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Classic Final Goals

Power and glory

Eusébio was instrumental in Benfica’s triumph over Real Madrid in the 1962 final – and he signed it off with an emphatic signature strike

WORDS Sheridan Bird | ILLUSTRATION Osvaldo Casanova

Eusébio’s team-mates RUSH towards him and bury him in a brotherly embrace. The 20-year-old eventually throws them off and begins flailing his arms around cathartically, before a second group of companions unleash round two of wrestling. A single figure in purple, Alfredo Di Stéfano, walks past with head bowed.  

These contrasting emotions were the result of a moment of brilliance from the Portuguese powerhouse. Midway through the second half of the 1962 European Cup final in Amsterdam, the referee awarded Benfica a free-kick close to the ‘D’ of the penalty area. Four Real Madrid players lined up in the wall as ever-influential midfielder Mário Coluna took charge of the set piece (hands on hips, displaying the kind of nonchalance that pure class affords you). 

Legend has it that Eusébio next made a polite request to his elder: “Can you pass to me so I can have a shot?” The obliging Coluna did just that. Close by, Di Stéfano realised the plan but was too slow; Benfica’s dynamic No8 sprinted forward and blasted just over the Argentine’s outstretched leg. From there the ball bounced once and, like a Shane Warne topspinner, seemed to gather pace off the turf. So much so that it went through José Araquistain’s grasp; the Real No1 couldn’t get his gloves behind it quickly enough. 

And so the ball ripped into the bottom far corner to make it 5-3 to Benfica; the force of a medieval cannon combined with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. There was insult to injury too: having crossed the line, the ball knocked the goalkeeper’s cap – which has been minding its own business in the back of the goal – into the air.

Holders Benfica, managed by Hungarian Béla Guttmann, had arrived in Amsterdam to face five-times winners Real. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, playing his maiden season in the competition, was the most eagerly awaited participant in the seventh final. Meanwhile Real’s ageing aces – Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, both 35 – had written the early history of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in capital letters.  

Real started the match like their 1950s predecessors. The Portuguese were caught in a purple haze as Madrid, in their away kit, stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskás double. Guttmann’s team composed themselves and levelled through José ‘Zé’ Aguas and Domiciano Cavem, before the Galloping Major completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes. 

Eusébio’s team-mates RUSH towards him and bury him in a brotherly embrace. The 20-year-old eventually throws them off and begins flailing his arms around cathartically, before a second group of companions unleash round two of wrestling. A single figure in purple, Alfredo Di Stéfano, walks past with head bowed.  

These contrasting emotions were the result of a moment of brilliance from the Portuguese powerhouse. Midway through the second half of the 1962 European Cup final in Amsterdam, the referee awarded Benfica a free-kick close to the ‘D’ of the penalty area. Four Real Madrid players lined up in the wall as ever-influential midfielder Mário Coluna took charge of the set piece (hands on hips, displaying the kind of nonchalance that pure class affords you). 

Legend has it that Eusébio next made a polite request to his elder: “Can you pass to me so I can have a shot?” The obliging Coluna did just that. Close by, Di Stéfano realised the plan but was too slow; Benfica’s dynamic No8 sprinted forward and blasted just over the Argentine’s outstretched leg. From there the ball bounced once and, like a Shane Warne topspinner, seemed to gather pace off the turf. So much so that it went through José Araquistain’s grasp; the Real No1 couldn’t get his gloves behind it quickly enough. 

And so the ball ripped into the bottom far corner to make it 5-3 to Benfica; the force of a medieval cannon combined with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. There was insult to injury too: having crossed the line, the ball knocked the goalkeeper’s cap – which has been minding its own business in the back of the goal – into the air.

Holders Benfica, managed by Hungarian Béla Guttmann, had arrived in Amsterdam to face five-times winners Real. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, playing his maiden season in the competition, was the most eagerly awaited participant in the seventh final. Meanwhile Real’s ageing aces – Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, both 35 – had written the early history of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in capital letters.  

Real started the match like their 1950s predecessors. The Portuguese were caught in a purple haze as Madrid, in their away kit, stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskás double. Guttmann’s team composed themselves and levelled through José ‘Zé’ Aguas and Domiciano Cavem, before the Galloping Major completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes. 

