May 31, 2023

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The Day Bocchini Defeated General Menendez | Letters of Capt

“El Partido Rojo” is the name of a book written by journalist Claudio Gómez and published in 2017 on the 40th anniversary of a football match that made history.

On that day, January 25, 1978, Independiente defeated Dolares in the final for the national championship, which was played in the Córdoba of General Menendez, the genocidal owner of life and death in those terrible times.

“Argentine football’s greatest achievement amid a bloody dictatorship” is the subtitle of Gomez’s book, to which Juan José Panno devoted an article in this newspaper on August 27, 2018.

Now, on the 45th anniversary of that legendary party, on January 30 of that year, I find the letter sent by my father, Captain Sorani, to the Magdalena prison where I was detained for political reasons.

My old man, a lover of football and an ardent fan of the river, could not hide the admiration that the reaction of the Independiente had created in him when the night came, losing 2 to 1. The surprised general and, above all, the impotence of Menendez, yearned for the championship to Talleres, thus the candidacy of the president of the Cordovan club and his candidate, Amadeo Nucciatelli. Promoted and led the AFA.

In that letter I can recall the triumph that so thrilled Captain Sorani:

“Dear Son:

Glory to the Avelaneda Shivas!

For the first time in its history, Córdoba gave everything for the victory of the people, the local started with full strength, but then the red players tied the game and the first half ended with a title of Independiente 1 Dalleres 0. target.

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Dulles’ motivation went to hell in the second half when Independiente were controlling the game when a low-danger ball accidentally hit Bagnanini, the referee awarded a penalty and Dulles tied.

Moments later, another play was made in the red area, a cross arrived and a Cordovan made it 2 to 1, as the noodle caught fire and he hit it with his hand as he leaped, all the freedom fighters protested to the death. The men from Independiente took Barreiro forward and shook him very well, getting three of his men out.

More dramatic here: 13 minutes left and Independiente down 2 to 1 with 8 men left! We all thought he was going to push back to avoid victory because the team was so tired.

But then an incredible miracle happened. Feeling like a wounded tiger, Independiente regrouped its forces, faced its rival, the public, and all its suffering, and against all logic, pushed forward in search of a tie.

Talleres shrank and lost all coordination and mobility: it was 11 against 11!

After 5 or 6 walls, came Pocchini’s surprise goal, an incredible one, one for football anthology and the game immediately ended 2-2, with Independiente classified as 1977 national champions on regulation.

The bravery and self-respect shown by those players is already a part of football history and it inspired me as neutrals and all of us who watched this match played by the Independent in all its quality and variety.

Anyone wanting more details can undoubtedly find them in the aforementioned book by Claudio Gómez. It not only revives that party in all its nuances, but also cites the shocking testimony of what was happening in Córdoba by General Menendez, with people shot, tortured and disappeared in the concentration camps he ran under his command.

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At the end of his letter, the captain writes to me:

“Today I was looking in the windows of a business in Florida and Kangaloo and I saw a group of police officers walk in and from a big box they took the ‘FIFA World Cup’, that’s the name of the new trophy. World Football Championship..

It is 50 centimeters tall, has an allegorical figure and is all gold. It will be open to the public from today.

I hope to be able to visit what Messi built in Qatar soon, we will go there with my son. We both knew the captain would be on our side one way or another. Now we are excited again.