Don't despair, Manchester United: 27 forgotten British underdog shocks in Europe
6. Glentoran 1-1 Benfica
European Cup | September 13, 1967
Most of the 25,000-strong crowd who turned up at Glentoran’s Oval had come to see one man: Eusebio
Most of the 25,000-strong crowd who turned up at Glentoran’s Oval had come to see one man: Eusebio. Yet the Irish League champions led inside 10 minutes, player-manager John Colrain scoring from the spot. When Albert Finlay saved a Jaime Graca penalty, the Belfast crowd dared to dream. But four minutes from time, Eusebio – who frequently went drinking in the city – let rip a shot that “hit the back of the net like a rocket leaving a launchpad”, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
The second leg finished 0-0, and while Benfica would reach their fifth European Cup final in eight years, the Glens – only the second team in competition history to keep a clean sheet at the Estadio da Luz, 19 others having failed – were unlucky to exit on away goals in the rule’s first season.
7. Barry Town 3-1 Porto
Champions League | August 1, 2001
Barry Town were the first Welsh side ever to win a Champions League tie when they beat Azerbaijan’s Shamkir in the first qualifying round
You don’t get much more underdoggy than an 8-0 first-leg deficit. Barry Town were the first Welsh side ever to win a Champions League tie when they beat Azerbaijan’s Shamkir in the first qualifying round, but they were thrashed in Porto just a week later.
More slaughter was expected in the return leg and Porto soon went 1-0 up, but goals from Lee Phillips, Mike Flynn and Gary Lloyd secured a famous win. While Porto were much-changed, they still sent out Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho and Helder Postiga, who now have some 210 caps between them. Barry won the battle and lost the war, but what a battle it was.
8. Hearts 1-0 Bayern Munich
UEFA Cup | February 28, 1989
Die Roten won 2-0 back in Munich, but this is still one of Hearts’ greatest victories
Sometimes, heroes win ugly. The Jambos’ historic home victory over a Bayern Munich side that had scored 18 goals en route to this quarter-final came through some combative defending and Dave McPherson brilliantly marshalling Hearts’ back four.
Ten minutes after half-time, Tosh McKinlay rolled a free-kick to the club’s record signing, Iain Ferguson – he of Dundee United’s winner against Barcelona – and with the Bayern wall crumbling in front of him, he blasted an unstoppable strike into the corner. Die Roten won 2-0 back in Munich, but this is still one of Hearts’ greatest victories.
9. Leeds United 2-1 Barcelona
European Cup | April 9, 1975
Even though Rinus Michel’s side starred Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and Charly Rexach, Bremner said: “I was not impressed by Barcelona at all"
Billy Bremner and Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke scored for Jimmy Armfield’s Leeds in this semi-final first leg, but Paul Madeley was named man of the match for subduing Johan Cruyff, reigning European Footballer of the Year. The one time the Dutch genius did elude Madeley, Barça won a free-kick from which Juan Manuel Asensi scored, cancelling out Bremner’s opener. Madeley made amends by starting the move for Clarke’s winner.
Even though Rinus Michel’s side starred Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and Charly Rexach, Bremner said: “I was not impressed by Barcelona at all. We build up these continental teams too much.” So there.
10. Derby County 4-1 Real Madrid
European Cup | October 22, 1975
The wonder-strike didn’t help: the Rams lost the second leg 5-1 after extra time
Understandably, it still bothers Charlie George that he scored four goals against Real Madrid in a European Cup tie and still lost. His first-leg hat-trick at the Baseball Ground was notable for a superb arrowed volley, but the strike he remembers the most came at the Bernabeu – unsurprising, given that his running whack into the top corner came while wearing a boot he had borrowed from the suspended Bruce Rioch, after a crunching tackle by centre-half Vicente del Bosque tore George’s own in half. And still the wonder-strike didn’t help: the Rams lost the second leg 5-1 after extra time.
11. Newcastle United 3-2 Barcelona
Champions League | September 17, 1997
Asprilla’s repeated cartwheel celebrations must have stung Van Gaal – whose defeated team included Luis Figo, Luis Enrique and Rivaldo
Tino Asprilla’s 22-minute hat-trick against Barcelona made the Colombian such an idol on Tyneside that supporters used to pay just to sit in his favourite taxi seat. Yet the unsung St James’ Park hero that evening was Keith Gillespie – derided as “un cojo”, or “lame”, by Louis van Gaal’s assistant Gerard van der Lem – for his crosses that set up two of Tino’s goals for a Magpies XI that was missing the injured Alan Shearer (but clearly not all that much).
Asprilla’s repeated cartwheel celebrations must have stung Van Gaal – whose defeated team included Luis Figo, Luis Enrique and Rivaldo – as the Dutchman then made his translator Jose Mourinho the new opposition analyst. Whatever happened to him, eh?