Read the full story
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Coluna restored parity five minutes after the interval. And when the Blancos began to tire, Eusébio scented blood. First he put the Reds ahead with a cool side-footed penalty; then he administered that fatal blow with 21 minutes remaining.

The addition of the devasting Mozambique-born attacker to the extraordinary team that beat Barcelona in the 1961 final was ominous for the rest of Europe. A success in junior football in his homeland, Eusébio passed through Sporting Clube Lisboa’s African feeder club Sporting Clube Lourenco Marques. But the explosive forward was a Benfica fan, and signed for them in 1960. The Eagles eased the starlet in before unleashing him not long after their 1961 European Cup success in Bern. By 1961/62, he was fully integrated into the team. 

With hindsight, Benfica were wise to milk the celebrations. They have lost five European Cup finals since: 1963, ’65, ’68, ’88 and ’90, with Eusébio playing in the trio of 1960s defeats. Some blame this continued misfortune on a curse laid by Guttmann, as a result of what he claimed was unfair treatment despite winning two European Cups in a row. Eusébio even prayed at Guttmann’s grave prior to the 1990 final, begging his former coach to break the spell. 

Eusébio’s genius was confirmed by the top scorer’s prize and a third-place medal at the 1966 World Cup. He retired in 1979 after a brief spell in US football and later worked with the Portuguese FA. When he passed away in 2014, the Portuguese government declared three days of mourning. 

That 1962 final also cemented a mutual respect between two legends. “After the match I was desperate to get Di Stéfano’s shirt; I got it, and hid it so no one could steal it from me,” said the Portuguese. And then after his death, a heartbroken Di Stéfano said, “Eusébio will always be the greatest of all time to me.”

The pinnacle of Eusébio’s European Cup career (arguably even his whole career) will always be that triumph in the Netherlands – and the thunderbolt that went with it. And if his comment years later was anything to go by, he knew it was coming even if his team-mates didn’t: “Zé Aguas was shaking with tension before the match. I wasn’t. I even told one of our staff to reassure Zé that I would score and take care of everything.”

Eusébio’s team-mates RUSH towards him and bury him in a brotherly embrace. The 20-year-old eventually throws them off and begins flailing his arms around cathartically, before a second group of companions unleash round two of wrestling. A single figure in purple, Alfredo Di Stéfano, walks past with head bowed.  

These contrasting emotions were the result of a moment of brilliance from the Portuguese powerhouse. Midway through the second half of the 1962 European Cup final in Amsterdam, the referee awarded Benfica a free-kick close to the ‘D’ of the penalty area. Four Real Madrid players lined up in the wall as ever-influential midfielder Mário Coluna took charge of the set piece (hands on hips, displaying the kind of nonchalance that pure class affords you). 

Legend has it that Eusébio next made a polite request to his elder: “Can you pass to me so I can have a shot?” The obliging Coluna did just that. Close by, Di Stéfano realised the plan but was too slow; Benfica’s dynamic No8 sprinted forward and blasted just over the Argentine’s outstretched leg. From there the ball bounced once and, like a Shane Warne topspinner, seemed to gather pace off the turf. So much so that it went through José Araquistain’s grasp; the Real No1 couldn’t get his gloves behind it quickly enough. 

And so the ball ripped into the bottom far corner to make it 5-3 to Benfica; the force of a medieval cannon combined with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. There was insult to injury too: having crossed the line, the ball knocked the goalkeeper’s cap – which has been minding its own business in the back of the goal – into the air.

Holders Benfica, managed by Hungarian Béla Guttmann, had arrived in Amsterdam to face five-times winners Real. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, playing his maiden season in the competition, was the most eagerly awaited participant in the seventh final. Meanwhile Real’s ageing aces – Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, both 35 – had written the early history of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in capital letters.  

Real started the match like their 1950s predecessors. The Portuguese were caught in a purple haze as Madrid, in their away kit, stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskás double. Guttmann’s team composed themselves and levelled through José ‘Zé’ Aguas and Domiciano Cavem, before the Galloping Major completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes. 

