When Santos Played Boca

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Stephen Brandt

In the 1960’s Santos of Brazil were a great club world wide, and part of that was due to the many great players they had. They had great players like Zito, Pepe, Coutinho, and some guy named Pele. They generally played in a 4-3-3, under manager Lula. Pele, is a world icon, and in the top five all time of greatest players in the world. Part of his aura, and ascension into being one of the greats was that he made Santos a great club. By the time he retired the first time, they had become champions of South America twice, and World Champions twice beating Benfica in 1962, and AC Milan.

As mentioned this wasn’t a one man show, Zito and Gilmar along with Pepe helped power the club. In 1962 they ran up against a strong Benfica side with the great Santana and Eusebio.  Benfica were coming off their European Cup win, and Santos was coming off their 1962 Copa Libertadores win. These were two very high scoring clubs, and the final didn’t disappoint. Santos won the two legged affair 8-4, with Pele scoring five goals in two matches. The 1962 European Final is known as the Curse of Bela Guttman, reportedly he’d tell them they’d not win Europe in a hundred years would the club win Europe.

Likewise in the 1960’s, Boca Juniors was just making it’s name in South America. They made it into the 1963 edition, by winning the Argentine league the year before. Some of the best players were also on the Boca side with Antonio Rattin, Jose Sanfilippo, and future Sao Paulo player Paulo Vanlentim. Four of the five top scorers in the tournament were in this match, Valentim, Sanfilippo, Pele and Coutinho.

That’s why the two legged affair was so high scoring, at 5-3 in Santos’ favor. Pele, didn’t even account for half the goals in the matches, like he usually would. That distinction went to Coutinho who had three out of the five goals with Pele and Lima netting the other two. Sanfilippo had the three goals for Boca, even scoring one in La Bombonera in the final leg of the final in the 46th minute in a 2-1 loss to seal the cup for Santos. Boca would go onto eventually win six Copa Libertadores, including back to back in 1977, 1978 and 2000, and 2001.

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