Sporting Clube de Portugal and the whole of Portuguese football are mourning the death of João Morais who passed away on 27 April aged 75.
The former Portugal defender spent 11 years at Sporting and was famed for his winning goal in the 1964 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final replay against MTK Budapest. He also helped them to two league titles and one Portuguese Cup, and won ten caps for the national team, playing as right-back in the team that finished third in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.
It was two years earlier that Morais truly made his name. The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final final had finished 3-3 in Brussels, necessitating a replay at Antwerp's Bosuilstadion. Nineteen minutes in came the moment that was to define the Cascais-born player's career with what is forever known as the 'Cantinho do Morais' (Morais's corner) – making flesh a dream he had the night before the final.
"I looked at the bench and confirmed if it was me to take the corner," Morais later remembered. "The coach waved yes and I handled the ball carefully, said some nice words to her [the ball] and gave her a kiss. Then just after the kick I felt that it would be goal. Time seemed to stop at that moment.
"I looked at the ball's curve and saw Figueiredo run to the near post as the goalkeeper was behind him to stop any head flick. However destiny was to put the ball directly in as it floated over both players and ended in the net. It was a massive euphoria as that goal allowed us to beat them and bring the cup to Lisbon. It was not a lucky goal as I scored some more goals like that in my career."
Hilário, a former team-mate for both Sporting and Portugal, said: "Morais started at Benfica but ended at Sporting. I remember he had a warm welcome as he was a great colleague, a great player and a great man. He was very good technically as he shot with both feet. He ended a 90-minute game as fresh as he was about to start it."
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