“We went to their house, we invaded it and we gave them a 5”

“We went to their house, we invaded it and we gave them a 5”

Asensi and Mora remember Barça's historic 0-5 in Madrid on February 17, 1974, the day that marked the 50th anniversary of that win

Beating your eternal rival is always special. Conquering your house is even more so. Do it like that February 17, 1974...It will be remembered forever. On that cold Sunday night in Madrid, the classic was being played on matchday 22 of the League with an intractable Barça in first position, led by a thin, long-legged Dutchman. The complete opposite of a Real Madrid that was sailing through nowhere, located in seventh place in a League where it finished eighth. Not all the spotlights pointed at the field of play prevented the Santiago Bernabéu stadium from freezing with goals, until the final 0-5, with the scores of Juan M. Asensi (2), Johan Cruyff, Juan Carlos and Cholo Sotil , which forged a result for history.

The pre-match: Sadurní injured, Mora debuts

During the 1973-1974 season, Salvador Sadurní was Barça's starting goalkeeper. His substitute was Pere Valentí Mora, current director of the Players' Association. He was a young profile with a lot of projection who had left the Club to make a name for himself in the first division. That year, he returned home to achieve his dream, but he explains how “I suffered a very serious injury in the preseason when I wanted to compete for the starting position with Sadurní.”

Now recovered, he had not yet played any official match. Like every day they played away, they both slept in the same room the night before the game. The next day, Rinus Mitchells came into the room to ask Sadurni how he was feeling. He answered no, that his elbow was still hurting him a lot and that he was not in condition to play.

“Hey, Sadurní! “You could have told me, couldn’t you?” It was the first one that Mora articulated. He would make his debut with the FC Barcelona first team against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. He was “nervous because he is always there. The player who is not nervous before a game does not play well, but he assures that he was not afraid. He had already played important games. [...] How does a person who complains about why they don't make him play, back down when they put him on the field?”

The confidence of his colleagues was full: "They valued my qualities," says Mora. Teammates like Juan Manuel Asensi, president of the Players' Association and then one of the most outstanding players on that team. He remembers the headline that resonated in the locker room: “If we win here, the League is ours.” The mathematics did not guarantee it but, if they won, they would hit the table.

The match: a result for history

The first 20 minutes were dominated by the Whites with two scoring chances that, luckily for the debutant, they did not take advantage of. After half an hour, a low Marcial cross from the right found an unmarked Asensi who described how “with my right, with the stupid one, I marked García Remón.” Shortly after, Cruyff, with assistance from Sotil, got rid of up to three defenders to score the 0-2 score at half-time.

Mora remembers how “with a 0-2 lead at half-time against Real Madrid we knew we couldn't trust ourselves. We returned to the restart brave and strong.” Only 8 minutes had passed when Asensi scored his second goal of the night. Captain Juan Carlos with a shot from out of the air that hit the top corner and Sotil with a header, thanks to a cross from a Cruyff free kick, rounded off a magical night.

The post: more than a classic was won

“After the game... It surprised me. – Asensi remembers – I thought we had done well, because this audience was not used to applauding Barça.” For Mora, that result transcended football: “those of us who were from home knew what that game felt like. Everything was magnified because, if you stop to look, there have been other spectacular results from Barça that have not had that value. This value belonged to a Spain where the dictator was dying, where Madrid always won everything and where we always had potential, but for one reason or another we never achieved anything.”

Asensi summarizes the feeling that that victory generated: “Our people welcomed us as if we were heroes [...] We went to their house, we invaded it and scored 5 for them. And that made the Catalan and Barcelona fans very happy.”

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