SPURS v BENFICA
AT WHITE HART LANE
APRIL 5, 1962
Just how much pressure was on this one!? When I first considered this feature, Danny’s so cool reaction against the Portuguese giants immediately came to mind as an amazing silence descended at White Hart Lane – before an eruption of pure celebratory joy!
Those that were there can still sense that hush. The tie would ultimately end in agony for our Double-winning adventurers but often the bravest moments come in despair.
This was our first European challenge; a road that we still journey today. Now there is little mystery; just the odd surprise – sprinkled with some amazing encounters that keep us on the march and maintain our international pedigree.
But back then Blanchflower and his band were pioneers as they eclipsed Gornik Zabrze, Feyenoord and Dukla Prague to reach the semi-finals where holders Benfica awaited.
Although we enjoyed no luck, particularly with a couple of crucial offside decisions, in Lisbon where we lost 3-1 – it must also be conceded that we did not play well against a Eusebio-inspired side in that first leg. But that all changed at the Lane.
After Jimmy Greaves had what looked another good ‘goal’ disallowed for offside, we literally battered them. Yet, against the run of play Benfica increased their lead.
Bobby Smith equalised on the night – and then came Danny’s moment to set up such a thrilling finish. Mario Coluna fouled John White, Danish referee Aage Poulsen pointed to the spot and, after their initial delirium, more than 54,000 onlookers held their collective breath as Blanchflower placed the ball on the spot and started his customary corkscrew run.
Goalkeeper Costa Pereira flung himself far to his left – but in vain as Blanchflower’s penalty burst into the net well away from his grasp.
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