July 16, 1972 – SL Benfica 2:2 Sporting CP. First soccer game at Schaefer (Foxboro) Stadium
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Eusebio scored twice for Benfica in a Sunday afternoon exhibition involving Lisbon’s rival clubs. Marinho opened the scoring in the sixth minute for Sporting. Eusebio equalized (43rd minute) and broke the deadlock (80th), then Fernando Peres converted an 84th-minute penalty kick for Sporting.
Attendance was announced at 24,396, though other sources listed a crowd of 40,000. In any case, promoters were encouraged enough to schedule a July 23, 1972 rematch at Schaefer – the teams first had to play a match in Toronto. In the second game, Eusebio, Nene and Jordao scored as Benfica took a 3-0 win over Sporting. Attendance figures were not reported in the Globe, but sources estimated a crowd of at least 25,000 for the second game.
Benfica had won the Liga Portuguesa, reached the semifinals (against Ajax) of the Champions Cup and defeated Sporting (3-2, on a 118th-minute Eusebio goal) for the Taça Portugal on June 4, 1972. The Benfica roster included at least two players who would go on to perform for the Boston Minutemen: Eusebio and Antonio Simoes; and others who would perform in the NASL: Humberto Coelho, Diamantino Costa, Toni.
Benfica returned for three matches at Foxboro Stadium from 1998-2001 and has a 4-1-1 record in Foxborough. Sporting has an 0-2-2 record in Foxborough.
Norwood’s Angelo Bratsis refereed and Patriots’ play-by-play man Gil Santos was the PA announcer for the July 16 game. Marinho’s grandson, Mario Mateus, advanced through the Benfica system and is playing with Uniao Torreense.
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