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1976 UEFA Cup Final

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Liverpool won the 1976 UEFA Cup Final, beating Belgian side Club Brugge 4-3 on aggregate. The final was a two-legged tie, with Liverpool hosting the first leg at Anfield and Brugge hosting the second leg at their Olympiastadion. In the first leg, Liverpool trailed Brugge 2-0 at half time, however three second half goals- all coming in a six-minute spell, turned the tie around in Liverpool's favour. With a 1-1 draw in Belgium three weeks later, Liverpool sealed a 4-3 aggregate victory and their second UEFA Cup win, following their victory in 1973.

Build-upEdit

Liverpool progressed through the UEFA Cup campaign with some eye-catching and high-scoring performances. They did, however, lose their first game of the competition- a 1-0 defeat in the first round first leg tie against Scottish club Hibernian. A John Toshack hat trick in the return leg though sealed a 3-2 aggregate win and put Liverpool through to the second round. In the second round, Liverpool faced Spanish side Real Sociedad and triumphed 3-1 in the first leg. In the second leg, they blew their opponents away 6-0 to secure a 9-1 aggregate win. In round 3, Liverpool progressed past Polish side Slask Wroclaw with a 5-1 aggregate scoreline, which included a Jimmy Case hat trick in the second leg of the tie. They then beat Dynamo Dresden of East Germany 2-1 on aggregate in round 4 to progress to the semi finals, where they faced Spanish giants Barcelona. A John Toshack goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 lead in the first leg away at the Nou Camp, before the side sealed their place in the final with a 1-1 draw in the return leg.

Brugge sealed their place in the final with hard-fought victories over Lyon, Ipswich Town and Roma in the early rounds, before defeating AC Milan 3-2 in round 4 and then beating Hamburg 2-1 in the semi final to set up the final contest with Liverpool.

First legEdit

The first leg, played at Anfield, started badly for Liverpool, as only five minutes into the match, Phil Neal played a short header back to Ray Clemence that was intercepted by Brugge midfielder Raoul Lambert, who chipped the Reds keeper to put the Belgians 1-0 ahead. Liverpool came back into the match however. Some trickery on the left flank by Kevin Keegan saw the ball fall to Steve Heighway who sent a dipping cross into the box for David Fairclough to chase. The ball alluded Brugge keeper Birgir Jensen and Fairclough chipped the ball back across the face of goal, however no Liverpool player was on hand to tap into the empty net. Shortly after, Keegan forced a fine fingertip save from Jensen with a long-range free-kick as Liverpool pressed. However just 10 minutes after netting the game's opener, Brugge doubled their lead with a well-worked goal finished off by Julien Cools, who scored with a half-volley from around the penalty spot. For the remainder of the first half, Liverpool failed to get themselves back into the match as Brugge continued to attack, however Emlyn Hughes and Tommy Smith stood up strongly to the challenge. Liverpool came close to pulling a goal back just before half time when Tommy Smith took a speculative long-range shot at goal. Keeper Jensen spilled the shot into the path of Ray Kennedy, however his close-range follow up was parried away by Jensen.

Manager Bob Paisley altered his lineup at half-time, bringing on winger Jimmy Case for forward John Toshack. The change worked well, as Case's right wing play unsettled Brugge and Liverpool pressed for their goal. Early in the second half, some heavy pressing in the middle of the park won Liverpool the ball, which broke for Case who was through on goal. His attempted chip of the on-rushing Jensen went agonisingly wide. Liverpool still had to be alert to the Brugge threat however, and Clemence saved well from a low shot from the Dane Ulrik le Fevre. Liverpool again came close when a long ball from Hughes found Keegan on the edge of the box, however his placed finish was saved by the legs of Jensen. Liverpool finally unlocked the Brugge defence on 59 minutes when Heighway on the Liverpool left squared the ball for Kennedy just outside the box to rifle a shot into the top corner of the Brugge net. Just two minutes later, Liverpool were level. Keegan turned expertly on the edge of the area then played in Kennedy in the middle of the box whose shot struck the post, however Case was on hand to tap into an empty net. Liverpool's remarkable comeback was complete on 65 minutes as Heighway won his side a penalty. The Liverpool winger was felled by Brugge captain Fons Bastijns on the edge of the area as he attempted to charge through with referee Ferdinand Biwersi pointing to the spot. The penalty was cooly converted by Keegan as Liverpool took a 3-2 lead. Liverpool saw out the match comfortably, setting themselves up well for the second leg in Brugge. The match paralleled another famous Liverpool fightback- the 2005 Champions League Final- as in both matches, Liverpool saved themselves from defeat after a poor first half with three second half goals, all scored within a six minute period.

