17 October 2019
Right from the start, it was clear there would be trouble
Halfway through October, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of AC Milan's first international title: the Intercontinental Cup. So much has already been written about that second leg of the final, which was played between Estudiantes and AC Milan in Buenos Aires. There was Combin’s broken nose, the danger to the lives of Milan's players, and more besides. After that infamous match European teams no longer wanted to go and play away against South American sides, for whom the Intercontinental Cup was considered to be a trophy of greater importance than the Copa Libertadores. This period of time came to be known as the cup of two worlds, a reputation which greatly came from this particular final.
However it is worth stressing that the issues Milan faced were not contained to the second leg alone: the Argentine side’s lack of respect for the rules and for their opponents was clear for all to see in the first leg. While the troubles during the 3-0 victory at San Siro were nowhere near the level of those in Buenos Aires, it was certainly no walk in the park. During that first leg the Rossoneri were victorious courtesy of a brace from Sormani and a goal from Combin, however the match took a heavy toll on Milan's squad. Due to sprains, knocks and bruises, Milan had eight players out injured: Cudicini, Fogli, Lodetti, Rosato, Combin, Rivera, Prati and Rognoni.
Ahead of the second leg, Carraro, the president of the Rossoneri, spoke with the vice president of Estudiantes and expressed his concerns about the previous match, while the Club’s lawyer Sordillo discussed with issue with Mangano, the president of Estudiantes. Milan were seriously worried after the events of the first leg on 8 October 1969: would the second leg just be a normal football match? What price were they going to pay for contesting this cup final? The Argentineans reassured them that they had nothing to worry about: "Relax, nothing out of the ordinary is going to happen; it will just be a sporting encounter played in a sporting manner." None of that was true, but at least Milan had already understood what they were up against by the full-time whistle of the first leg, and were prepared for the storm that was coming on 22 October.
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