Tuesday, April 04, 2006

5th April - Spurs in History

The End of the Dream – So near, yet so far.

5th April, 1962

European Cup Semi-final (2nd leg)

Spurs 2 Benfica 1

Tottenham were two goals down from the first game and were determined to turn it around as they had done in previous rounds in the competition. The atmosphere inside a packed White Hart Lane was electric – 64,448 spectators roaring Spurs on against the reigning European champions.

Spurs pushed forward in search of a goal to reduce the deficit but after 15 minutes were stunned when Benfica scored. Now three goals behind the task was daunting but Spurs kept at it and seemed to have got their first when Jimmy Greaves took a pass from Smith to score. The referee awarded a goal but the linesman flagged for offside. Greaves was wrongly given offside, having moved between two defenders to take the pass. No Benfica player had appealed but now over the two games Spurs had had three goals disallowed for offside.

Spurs pressed on and got their reward before half-time when Bobby Smith scored from a pass by White. Spurs kept up the pressure and two minutes into the second a foul on John White brought a penalty. The pressure inside the ground mounted but Danny Blanchflower remained calm and cooly stepped up to put Spurs ahead. (Pic: Smith & Blanchflower with FA Cup)

Plenty of time left to get the winner but in spite of Spurs continued forward momentum, they hit the bar and had a couple of chances, they couldn’t get the breakthrough. The pressure of the evening got to them and instead of playing their normal football – they were too hurried and did everything too quickly.

The Spurs' dream of being the first British team to win the European Cup was over.

10 Years on.

5th April, 1972

UEFA Cup Semi-final (1st Leg)

Spurs 2 AC Milan 1

Bill Nicholson recalled Alan Mullery from a loan spell at Fulham and restored him as captain for this important game. Fixture congestion over Easter had brought injury problems for the manager and when John Pratt broke his nose in the game on Easter Monday he decided to recall his captain.

Initially, AC Milan made it very difficult for Spurs and outplayed them. They took the lead after 25 minutes but then Spurs raised their game and equalised within ten minutes. Perryman scored from 25 yards, after Peters and Gilzean combined to create the chance for him. The Italians played a very physical game and with half an hour left had a defender sent off. Spurs took advantage and Perryman again scored from the same distance to give Spurs a narrow lead for the second leg. AC Milan celebrated for they were certain they would turn that around in Milan especially as they had the important away goal.

Unbeaten on this day since the Second World War.

1947 Leicester City (h) (2nd Div.) Won 2-1 Rundle (2)
1958 Everton (a) (1st Div.) Won 4-3 Smith (2), Clayton (2)
1962 Benfica (h) EC (SF)Won 2-1 Smith, Blanchflower (p)
1972 AC Milan (h) UEFA Cup (SF) Won 2-1 Perryman (2)
1975 Luton Town (h) (1st Div.) Won 2-1 Conn, Duncan
1980 Wolverhampton Wanderers (a) (1st Div.) Won 2-1 Jones, Galvin
1986 Leicester City (a) (1st Div) Won 4-1 Bowen, Falco (3)
1997 Wimbledon (h) (Prem.) Won 1-0 Dozzell
1999 Newcastle United (a) (Prem.) Draw 1-1 Anderton (p)
2003 Birmingham City (h) (Prem.) Won 2-1 Keane*, Poyet
(*Keane’s goal when he came from behind the goalkeeper and nicked it off him to score)


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