Venue: La Romerada,
Competition: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Semi-Final, First Leg.
Referee: Marcel Bois (
The Real Zaragoza side of this era contained ‘Los Magnificos’, an attacking line of Canario,
O’Grady, who had played an outstanding part in United’s
progress since joining the club from
Don Revie opted for a defensive strategy, leaving Jim Storrie as the lone striker and packing the defence and midfield, but while the strategy worked in that it stifled the attacking capabilities of the Zaragoza front-line, it did not stop United suffering their first reversal in Europe as Lepetra won the game from the penalty spot for Real with the only goal of the tie.
While Real Zaragoza were a fine footballing side, quite possibly the best United had encountered in the Fairs Cup, they were also quite capable of engaging in a bruising tussle and so it turned out that the game did have its over-robust or niggly interludes and one of these saw United schemer Johnny Giles sent off by referee Marcel Bois, along with Real left-half Jose-Louis Violeta with only five minutes to go. In the bruising encounter Les Cocker was on the pitch three times in the first ten minutes to tend to the injured Jim Storrie, Willie Bell and Johnny Giles.
rearguard action Jack Charlton and Gary Sprake stood
out as United’s bulwarks. Sprake
spread-eagled himself to pushed a goal-bound effort
from Pais, who had been set up by Juan Manel Villa, over the bar. Marcelino
bombardment was hard to resist, but it was not until the hour mark that Real broke the deadlock and even then it was in dubious
Five minutes from time Johnny Giles and Jose Luis Violeta clashed as the Spaniard came out of a tackle second best and clearly incensed and threw a punch at Giles. The referee stood on no ceremony and immediately dismissed them both.
Don Revie was quite pleased with the outcome and claimed that
despite the bombardment Real had been unable to breach
Back Row: Norman Hunter, Alan Peacock, Jack Charlton, Paul Madeley, Eddie Gray, Rod Belfitt.
Middle Row: Don Revie (Manager), Willie Bell, Mike O’Grady, David Harvey, Gary Sprake,
Albert Johanneson, Rod Johnson, Jimmy Greenhoff.
Front Row: Paul Reaney, Bobby Collins, Johnny Giles, Billy Bremner, Jim Storrie, Peter Lorimer,
Johnny Giles was sent-off