Friday, May 31, 2013

31 May 1972 - Ajax Sets The Standard

On 31 May 1972, Ajax won the second of three straight European Cups, beating Inter 2-0 with both goals coming from Johan Cruyff.

The reigning European Cup champions, Ajax had already claimed a domestic double that season, winning both the Eredivisie and the KNVB Cup. Cruyff, the 1971 Ballon d'Or winner, had finished the season as the league's top scorer with 25 goals.

Inter, meanwhile, after winning the tournament in 1964 and 1965, were back in it for the first time since finishing as runners-up to Celtic in 1967, and were hoping to redeem their season after finishing a disappointing fifth in Serie A.

The two teams met at De Kuip in Rotterdam, where a partisan crowd of 61,354 gathered for the event. They were rewarded with what some commentators described as "Total Football's greatest moment," as the free-flowing and constantly-shifting Ajax side unlocked Inter's defensive catenaccio formation, with Cruyff scoring in the 47th and 78th minutes.

Ajax repeated as champions in 1973, then again in 1995, while Inter claimed a third title in 2010.

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