Wednesday, January 29, 2014

29 January 1950 - And People Say Draws Aren't Exciting

On 29 January 1950, a flurry of late goals led Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao to the highest-scoring draw in La Liga history.

At the time, both teams were challenging for the title. Hosts Madrid, playing in their first season under manager Helenio Herrera (pictured), were four points behind leaders Real Madrid, while Bilbao were five points back. The visitors struck first, with Agustín "Piru" Gaínza scoring in the first minute. But Madrid quickly rallied, taking a 2-1 lead into the break after goals from Henry Carlsson (3') and Larbi Benbarek (16').

In the second half, Bilbao surged back ahead with scores from Gaínza (47'), Rafael Iriondo (52', 57'), and Telmo Zarra (65') to take a 2-5 lead, then the teams swapped strikes from Madrid's Diego Lozano (68') and Iriondo (69') to push the margin to 3-6.

The score remained there until the 84th minute, when Madrid received a lifeline in the form of a penalty, duly converted by Benbarek. One minute later, José Lloret cut the margin to 5-6, then Madrid's Alfonso Aparicio scored with one minute left to set the final scoreline at 6-6.

The draw proved crucial, as Madrid went on to win the league by a single point over Deportivo de la Coruña. It was the first major honor for Herrera, who won La Liga with Madrid again the following season, then went on to claim multiple trophies with Barcelona, Inter, and Roma. But Bilbao didn't finish the year empty-handed, as they won the Copa del Rey over Real Valladolid.

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