Thursday, May 15, 2014

The curse lives

In 1961 and 1962 the legendary Hungarian coach Bela Guttmann led Benfica to two European Cup triumphs. Following the second victory, over Real Madrid, he left the club in a dispute over salary. When leaving he said that Benfica would not win a European title in one hundred years. Since then, Benfica have lost European finals in 1963 (AC Milan), 1965 (Inter), 1968 (Manchester United), 1983 (Anderlecht), 1988 (PSV Eindhoven), 1990 (AC Milan) and 2013 (Chelsea). Tonight was their eighth try as they entered the Europa League final against Sevilla.
It was a very tactical game, but Benfica surely had the best chances to score during the match, but continuously hit a wall of Sevilla players and the goalkeeper Beto. In the end it all went to penalty kicks, and this is where the curse may really have kicked in: Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo looked more like little children with very weak penalty kicks that Beto easily saved. It was enough to give Sevilla a 4-2 victory.
Everyone cried: Benfica fans in desperation and Sevilla fans of joy.
The late Eusebio, who was brought to Benfica by Bela Guttmann, famously prayed at Bela Guttmann's grave to lift the curse, but this has not happened. The curse lives on, and maybe Benfica will have to wait to 2062 before they can win a European title again...

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