1966: Real Zaragoza 4 Dunfermline 2
Memorable Match #62
Inter Cities Fairs Cup Quarter Final
Romareda Stadium, Zaragoza
Wednesday 30th March 1966
Dunfermline Athletic were one of 48 teams to compete in the 1965-66 Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Given a bye in the first round they then negotiated ties undefeated against Boldklub Copenhagen and Czechs Spartak ZJŠ Brno to earn the right to face Real Zaragoza in the last eight.
The Spanish side who sat in sixth place in their top flight had defeated Hearts after a play off in the third round and had recently sacked their manager, Frenchman Louis Hon, after a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid. The dismissal of their manager demonstrated the club’s overwhelming desire for success. In 1964 a Spanish record had been set by Real Zaragoza when they supplied no less than seven members of their international side. At club level that contributed to them winning the Fairs Cup that season.
New manager, Fernando Dancik, had introduced youth to the team but retained the experience of striker Marcelino, holder of 13 international caps, Lapetra with 11 caps and the former Real Madrid player Canario. The famous Brazilian had played in the 7-3 European Cup Final win over Eintracht Frankfurt at Hampden Park in 1960.
The Pars won the first leg at East End Park through a Bert Paton goal scored just three minutes from time. This was just Zaragoza’s fifth defeat in 26 games in European competition.
The second leg was played in the Romareda Stadium at the end of March and Dunfermline Athletic would have progressed to join Barcelona, Chelsea and Leeds United in the last four had the away goals rule been in existence then.
The record says that Dunfermline conceded four goals in Zaragoza and tumbled out of the Fairs Cup but that reveals nothing of the courage and tenacity which kept them in this astonishing match until three minutes from the end of extra time when Juan Manuel Villa scored the winner.
Dunfermline went out to play a defensive game, to try and hold on to their one goal lead from the first leg. They did so brilliantly with goalkeeper Eric Martin, the day before his 20th birthday, making one spectacular save after the other.
Manager Willie Cunningham made several surprise team changes for the second leg of this quarter-final tie. After his side failed to score the previous Saturday in the Scottish Cup semi final against Celtic in front of 53900 at Ibrox, Jim Fleming, Hugh Robertson and Ian Hunter were all dropped.
George Peebles, a member of the three-man forward line in the previous tie against Spartak Brno, returned to the team, wing half Tommy Callaghan was chosen at inside left and scorer in the first leg, Bert Paton was back in.
The Fife defence looked cool and confident. Zaragoza’s all-international attack found it extremely difficult to penetrate the black and white barrier.
But after 12 minutes of the second-half with every man except the Spanish goalkeeper in the Dunfermline half, Zaragoza finally broke through. The Fifers were caught in a tangle, and Eleuterio SANTOS flicked the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble. 1-0
Alex Ferguson scored 31 league goals for Dunfermline during season 1965-66
Level on aggregate, the Pars looked beaten when Marcelino Martinez netted in 83 minutes but they shocked the Spaniards with a breakaway goal in the last minutes of the 90. Alex FERGUSON’s goal meant that the second leg ended at 2-1, 2-2 on aggregate.
In extra time VILLA quickly shot the home side into the lead only for FERGUSON to again level the tie at 3-3. Unfortunately right at the end of extra time Real Zaragoza regained the lead through VILLA and the Pars were out 4-3 on aggregate.
As had happened in Bilbao the previous season, Dunfermline left the field to a standing ovation from the appreciative home support. Real Zaragoza went on to defeat Leeds United in the semi final and lost to Barcelona after extra time in the two legged Fairs Cup final.
REAL ZARAGOZA: Giicoechea: Violeta, Irusquieta, Santamaria, Isasi, Pais, Santos, Lapetra, Villa, Canario, Marcelino
SCORERS: Santos (57), Marcelino (83), Villa (92, 118)
DUNFERMLINE: Eric Martin: Willie Callaghan, John Lunn, Jim Thomson, Jim MacLean, Tommy Callaghan, Alex Edwards, Alex Smith, Alex Ferguson, Bert Paton, George Peebles,
SCORER: Ferguson (89, 102).
REFEREE: G D’Agostino (Italy)
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- 1965: Athletic Bilbao 2 Dunfermline 1
- 1961: Dunfermline 4 St Patricks Athletic 1
- 1969: Bordeaux 2 Dunfermline 0
- 1968: Dunfermline 1 Manchester City 1