On June 1, 1961, just one day after winning the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in Bern, the Reds, deprived of 15 players, were forced by V. Setúbal to play the second leg of the Portuguese Cup eighth-finals. The King was in that B squad.
57 years ago, Lisbon dressed up to welcome the Benfica team that on the eve (May 31, 1961), in Bern, had beat Barcelona (3-2) in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup final.
One the same day, by the intransigence of V. Setúbal, declined to postpone the match date, the Eagles’ reserves had to play in a tie from the second biggest domestic competition. And they did it officially unveiling the Black Panther.
On June 1, 1961, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira wore Benfica’s jersey for the first time in an official match. It was in the second leg of the Round of 16 of the Portuguese Cup: he was in the starting lineup and he scored.
However, this goal from Eusébio was insufficient to prevent the Reds’ elimination, who lost by at the Campo dos Arcos, in Setúbal, after having won in the first leg by 3-1.
Benfica arrived at the Campo dos Arcos deprived of the 15 players chosen by Béla Guttmann for the unforgettable European win. Eusébio, who at the time could not play in the UEFA competitions, was part of that B team of Benfica in the clash with the “sadinos”, a week after he had made his debut at Estádio da Luz (May 23, 1961) in a friendly match against Atlético, in which he scored three of the four goals from the Eagles.
After the 3-1 in the first leg at Estádio da Luz, SL Benfica B was beaten in Setúbal by 4-1, with Eusébio, at 64’, scoring the only goal of the team.
Benfica played at the Campo dos Arcos with the following starting XI: Ramalho; Sidónio, Pinto, Maximiano, Amândio, Humberto, Nartanga, Eusébio, Jorge, Espírito Santo and Inácio.
Notwithstanding the outcome of the Portuguese Cup tie, Benfica was living unique moments, in a memorable decade… with the King beggining here a path marked by great individual and collective achievements.