Venue: Maksimir Stadium,
Competition: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final, First Leg.
Score: Dinamo Zagreb 2
Scorers: Dinamo Zagreb: Cercek, Rora.
Dinamo Zagreb: Skoric; Grancanin, Brnic; Belin, Ramljak, Blaskovic; Cercek, Piric, Zambata, Gurmirtl, Rora.
Referee: Adolfo Bueno Parales (Spain).
The Croatians were noted for their ability to score goals by
the plenty in their home legs, but had a tendancy to
concede away from home and had only won one away tie on their road to the
final. Therefore Manager Revie, whose team had yet to
concede more than one goal in an away leg, was intent on holding them to a
small margin at the Maksimir Stadium in the hope that
United could finish off the job at
The Final was not played at the end of the 1966-67 season, but was held over until the start of the following
season, and United had made an inauspicious start to that season gaining only
one point from their first three games and scoring just one goal, hardly a
perfect build up to the final. Injuries to Johnny Giles, Willie Bell, Paul Madeley and Albert Johanneson
wrecked Manager Don Revie’s preparations and he was
forced to give a European debut to Mick Bates and it became clear that United
faced an uphill battle in the humid night air of
Leeds defended stoutly and tried to catch Dinamo on the break until the thirty-ninth minute when eighteen year old reserve winger Marijan Cercek raced into the penalty area to crash a header past Gary Sprake, although United claimed the teenager had unfairly barged Jack Charlton out of the way. United came out of their defensive shell and shots by Mike O’Grady and Norman Hunter raised hopes of an equaliser, but the crucial second goal came in the fifty-fifth minute when brilliant work by skipper Slaven Zambata created the opening for Krasnadar Rora to score on the half-volley. Long before the end the home supporters were lighting torches in celebration and the smoke that drifted on to the pitch was the funeral pyre to United’s hopes. Don Revie attempted to be upbeat commenting, “I am quite certain we can do it.” But even taking United’s past European performances into account, many had been backs to the wall efforts on foreign soil or home games against far inferior opposition, the only hope was that Dinamo would live up to their ability to leak away goals in away matches.
United had chosen their first European Final to surrender
two goals on foreign soil for the first time and leave themselves an extremely
difficult task in the second leg at Elland Road. Yet
Eric Stanger of the Yorkshire Evening Post was not
too pessimistic: “
prominent with Reaney, Cooper, Hunter and O’Grady hidden.
Billy Bremner leads out the
Jack Charlton and Rod Belfitt pressurise the Zagreb keeper Zlatko Skoric, with Norman Hunter and Mike O’Grady watching.
Dinamo Zagreb: 1966-67 Inter Cities Fairs Cup Winners:
Back Row: Slaven Zambata, Zlatko Škorić, Branko Gračanin, Filip Blašković, Rudolf Belin,
Slaven Zambata Billy Bremner