 8th initially missing out of the Liguilla stage of the tournament which would decide the season championship. Just before the beginning of the Liguilla, Deportivo Hualgayoc was set aside by the tournament organizers for outstanding debts to its squad. Thus, Atlético Grau was invited to participate. It faced Carlos A. Mannucci in the quarter-final drawing 1–1 at home and losing 5–2 in Trujillo.
In 2019, Atlético Grau completed their best campaign to date in the Peruvian Segunda División (now called Liga 2). The club finished 4th, three points behind the champion, with an undefeated run at home. It qualified once again for the Liguilla that would decided the teams to participate in the 2019 Peruvian promotion play-offs. In the first round, Grau defeated Comerciantes Unidos by a score of 3–2 away and 0–3 at home. It then defeated the tournament's favorite Juan Aurich by 4–1 at home and 0–2 on the road for a total score of 4–3 and thus qualified to the promotion play-offs.
In the play-offs they faced Deportivo Coopsol, Chavelines Juniors, and Deportivo Llacuabamba. It defeated Deportivo Coopsol by 2–0 with goals from Ronal Huaccha and Steven Aponzá. It then obtained scoreless draws against its next two rivals. Their last game was controversial as a scoreless draw would qualify both Grau and their rival Deportivo Llacuabamba which could have been avoided if both matchday games had been played simultaneously. Regardless, Atlético Grau finished first in the play-offs and was promoted to the top tier of Peruvian football for the first time in 29 years.
2019 Copa Bicentenario ChampionshipEdit
A new domestic cup competition was created in 2019 after the Peruvian Football Federation took control of the national domestic tournaments. All 30 professional teams from the first two divisions participated in the first edition of the Copa Bicentenario. Atlético Grau played in Group A with Sporting Cristal, Universidad César Vallejo, and Alianza Atlético. The club finished second behind Sporting Cristal with 4 points. In the round of 16 it defeated Universidad Técnica de Cajamarca in penalties by 7–6 after a 2–2 draw. In the quarterfinal it faced their former groupmate Sporting Cristal in penalties once again by 5–3 after 1–1 draw in regular time. In the semifinals it faced Deportivo Coopsol, guaranteeing the presence of at least one Liga 2 team in the final, whom it defeated by a combined score of 7–2 after two legs. In the final it faced Sport Huancayo at Estadio Miguel Grau in a scoreless draw after extra time. The championship was thus decided in penalties which Grau won by 4–3. This was Atlético Grau's first professional title and its second national title since the 1972 Copa Perú. The team also qualified for its first international tournament, the 2020 Copa Sudamericana, where it will face Uruguayan club Atlético River Plate.
- Winners (1): 1969
- Winners (1): 2019
- Winners (1): 2019
- Winners (1): 2020
- Winners (13): 1971, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2016, 2017
- Runner-up (3): 1979, 2013, 2014
- Winners (5): 1979, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008
- Runner-up (2): 2005, 2017
- Winners (13): 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1971, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2017
- Runner-up (1): 2005
Performance in CONMEBOL competitionsEdit
- Copa Sudamericana: 1 appearance
- 2020: First Stage
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- Media related to Atlético Grau at Wikimedia Commons