|Eusebio at Toronto (left): Knackered knees on a plastic pitch|
Toronto started the 76 season well, winning eight of their first ten matches, and Eusebio, who missed the first two games, scored six in six appearances. There followed a mid-season, seven-game slump when the team won only on penalty kicks (three times – through this season, drawn games were decided on penalties if no one scored during sudden-death extra time), and failed to score in open play for all seven games – a highly unusual sequence for the high-scoring NASL. After that sev-enth game, the Yugoslav coach Ivan Markovic´ was sacked, but it wasn’t just because his team had lost its scoring touch. It was because of Eusebio.
The two men had already fallen out at training, with Eusebio resenting that Marković would come in to the dressing room and tell him what boots to wear. ‘Marković was a genius, but geniuses are sometimes like fools,’ says [Carmine] Marcantonio. ‘He lived for the game, and he was a Croatian guy who grew up coaching Hajduk Split, then Marseille and the Yugoslav youth national teams. He was a genius and he could teach us young guys even how to tie our shoes. He had his own bag of cleats and would say, “Today it’s a bit dry, you need this type of cleats.” He’d bring that bag to the game and tell us what we should be wearing. But imagine you’re Eusebio and you have this guy telling you what kind of cleats you should be wear¬ing – they almost came to blows about it…”
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