In order of playing for the Intercontinental Cup, Boca Juniors had to win Libertadores Cup, of course. This they did in September 1977. The Libertadores final fluctuated widely – from April to October so far – and the uncertain dates year after year affected negatively the Intercontinental Cup: it was difficult to arrange dates, when European season was in full force. Apparently, it was difficult to fix dates in South America too – with different season order, domestic seasons were right in the middle exactly when Libertadores final should have been played - the conflicting interests of the clubs probably prevented fixing a date. And the final was two-leg, unlike the European one decisive match played on neutral stadium. Travel was difficult in the middle of home season. But it was not two games either – so far, 10 out of 17 Libertadores finals needed a third match to decide the winner. The rules required at least a win and a tie, for away goals and aggregate goal difference did not count. It was already becoming a tradition three matches to be played – since 1970 there was no two-leg winner. 1977 did not break the tradition. Cruzeiro, the winners in 1976, reached the final, hoping for a second Libertadores Cup. Once again their opposition was Argentine, although Boca Juniors, not River Plate as in 1976. Argentinian clubs were the other tradition of Libertadores finals: an Argentine club was finalist every year since 1963. Back then it was Boca Juniors, the first Argentine club reaching the final. They lost to mighty Santos with Pele and did not reappear again until 1977. For all the fame of Brazilian football, Brazilians did not rule Libertadores – it was the Argentines. And among them, it was not the famous River Plate and Boca Juniors – so far they lost their finals, River Plate twice and Boca Juniors once. Now Boca had a new chance. Expectations, hype... little drifted to Europe. Veglio scored in the 3rd minute the lone goal at La Bonbonera and Boca Juniors won the opening leg.
Boca Juniors - Cruzeiro 1-0
3' Veglio 1-0
Boca Juniors: Gatti, Pernía, Sá (Tesare), Mouzo, Tarantini, Veglio, Suñé,
Zanabria, Mastrángelo, Pavón (Bernabitti), Felman.
Cruzeiro: Raúl, Nelinho, Darcy Menezes, Morais, Vanderley, Zé Carlos, Eduardo,
Ely Carlos, Ely Mendes, Neca, Joãozinho.
Referee: Cerullo (Uruguay)
Five days later Nelinho scored the only goal in Belo Horizonte and Cruzeiro won. This time it was quite a late goal – scored in the 76th minute.
2nd leg. Estadio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, 11- 9-1977
Cruzeiro - Boca Juniors 1-0
76' Nelinho 1-0
Cruzeiro: Raúl, Nelinho, Morais, Darcy Menezes, Vanderley, Zé Carlos, Eduardo,
Ely Carlos (Livio), Ely Mendes, Neca, Joãozinho.
Boca Juniors: Gatti, Pernía, Tesare, Mouzo, Tarantini, Ribolzi, Suñé,
Zanabria, Mastrángelo, Veglio (Pavón), Felman (Ortiz).
Referee: Orozco (Peru)
Once again – a third match, played at neutral stadium – in Montevideo, Uruguay. Estadio Centenario – what a legendary place! The stadium built for the first World Cup in 1930. Was it the spirit of the stadium? Copa Libertadores reached new level of impasse – a scoreless tie. First time there was winner after three matches. Now what? A forth? Or innovation? South America inaugurated penalty shoot-out this year. Boca Juniors prevailed 5-4.
Play-off. Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, 14- 9-1977
Boca Juniors - Cruzeiro 0-0 aet 5-4 pen
Boca Juniors: Gatti, Pernía, Tesare, Mouzo, Tarantini, J.J. Benitez (Ribolzi (Pavón)),Suñé, Zanabria, Mastrángelo, Veglio, Felman.
Cruzeiro: Raúl, Nelinho (Mariano), Morais, Darcy Menezes, Vanderley, Zé Carlos,
Eduardo, Ely Carlos (Livio), Ely Mendes, Neca, Joãozinho.
Referee: Llobregat (Venezuela)
Scored penalties: Boca: Mouzo, Tesare, Zanabria, Pernía, Felman.
Cruzeiro: Darcy Menezes, Neca, Morais, Livio.
Missed penalty: Cruzeiro: Vanderley.
Perhaps the coach of Boca Juniors deserves some words here: