The day Bochini beat General Menéndez | The Captain’s Letters

“El partido Rojo”, this is the name of the book that the journalist Claudio Gómez wrote and published in 2017, on the 40th anniversary of a football match that made history.

That day, January 25, 1978, Independiente beat Talleres for the National Championship in a final that was played in the Córdoba of General Menéndez, the genocidal owner of life and death in those times of terror.

“The greatest feat of Argentine soccer in the midst of the bloodiest dictatorship” is the subtitle of Gómez’s book, to which Juan José Panno dedicated an article in this newspaper on August 27, 2018.

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

My old man, a soccer lover and passionate River fan, could not hide the admiration that Independiente’s reaction produced in him, when they lost 2 to 1 and the night was coming, to turn the result around and keep the cup in the face of the surprise general and, above all, given the impotence of Menéndez, who yearned for the championship for Talleres and thus promote the candidacy of Amadeo Nuccetelli, president of the Cordovan club and his candidate to lead the AFA.

In that letter I can relive the triumph that made Captain Soriani vibrate so much:

“Dear son:

Glory to the Avellaneda reds!

Everything gave for the victory of the people of Cordoba, for the first time in its history, and that is how the local began with full force, although later the reds evened the game and ended the first half Independiente 1 Talleres 0 with a great headed goal.

The impetus of Talleres went to hell in the second half and Independiente was controlling the game when a ball without much danger hit Pagnanini’s arm by chance, the referee charged a penalty and Talleres tied.

And shortly after another play is produced in the red area, a cross comes and a Cordovan puts it 2 to 1, protested to death by all Independiente because the noodle flared up and when he jumped he hit it with his hand. The people from Independiente took Barreiro ahead and shook him so nicely that they expelled three of his men.

And here comes the most dramatic: there are 13 minutes left and Independiente is losing 2 to 1 and has been left with 8 men! We all thought that he was going to throw back to avoid the win, since the team was very tired…

But then the incredible miracle occurred. Independiente felt like the wounded tiger, regrouped his forces, faced his rival, the public and all his adversity and against all logic he pushed forward looking for a draw.

Talleres shrank and lost all coordination and drive: it looked like an 11 against 11 game!

And Bochini’s surprising goal came, after 5 or 6 walls, something incredible, something for the football anthology and the game ended immediately 2-2, with which Independiente was classified as the 1977 national champion according to the regulations.

The grit and self-respect that those players showed is already part of football history and it moved me and all of us who, as neutrals, watched this match that Independiente carried out with all its grit and category.”

Anyone who wants more details can undoubtedly find them in the aforementioned book by Claudio Gómez. That not only revives that party with all its nuances, but also cites shocking testimonies of what was happening in that Córdoba of General Ménendez, with those shot, tortured, and disappeared in the concentration camps that operated under his command.

Towards the end of his letter, the Captain writes to me:

“Today I was looking at the windows of a business in Florida and Cangallo, when I see a group of people with police custody enter and from a large box they took out the ‘Fifa World Cup’, that’s the name of the new cup for the world soccer championship. .

It is 50 centimeters high, with an allegorical figure, and all of gold. It will be on display to the public from today.

Hopefully the one that Messi has just built in Qatar can be visited soon and we will go there with my son. We both know that one way or another, the Captain will be by our side. Now we are excited again.



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