Power and glory
Classic Final Goals

Power and glory

Eusébio was instrumental in Benfica’s triumph over Real Madrid in the 1962 final – and he signed it off with an emphatic signature strike

WORDS Sheridan Bird | ILLUSTRATION Osvaldo Casanova

Eusébio’s team-mates RUSH towards him and bury him in a brotherly embrace. The 20-year-old eventually throws them off and begins flailing his arms around cathartically, before a second group of companions unleash round two of wrestling. A single figure in purple, Alfredo Di Stéfano, walks past with head bowed.  

These contrasting emotions were the result of a moment of brilliance from the Portuguese powerhouse. Midway through the second half of the 1962 European Cup final in Amsterdam, the referee awarded Benfica a free-kick close to the ‘D’ of the penalty area. Four Real Madrid players lined up in the wall as ever-influential midfielder Mário Coluna took charge of the set piece (hands on hips, displaying the kind of nonchalance that pure class affords you). 

Legend has it that Eusébio next made a polite request to his elder: “Can you pass to me so I can have a shot?” The obliging Coluna did just that. Close by, Di Stéfano realised the plan but was too slow; Benfica’s dynamic No8 sprinted forward and blasted just over the Argentine’s outstretched leg. From there the ball bounced once and, like a Shane Warne topspinner, seemed to gather pace off the turf. So much so that it went through José Araquistain’s grasp; the Real No1 couldn’t get his gloves behind it quickly enough. 

And so the ball ripped into the bottom far corner to make it 5-3 to Benfica; the force of a medieval cannon combined with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. There was insult to injury too: having crossed the line, the ball knocked the goalkeeper’s cap – which has been minding its own business in the back of the goal – into the air.

Holders Benfica, managed by Hungarian Béla Guttmann, had arrived in Amsterdam to face five-times winners Real. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, playing his maiden season in the competition, was the most eagerly awaited participant in the seventh final. Meanwhile Real’s ageing aces – Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, both 35 – had written the early history of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in capital letters.  

Real started the match like their 1950s predecessors. The Portuguese were caught in a purple haze as Madrid, in their away kit, stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskás double. Guttmann’s team composed themselves and levelled through José ‘Zé’ Aguas and Domiciano Cavem, before the Galloping Major completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes. 

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Eusébio’s team-mates RUSH towards him and bury him in a brotherly embrace. The 20-year-old eventually throws them off and begins flailing his arms around cathartically, before a second group of companions unleash round two of wrestling. A single figure in purple, Alfredo Di Stéfano, walks past with head bowed.  

These contrasting emotions were the result of a moment of brilliance from the Portuguese powerhouse. Midway through the second half of the 1962 European Cup final in Amsterdam, the referee awarded Benfica a free-kick close to the ‘D’ of the penalty area. Four Real Madrid players lined up in the wall as ever-influential midfielder Mário Coluna took charge of the set piece (hands on hips, displaying the kind of nonchalance that pure class affords you). 

Legend has it that Eusébio next made a polite request to his elder: “Can you pass to me so I can have a shot?” The obliging Coluna did just that. Close by, Di Stéfano realised the plan but was too slow; Benfica’s dynamic No8 sprinted forward and blasted just over the Argentine’s outstretched leg. From there the ball bounced once and, like a Shane Warne topspinner, seemed to gather pace off the turf. So much so that it went through José Araquistain’s grasp; the Real No1 couldn’t get his gloves behind it quickly enough. 

And so the ball ripped into the bottom far corner to make it 5-3 to Benfica; the force of a medieval cannon combined with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. There was insult to injury too: having crossed the line, the ball knocked the goalkeeper’s cap – which has been minding its own business in the back of the goal – into the air.

Holders Benfica, managed by Hungarian Béla Guttmann, had arrived in Amsterdam to face five-times winners Real. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, playing his maiden season in the competition, was the most eagerly awaited participant in the seventh final. Meanwhile Real’s ageing aces – Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, both 35 – had written the early history of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in capital letters.  