Second legEdit

The return leg, played three weeks after the first leg, also began in disappointing fashion for Liverpool. Brugge were awarded a penalty by referee Rudi Glöckner in the 11th minute after Tommy Smith was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. Raoul Lambert stepped up to smash the ball home off the underside of the bar. At this stage, Brugge had the one goal they needed to win the UEFA Cup due to the two away goals they netted at Anfield. However just four minutes later, Liverpool put themselves back in the driving seat. Liverpool won a free kick on the edge of the area that Keegan rifled low into the bottom corner of the net to level the tie 1-1 on the night, and put Liverpool 4-3 ahead on aggregate. This was the first goal Brugge had conceded at home in the UEFA Cup that season. Brugge responded with an attacking onslaught, and Liverpool stationed all of their players apart from Keegan to the backline to repel the attack. Liverpool had one more opportunity to extend their lead before half time however, as Smith volleyed just wide from Kennedy's free kick.

Liverpool persevered with their defensive shape for much of the second half, however just five minutes after the restart, Brugge almost took the lead. Le Fevre and Roger van Gool unlocked the Liverpool defence with some neat interplay, and then fed Lambert whose shot beat Clemence but struck the post. Brugge maintained their attack but could not find a way through. Four minutes from time, Clemence had to be alert to impressively deny Julien Cools with a diving save, and this was to prove to be Brugge's last chance to take the match as the final whistle blew, and Liverpool claimed victory. The win handed Liverpool a League and UEFA Cup double- a feat they had also achieved in 1973. After the match, manager Bob Paisley said of the game: "The second half was the longest 45 minutes of my life. There was an awful lot of pride in this game because we came representing England. We did not let the country down and we are proud of our lads." Despite not netting in the final, John Toshack ended the tournament as Liverpool's top scorer, with six goals.

DetailsEdit

First legEdit

28 April 1976 Liverpool 3-2 Club Brugge Anfield, Liverpool
Kennedy (59), Case (61), Keegan (pen 65) Lambert (5), Cools (15)


Second legEdit

19 May 1976 Liverpool 1-1 Club Brugge Olympiastadion, Bruges
Keegan (15) Lambert (pen 11)


TeamEdit

First legEdit

Starting 11:

Substitutes:

Second legEdit

Starting 11:

Substitutes:

See AlsoEdit

HighlightsEdit

First leg

1976 UEFA Cup Final Highlights - Liverpool V Bruge (1st Leg)06:02

1976 UEFA Cup Final Highlights - Liverpool V Bruge (1st Leg)


Second leg

1976 May 19 Club Brugge Belgium 1 Liverpool England 1 UEFA Cup02:49

1976 May 19 Club Brugge Belgium 1 Liverpool England 1 UEFA Cup


Liverpool F.C. finals
FA Cup: 19141950196519711974197719861988198919921996200120062012

League Cup: 197819811982198319841987199520012003200520122016


European Cup: 1977197819811984198520052007


UEFA Cup: 1973197620012016


European Cup Winners Cup: 1966


UEFA Super Cup:19771978198420012005


Charity/Community Shield:192219641965196619711974197619771979198019821983198419861988198919901992200120022006

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