One more, but not everything: the Intercontinental Cup was not Liverpool's. The tournament continued its decline – Liverpool refused to participate. It was already 5th occasion when European Champions Cup holder declined to play. Twice Ajax, twice Bayern, now Liverpool. And not only that – it was difficult to find time for the challenge. The 1977 Intercontinental Cup was not played in 1977, but stretched in 1978: the first match was played in March and the second – in August. Clearly, the Europeans lost whatever interest they had. Borussia (Moenchengladbach) replaced Liverpool and on the surface it looked like the Germans would be more determined to win, for they were short on international success. Were they really is another matter – the World Cup took place between the first and second leg of the intercontinental final. Then it was transfer period and preparation for the next season. Hardly a time to excite fans. Clearly, the Cup was near death, just one more convulsion. The South Americans were still more interested and serious – so far, no Libertadores Cup holder refused to play and Boca Juniors were no exception. Alas, they barely survived at home in Buenos Aires. Three goals were scored in the first 20 minutes, Boca opening, and then Borussia getting the lead. Eventually, Ribolzi equalized in the 51st minute. A tie, tilting the chances heavily in favour of Borussia.
Venue: Buenos Aires. Field: Boca Juniors ("La Bombonera").
March 21, 1978.
Boca Juniors (Argentina) 2-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach (West Germany)
Goals: 1-0 16' Mastrángelo.
1-1 24' Hannes.
1-2 29' Bonhof.
2-2 51' Ribolzi.
Boca Juniors:Osvaldo Norberto Santos - Francisco Pedro Manuel Sa, Miguel Ángel Bordón - Vicente Alberto Pernía, Rubén José Suñé,Roberto Mouzo - Ernesto Enrique Mastrángelo,Jorge José Benítez (46' Jorge Daniel Ribolzi),Daniel Severino Pavón (64' Carlos Alberto Álvarez),Mario Nicasio Zanabria, Carlos Horacio Salinas.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Kleff; Horst Wohlers, Wilfried Hannes, Herbert Wimmer (56' Daner),Bertie Vogts; Schäfer, Rainer Bonhof, Cristian Kulik; Calle Del'Haye, Carsten Nielsen, Ewald Lienen.
The second leg was more or less lost to the general public: on one hand, Boca Juniors was little known in Europe – it was just a big name, but the players meant nothing. The flamboyant and extravagant Hugo Gatti was just a name... Sa was remembered from his days with Independiente... Pernia was vaguely familiar... the problem was that these players were hardly ever seen by Europeans. No Argentinian national team players here – the only possibility was Alberto Tarantini, but back in march he was absolutely unknown, and in August – no longer playing for Boca Juniors. In fact, he was not Boca player even in March – entangled in contract dispute, he refused to play for the team and was practically clubless footballer. Boca Juniors was not a team to get European crowds. May be that was why the second leg was played in Karlsruhe, and not in the customary Dusseldorf, where normally Borussia played their 'home' international fixtures.
In front of Uruguayan referee Roque Cerullo captains Ruben Sune and Berti Vogts shake hands.
Karlsruhe was a disaster for the Germans – Boca destroyed them 3-0, scoring the first goal in the 2nd minute. Gatti and Simonsen, who did not play in Buenos Aires, are in the lines this time – to negative effect for Borussia. Somewhat Borussia's line-ups looked... experimental in both games.
Determination or painful struggle?
Hard to tell... looks like pain,even for scoring Argentinians.
Venue: Karlsruhe. Field: Wildpark.
August 1, 1978.
Borussia Mönchengladbach (West Germany) 0-3 Boca Juniors (Argentina)
Goals: 0-1 2' Felman.
0-2 33' Mastrángelo.
0-3 37' Salinas.
Borussia Mönchengladbach: Kneib; Ringels, Wilfried Hannes,Horst Wohlers (46' Winfried Schäfer),Berti Vogts; Carsten Nielsen, Bruns, Cristian Kulik;Allan Simonsen, Lausen (72' Ewald Lienen), Gores.
Coach: Udo Lattek.
Boca Juniors: Hugo Orlando Gatti - José Luis Tesare, José María Suárez - Vicente Alberto Pernía, Rubén José Suñé,Miguel Ángel Bordón - Ernesto Enrique Mastrángelo, Mario Nicasio Zanabria,José Luis Saldaño (46' Carlos José Veglio),Carlos Horacio Salinas, Darío Luis Felman.
Coach: Juan Carlos Lorenzo.
Referee: Roque Cerullo (Uruguay).
Unquestionable winners, who were ignored and remain almost anonymous in Europe. Curiously, they played little for the Argentine national team and therefore are mostly Boca Juniors legends. A little trivia then... Hugo Gatti is well known, of course, although rarely seen by European eye. By 1978 he was already 34 years old, starting his career in the distant 1962. 'El Loco' ('the Madman') is more than a legend in Argentina for his unorthodox playing style, his flashy and unusual kit, and his trademark bandana. And he came to Germany with his own answer to Germans: Borussia played with adds on their shirts – the keeper responded in kind: 'Gatti' was imprinted on the front of his jersey. A personal add? Let them know who was against them. Another interesting figure is the right back Vicente Alberto Pernia. Menotti left him out of the national team in favour of Olguin – some say it was because Pernia was much too vicious player; others – because the Military Junta favoured Olguin. Menotti said Pernia was out because he looked too sad – Olguin was more cheerful. Whatever the reason was, 'El Tano' ('the Italian') was a staple of this Boca vintage. But when he retired from football, he made very unusual change of career – he became professional car race driver. Good one too. His passions are divided between his sons – Leonel took car racing, but Mariano became football player. Unlike his father Mariano Pernia was not ignored by national team coaches: he was a member of Spain squad for the 2006 World Cup. Francisco Sa was probably the most ignored by the Europeans – Argentina played badly at the 1974 World Cup, so Sa did not impress anyone, but: by 1978 he had won 5 Libertadores Cups and 1 Intercontinental Cup. Now he added a second Intercontinental. It was not the end of his collection yet. How many players won that many cups? In Argentina he made his name with the great squad of Independiente, moving to Boca Juniors in 1975. Ernesto Mastrangelo was perhaps ignored not only in Europe, but in Argentina too, at least in terms of national team, but he was the leading striker of Boca. And scored 2 goals in the Borussia's net – one in each match.
May be this Boca Juniors squad deserves acknowledgment, not anonymity. There were players before Maradona after all.