Friday, August 1, 2008

1968: Manchester United FC 4-1 SL Benfica

British rule extended into a second season in 1967/68, as Manchester United FC marked the tenth anniversary of the Munich air tragedy by lifting the European Champion Clubs' Cup against SL Benfica in London. United had picked up the gauntlet after holders Celtic FC lost to FC Dynamo Kyiv in the first round. They beat Hibernians FC, FK Sarajevo, KS Górnik Zabrze and Real Madrid CF on the road to Wembley, surviving a number of scares along the way.

Matt Busby's side failed to win a single away game, a statistic that almost cost them dear in the semi-finals. Three-one down in the return leg in Madrid, United were facing a fourth defeat at this stage of the competition until late strikes by David Sadler and Bill Foulkes carried them through, 4-3 on aggregate.

Benfica, meanwhile, had been the first team to win a tie on the new away goals' rule. This helped them past Glentoran FC in the first round, before further wins against AS Saint-Etienne, Vasas SC and Juventus FC, 3-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals. However, Portuguese luck ran out in the final at Wembley, just as it had two years earlier in Portugal¹s FIFA World Cup semi-final against England. Alex Stepney's late save from Eusébio sent the match into extra time after Jaime Graça had cancelled out Bobby Charlton's 54th-minute opener. And when Munich survivor Charlton struck for a second time, the result was beyond doubt, goals from George Best and Brian Kidd merely icing United's cake.

No comments: