“We defend very well. They did not create many opportunities, but, unfortunately, Rijkaard managed to pass our defense once and scored, “lamented Erikson, recalling the last 'reds' final in the main European competition, 30 years ago.
On May 23, 1990, the Dutch midfielder, who had a fleeting spell in Alvalade in 1987/88, ending up never wearing the Sporting jersey, resolved the game at the Prater Stadium in Vienna with a goal in the 67th minute.
“They had an extremely good midfield and a very compact defense. It was very difficult to create scoring opportunities against them, “said the Swedish coach, now 72, adding:” To win, we had to have created more opportunities “.
Eriksson, then 42 years old, led Benfica to the decisive game of the 1989/90 European Cup in the second pass by the 'incarnados' (1989/90 to 91/92), after, in the first (1982/83 and 83 / 84), having led the Luz team to the UEFA Cup final.
“AC Milan was the best team in the world, and not just that year. It is enough to remember that they had Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard, three very strong, fantastic Dutch, and more than half of the Italian team ”, the Swedish coach remembered, smiling.
Benfica was not, however, caught off guard, because, according to Eriksson – who arrived in Luz from Gothenburg, was in Rome and Fiorentina between the two spells in Portugal, and then trained Sampdoria, Lazio, the England team or Manchester City -, AC Milan has been studied in detail.
“We saw many videos and watched them several times live. We knew how they played, how (Arrigo) Sacchi put them on the field, in '4-4-2' or '4-4-1-1', how compact they were, how they pressed, how they defended, how they attacked, “he told Swede Lusa, adding: “We knew what we had to do, but knowing is one thing and being able to do it is another”.
Benfica ended up defeated, as in 1962/63, 64/65, 67/68 and 87/88, suffering the fifth consecutive defeat in the Champions Cup finals, after having been crowned twice European champion, with the victories of 1960/61 and 61/62.
“I know we lost, but I think we were 'ok'. Many accused us of not having tried, but I do not agree. I think we tried, but it was very difficult ”, reinforced Eriksson, who, commenting on the absence of‘ captain ’Veloso, was clear:“ If we wanted to beat the Italians, we had to have all the players… and also some luck ”.
After his presence in Vienna, Benfica never made it to a final of the main European club competition, since in the 'Champions era', since 1992/93, he managed no more than four appearances in the 'quarters' (1994/95 , 2005/06, 2011/12 and 2015/16).
“Is it possible for Benfica to return? I hope so, as I continue to be a benefactor. Why not? ”Asked Eriksson.
The desire to see the ‘incarnated’ repeat what they achieved, for the last time, 30 years ago comes up against, however, the difference in financial power for the ‘European giants’.
“The reality is that it is very difficult. When you see the money that the top five or 10 clubs invest to win the competition, becoming stronger and stronger, it seems to me that it is now more difficult for Portuguese clubs ”, he concluded.
30 years ago, on May 23, 1990, in Vienna, Benfica disputed for the seventh and last time the final in the Champions Cup, suffering the fifth consecutive defeat, after the titles in 1960/61 and 61/62, when losing by 1-0 with AC Milan, who revalidated the title, after 4-0 at Steaua Bucharest in 1988/89.
PFO // AMG
The Eriksson content guarantees that Benfica tried, but AC Milan was “very strong” in 1990 appears first in Visão.