HISTORY OF THE CLUB
SPURS 2-1 BENFICA
Posted 20 December 2011 7:31pm
Arguably the biggest disappointment of the double era. This home victory against the reigning champions - who included the great striker Eusebio - wasn't enough as we fell at the semi-final hurdle in the European Cup 4-3 on aggregate.
Arguably the biggest disappointment of the double era.
This home victory against the reigning champions - who included the great striker Eusebio - wasn't enough as we fell at the semi-final hurdle in the European Cup 4-3 on aggregate.
It was also a case of 'what might have been' over the two legs.
Over in Portugal, Spurs felt they had two 'goals' wrongly ruled out for offside, the first from Jimmy Greaves in the first half, the second from Bobby Smith after the break. Either of those goals would have seen Spurs through on aggregate. Then, in the return at the Lane, Greaves was again denied by the linesman's flag.
As it was, Benfica surged into a 2-0 lead in the first leg with goals from Coluna and Augusto before Smith reduced arrears in the 54th minute, heading home Danny Blanchflower's cross.
Chances came and went but it was Benfica who made it 3-1 before Smith's disallowed effort - a harsh-looking decision with defenders in close attendance.
Nevertheless, the teams met again at the Lane on April 5 with Spurs looking to overturn a two-goal deficit for a place in the final against Real Madrid.
What Spurs didn't need was an early Benfica goal, but that's exactly what happened in the 15th minute when Jose Arguas made it 4-1 on aggregate.
From there, Spurs produced, in the words of respected journalist Ian Wooldridge, 'the most thrilling and heart-aching hour's football I have ever seen'.
Smith reduced arrears to 4-2 with the equaliser on the night after 35 minutes, striking home from John White's pass.
Just two minutes into the second half and the game was on a knife-edge as Blanchflower converted from the spot for 4-3 on aggregate after White was fouled.
Spurs battered away. Greaves went close twice, Jones blazed wide and then agony at the end as Mackay's dipper clipped the top of the crossbar.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Wooldridge described it as 'the greatest pounding that Spurs have ever mounted' but, with goals cruelly disallowed and the crossbar rattled in the latter stages, Bill Nicholson's team had fallen just short.
First leg: Brown, Baker, Henry, Marchi, Norman, Mackay, Greaves, White, Smith, Blanchflower, Jones.
Second leg: Brown, Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, Medwin, White, Smith, Greaves, Jones.
Picture shows Bobby Smith's 'goal' in the first leg that was ruled out for offside.