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The Classics

Pele thrills large stadium crowd

Published:Friday | February 3, 2023 | 7:51 AM

The National stadium had 30,000-strong to witness the great Pele in action. Both teams delivered a thrilling match, keeping the spectators on their toes till the final whistle blew.

Published Monday, February 1, 1971

Cavalier Invitational draw with Santos

-30,000 see the mighty Pele at Stadium

-Cole scores with late penalty

Gleaner Sports Reporter

CAVALIER, like the fag end of a candle, flickering into bright flame, then sputter until it died out, had Alan Cole stroking in a last-minute penalty for them on January 31, 1971 and they snatched a 1-1 prestige draw against Brazil's Santos in their football clash at the National Stadium. 

It was cruel to Santos, but despite Santos' superiority in every phase of the contest, the invitational Cavalier side went on undeterred.

Boringly efficient Santos went strolling along with the casualness seen in a practice session, and the draw result seemed only a theoritical possibility right up to the stage where centre-back Lee got a hand to a ball. Referee Icar Lawrence pointed to the spot, and the draw was then a stark reality, materialising seconds later when Cole spotted the ball as he would have it, then deposited it right-footedly into the back of the Santos goal. 

And with scant moments of play left, it was beyond the physical resources of Santos, then without Pele who left 10 minutes from the end, to make way for Picole, to score another goal, plenty of which they could have done earlier but for their relaxed and casual approach.

Moments after Joshua Hamilton stirred the home crowd with a good 30-yard drive that went by a post, Edu, switching from his customary left-wing role to the right, electrified them. Playing just below the half line, he took possession from link-man Nene, dummied to his let unbalancing left-back Edward Dawkins, swept by him before he could recover. Edu was at an acute angle with a chance for a shot at Vester Constantine, but lost it soon afterwards. Here was the signal for the start of the Brazilian's display of virtuosity. And here Pele, whom the 30,000 spectators came to see, sent them bursting with delight. Awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal, three Santos men darted in different directions leaving the 'Black Pearl' with the ball, he thundered goal-ward, bringing Constantine out to palm for a corner.

From another set position later, Pele fooled the crowd and, the Cavalier players, by striking the ball forward, splitting the defence instantly and set up Edu. But Edu muffled his chance,

The Cavalier side, as if weary of appearing honest labours, reached the class of the Brazilians, Cole laying on superb chances for his for- wards.

Corcel Blair, emulating an earlier effort, dressed the ball too long and goal-tender Cejas who was at his mercy, was spared by quick tackling defenders. A beautiful ball from Cole to Asher Welch on the left flank gave the winger a chance to sweep in, draw the defence his way, and then shunt to an unmarked colleague. But he wasted the ball and received resounding boos from the crowd.

Dennis Ziadie replaced Welch in the next half, which Santos began in a determined mood, giving the Cavalier defence no quarter. Constantine saved well, robbing Santos of certain goals. But Cavalier were equal to the occasion, Cole coming into his own. And meshing well with Ziadie, he sent long diagonal balls which Santos found disconcerting in the extreme.

Ziadie thrilled the crowd with his skilful juggling and, after a defender foiled him he nearly juggled his way to blaze past Cejas, Edu playing deep into his half took possession. And here it was that his marvellous dribbling skills were simply too much for the homesters.

Menacingly he raced some 70 yards, feinting through a gaggle of defenders and, six yards out, stroked the ball past Constantine with the classical authority that has made him a world-class forward. 

Santos' victory seemed assured despite Cavalier's probing, their finishing lacked the bite to create an end product. But came the handled ball and Cole's conversion for their equalizer.

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