Partidazo: AC Milan 0-2 Velez Sarsfiled, Copa Intercontinental 1994



In 1994 Argentine club Vélez Sársfield became one of the most unlikely Copa Libertadores champions ever when they beat Brazilian side São Paulo on penalties in the final. They qualified for the competition after winning their first league title since 1968 but under manager Carlos Bianchi they won the South American championship winning three penalty shoot-outs in the knock-out stages.

That win qualified them to play the Copa Intercontinental in Tokyo against the then best team in Europe AC Milan. Reading back through the Milan line-up in that game it is easy to see why they were considered overwhelming favourites against the virtually unknown Vélez side.

The starting team for Milan was Rossi, Tasotti, Maldini, Albertini, Costacurta, Donadoni, Desailly, Boban, Massaro and Savićević with Paulo Di Canio (a man so right wing that he couldn't even get along with Silvio Berlusconi) on the bench and one Fabio Capello as manager.

The Vélez lineup by contrast is full of unfamiliar names, European fans knew little about eccentric Paraguayan goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert as Paraguay hadn't qualified for the 1990 or 1994 World Cups, mainstream coverage of South American football in the UK was even worse than it is now and there was no Youtube.

Vélez Sársfield won the game 2-0, it was not the most thrilling or enthralling game but it was almost certainly the biggest shock in the history of the Intercontinental Cup.

Aftermath

Most football fans should be reasonably familiar with the careers of Fabio Capello, Paulo Maldini, Marcel Desailly, Alessandro Costacurta, Zvonimir Boban and the rest of the star studded AC Milan lineup that day. I am going to take a look at what happened to the Vélez Sársfield squad.

Carlos Bianchi (Manager): Joined Argentine giants Boca Juniors and led them during the most successful period in their history, winning 3 more Copa Libertadores titles to become the most successful manager in the history of the competition. He won 4 league titles with Boca to add to the 3 he won with Vélez, he also led Boca Juniors to 2 further Intercontinental Cup titles, making him the most successful manager in the history of the tournament and the only manager to win it with two different clubs. Remarkably for a man with such an impressive list of achievements he has not worked as a head coach since he left Spanish side Atlético Madrid in 2006.

José Luis Chilavert (Goalkeeper): Was the last of the side to leave Vélez in 2001 and he returned for a final hurrah in 2004. He eventually played in a World Cup when Paraguay qualified for France 1998 and is still the 2nd highest scoring goalkeeper in the history of football.

Roberto Trotta (Defender): Scorer of Vélez Sársfield's penalty in the game. On the back of his success he won three caps for the Argentina national team in 1995 and a move to Italian side Roma in 1996. He didn't settle in Italian football and returned to Argentina. He won two more league titles with River Plate in 1999 and 2000 before seeing out his career with teams in Mexico, Ecuador and Argentina. Since retiring as a player he has worked as a manager in the Argentine 2nd division.

Raúl Cardozo (Defender): Made well over 400 appearances for Vélez in his 13 years at the club. He eventually left in 1999 to join Newell's Old Boys. In 2002 he won his second Copa Libertadores medal as an underdog, this time with Paraguayan side Olimpia.

Héctor Almandoz (Defender): One of the first to leave in 1995 to join Estudiantes de La Plata, spent the rest of his career as an international journeyman footballer, playing for 16 teams in 8 different countries during the course of his career. Retired in 2007.

Víctor Sotomayor (Defender): Remained with Vélez until 1999 when he joined Talleres de Córdoba. He was part of the Talleres team that won the Copa CONMEBOL in 1999 to become the first team from outside the 3 powerbases of Argentine club football (Buenos Aires, La Plata and Rosario) ever to win anything major. Retired 2002.

Marcelo Gómez (Midfielder): Left Vélez in 1997 to play for River Plate. He also tried his luck in Saudi Arabia with Al-Hilal in 2001 and ended his career playing in Costa Rica in 2004.

Christian Bassedas (Midfielder): Won 22 caps with the Argentina national team between 1995 and 1999. He is probably the best known of the Vélez starting line-up in the UK having left Vélez to join Newcastle United in 2000. He retired in 2003.

Roberto Pompei (Midfielder):  Left in 1995 to join Racing Club, also had spells with Boca Juniors, Estudiantes, Chacarita Juniors, Huracán and Real Oviedo of Spain. He was the last of the team to retire in 2008 after which he became the youth coach at Boca Juniors, he is currently in his second stint as interim first team Boca Juniors manager after the resignation of Claudio Borghi.

José Basualdo (Midfielder): The most famous and  most capped Argentine player out of this team with 35 appearances for his country including games at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. Left in 1996 to join Bianchi at Boca Juniors where he won another Copa Libertadores and Intercontinetal Cup in 2000. He also played for Extremadura and Real Jaen in Spain as well as several other clubs in Argentina. Returned to Vélez in 2001, retired in 2003.

Omar Asad (Striker): The man of the match and scorer of the 2nd goal. Played his entire career for Vélez between 1992 and 2000. Took up coaching after retirement and worked as a youth coach with Vélez until 2009 when he was given the opportunity to manage Godoy Cruz. Has just led them to their first ever qualification to the Copa Libertadores in 2011.

José Flores (Striker): A very popular player, left Vélez in 1996 to play in Spain. After 2 seasons with Las Palmas he joined Deportivo La Coruña where he was part of the team that won their first ever Spanish league title in 1999-00. He also played for Valladolid, Mallorca and Murcia before returning to Argentina. His last major club was Independiente in 2004-05, he saw out his career in the Argentine 2nd division with Aldosivi and had a disastrous spell on Norway with Lynn Oslo in 2007. He is currently assistant manager back at Velez.

Substitutes: Sandro Guzman was the goalkeeper that was sent off from the bench joined Bianchi at Boca in 1996 before disappearing into obscurity. Flavio Zandonda remained with the club until his retirement in 2000. Chilean striker José Sanchez was the only foreigner in the team other than Chilavert, he left in 1997 and continued his career in Chile, Spain and Italy, retired in 2002. Marcelo Herrera left in 1997, played in the MLS for Miami Fusion as well as a number of lesser Argentine team, has worked as a manager in Costa Rica and Bolivia since his retirement in 2001. Mauricio Pellegrino left in 1998 to join Barcelona and was part of the Valencia team that won the Spanish league in 2001-02 and 2003-04. Played for Liverpool under Rafa Benitez then became his assistant at Anfield. Currently works as Rafa's assistant at Inter Milan.

For more great games involving South American teams, check out the rest of the Partidazo series.

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