MILAN – The images might be blurry, but it’s a moment which is etched in the minds of all Interisti. Because it was astute, it was cunning. It was a matter of perfect timing. Lawrence, the Liverpool goalkeeper, was stalling for time: with the Nerazzurri leading 1-0 at San Siro, he wanted the Reds to maintain their advantage after their 3-1 first-leg victory. He was bouncing the ball in front of him. Once, twice. But not for a third time, because in came Peiró, who stole it with his left and finished with his right. 2-0 to Inter. Giacinto Facchetti then made it 3-0 as the Nerazzurri sealed qualification to the final of the European Cup.
It was a goal which came to be associated with Joaquím, with similar finishes being referred to as ‘gol alla Peiró’. The Spaniard from Madrid arrived from Torino to become part of Herrera’s Grande Inter side. Sarti, Burgnich, Facchetti, Bedin, Guarnieri, Picchi, Jair, Mazzola, Peiró, Suarez, Corso. A team like no other that had come become before it. Just before conceding one of the strangest goals in football history, Lawrence had come out to collect the ball, barging into Peiró with his shoulder in the process. Lifting himself from the ground, the Spaniard then had his cunning idea. Defeated and on the cusp of falling, resistance, recovery, ingenuity, determination and ultimately victory followed. Peiró’s goal is perhaps very much a reflection of Inter.
He was quick and had great technical ability. He was capable of finding the net too: in the 1965 European Cup, he scored on three occasions. Two of these came against Rangers at the quarter-final stage, and then there was the goal against Liverpool at San Siro. Not even his teammates expected him to do what he did. It came of a surprise to everyone, starting from the Reds’ goalkeeper and including all of the English team’s outfield players, who surrounded the referee in protest. This was in stark contrast to Peiró, who wheeled away in celebration with his teammates following close behind.
Beyond a being a memorable goal in the Nerazzurri’s history, it was a decisive one in the team’s march to a second consecutive European Cup success. 15 days later, in the mud and rain at San Siro, Jair let fly. The ball squirmed under Benfica goalkeeper Costa Pereira and crossed the line. Inter became European champions for the second time.
During his career, Peiró also played for Real Murcia, Atletico Madrid, Torino, Inter and Roma. But it was that unique goal which permanently tied him to the Nerazzurri. And it’s a bond which has never been broken: along with Suarez, the figure of Joaquím can be found in the Spain Room at the new Inter HQ.
With his socks rolled down and a glint in his eye, we’ll always remember that moment when he fired the ball into an empty net at San Siro. Ciao Joaquím, and thank you for everything!