MILAN - If 22 May is the date all Inter fans associate with the unforgettable Treble in 2010, 27 May will also forever remain a blessed day. In the space of just two years, Inter won back-to-back European Cups on 27 May: in 1964 against Real Madrid and in 1965 against Benfica.
27 May 1964
A Real Madrid of Di Stéfano, Puskás and Gento. A side who had won five European Cups. But while it was hard to think that Inter might cause an upset, it was by no means impossible for the wizard Herrera’s side. Vienna, the Praterstadion. Inter deployed Tagnin to man-mark Di Stéfano, in an effort to cancel out the danger he caused. Giuliano Sarti was set to play between the sticks, but he took a painful blow in the warm-up. Bugatti was ready to step up in his place, but our No.1 gritted his teeth and played a perfect game.
Supreme defensive focus and a readiness to play on the break: those were the weapons selected by HH. And the Nerazzurri counterattacks were carried out by true champions. Our opening goal came on the stroke of half-time, with a right-footed longshot from Mazzola: explosive, stunning, beautiful. Inter were forced to soak up plenty of pressure in the second half, but succeeded in holding the fort thanks to our giant captain Picchi. Milani’s goal to make it two came in the 60th minute as he tucked it into the bottom corner with his right, before Felo’s acrobatic effort to make it 2-1. The woodwork, goal line clearances from Picchi and plenty of heart helped Inter keep Los Blancos at bay, all the way until Mazzola’s goal to secure the win. A historic brace to help win the Nerazzurri’s first-ever European Cup, with Angelo Moratti as President.
27 May 1965
One year after the final in Vienna and fresh off the back of an incredible comeback against Liverpool, Herrera’s Nerazzurri were up against Eusebio’s Benfica at San Siro. There were two changes to our starting eleven compared the year before: Bedin in for Tagnin with a similar task yet again, not letting Eusebio out of his sight. Meanwhile, Peirò had come in for Milani. Despite the rain-soaked pitch, Eusebio seemed unstoppable and brought some miraculous saves out of Sarti. Then the breakthrough in the 42nd minute: a long ball from Facchetti, some great interplay between Mazzola and Corso, and a through ball to the onrushing Jair, who fizzed it low at goal with his right. The water, the mud, the tension. Costa Pereira, Benfica’s keeper, went to scoop it up but it slipped right through him, going through his legs and into the net for 1-0. Mazzola had the chance to make the knockout blow in the second half, but was kept out by a mixture of Pereira and the post. Benfica then went down to ten men: Pereira had hurt himself in making that save, and with no substitutes at the time, his teammate Germano was forced to go in goal. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Benfica came close to a leveller, but Sarti was once again decisive. At the final whistle, Inter remained on top of Europe, lifting the trophy for the second year in a row.
EUROPEAN CUP FINAL 1963/64
INTER 3-1 REAL MADRID, 27 May 1964 - Vienna, Praterstadion
INTER: Sarti, Burgnich, Facchetti, Tagnin, Guarneri, Picchi, Jair, Mazzola, Milani, Suarez, Corso.
Coach: Helenio Herrera.
REAL MADRID: Vicente, Isidro, Pachin, Müller, Santamaría, Zoco, Amancio, Felo, Di Stéfano, Puskás, Gento.
Coach: Miguel Muñoz.
Referee: Josef Stoll (Austria)
Scorers: 43' Mazzola (I), 60' Milani (I), 70' Felo (RM), 76' Mazzola (I).
EUROPEAN CUP FINAL 1964/65
INTER 1-0 BENFICA, 27 May 1965 - Milan, Stadio San Siro
INTER: Sarti, Burgnich, Facchetti, Bedin, Guarneri, Picchi, Jair, Mazzola, Peirò, Suarez, Corso.
Coach: Helenio Herrera.
BENFICA: Costa, Pereira, Cavém, Cruz, Germano, Raul, Neto, Coluna, José Augusto, Torres, Eusébio, Simões.
Coach: Elek Schwartz.
Referee: Dienst (Switzerland).
Scorer: 42' Jair.