Real started the match like their 1950s predecessors. The Portuguese were caught in a purple haze as Madrid, in their away kit, stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskás double. Guttmann’s team composed themselves and levelled through José ‘Zé’ Aguas and Domiciano Cavem, before the Galloping Major completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Coluna restored parity five minutes after the interval. And when the Blancos began to tire, Eusébio scented blood. First he put the Reds ahead with a cool side-footed penalty; then he administered that fatal blow with 21 minutes remaining.

The addition of the devasting Mozambique-born attacker to the extraordinary team that beat Barcelona in the 1961 final was ominous for the rest of Europe. A success in junior football in his homeland, Eusébio passed through Sporting Clube Lisboa’s African feeder club Sporting Clube Lourenco Marques. But the explosive forward was a Benfica fan, and signed for them in 1960. The Eagles eased the starlet in before unleashing him not long after their 1961 European Cup success in Bern. By 1961/62, he was fully integrated into the team. 

With hindsight, Benfica were wise to milk the celebrations. They have lost five European Cup finals since: 1963, ’65, ’68, ’88 and ’90, with Eusébio playing in the trio of 1960s defeats. Some blame this continued misfortune on a curse laid by Guttmann, as a result of what he claimed was unfair treatment despite winning two European Cups in a row. Eusébio even prayed at Guttmann’s grave prior to the 1990 final, begging his former coach to break the spell. 

Eusébio’s genius was confirmed by the top scorer’s prize and a third-place medal at the 1966 World Cup. He retired in 1979 after a brief spell in US football and later worked with the Portuguese FA. When he passed away in 2014, the Portuguese government declared three days of mourning. 

That 1962 final also cemented a mutual respect between two legends. “After the match I was desperate to get Di Stéfano’s shirt; I got it, and hid it so no one could steal it from me,” said the Portuguese. And then after his death, a heartbroken Di Stéfano said, “Eusébio will always be the greatest of all time to me.”

The pinnacle of Eusébio’s European Cup career (arguably even his whole career) will always be that triumph in the Netherlands – and the thunderbolt that went with it. And if his comment years later was anything to go by, he knew it was coming even if his team-mates didn’t: “Zé Aguas was shaking with tension before the match. I wasn’t. I even told one of our staff to reassure Zé that I would score and take care of everything.”

Eusébio’s team-mates RUSH towards him and bury him in a brotherly embrace. The 20-year-old eventually throws them off and begins flailing his arms around cathartically, before a second group of companions unleash round two of wrestling. A single figure in purple, Alfredo Di Stéfano, walks past with head bowed.  

These contrasting emotions were the result of a moment of brilliance from the Portuguese powerhouse. Midway through the second half of the 1962 European Cup final in Amsterdam, the referee awarded Benfica a free-kick close to the ‘D’ of the penalty area. Four Real Madrid players lined up in the wall as ever-influential midfielder Mário Coluna took charge of the set piece (hands on hips, displaying the kind of nonchalance that pure class affords you). 

Legend has it that Eusébio next made a polite request to his elder: “Can you pass to me so I can have a shot?” The obliging Coluna did just that. Close by, Di Stéfano realised the plan but was too slow; Benfica’s dynamic No8 sprinted forward and blasted just over the Argentine’s outstretched leg. From there the ball bounced once and, like a Shane Warne topspinner, seemed to gather pace off the turf. So much so that it went through José Araquistain’s grasp; the Real No1 couldn’t get his gloves behind it quickly enough. 

And so the ball ripped into the bottom far corner to make it 5-3 to Benfica; the force of a medieval cannon combined with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. There was insult to injury too: having crossed the line, the ball knocked the goalkeeper’s cap – which has been minding its own business in the back of the goal – into the air.

Holders Benfica, managed by Hungarian Béla Guttmann, had arrived in Amsterdam to face five-times winners Real. Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, playing his maiden season in the competition, was the most eagerly awaited participant in the seventh final. Meanwhile Real’s ageing aces – Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás, both 35 – had written the early history of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in capital letters.  

Real started the match like their 1950s predecessors. The Portuguese were caught in a purple haze as Madrid, in their away kit, stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Puskás double. Guttmann’s team composed themselves and levelled through José ‘Zé’ Aguas and Domiciano Cavem, before the Galloping Major completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes. 

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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