Blast From The Past: United Winning The Cup In ’68

Published 10/15/2014, 4:09 AM EDT


Manchester United was already a household name in Europe by 1968. But mostly so because of that tragic disaster in Munich, ten years earlier, that had robbed the club of many of its greatest talents.

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Benfica’s reputation, by contrast, was based entirely on their continued success on the field. With the brilliant Eusebio leading the line, Benfica reached an incredible five European Cup finals between 1961 and 1968.

For Manchester United, this was their first European final. Indeed, no English team had ever won the European Cup. But even with Denis Law’s absence due to injury, Benfica had ample reason to be cautious. The majority of Benfica’s players had already been exposed to the talents of Bobby Charlton during the 1966 World Cup semi-final between Portugal and England, when Charlton scored two decisive goals.

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Charlton, it was sure, would get heavily marked.

But few Portuguese had ever played against George Best.

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1968 European Cup Final (London)

Manchester United 4 Benfica 1

Manchester United: Stepney, Brennan, Foulkes, Crerand, Dunne, Charlton (capt), Stiles, Best, Kidd, Sadler, Aston
Scorers: Charlton 2, Best, Kidd
Benfica: Henrique, Adolfo, Humberto, Jacinto, Cruz, Graca, Coluna (capt), Jose Augusto, Torres, Eusebio, Simoes
Scorer: Graca

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Harit Pathak

164 articles

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