The story of Spurs 1963 European Cup-Winners' Cup win - Round Two (Quarter-Final) v Slovan Bratislava
Brian Judson wrote this series on the fortieth anniversary of these events
It may seem strange to younger readers, but there was a time
when European football did NOT dominate the football calendar. Dates
of matches were not pre-arranged and clubs were left to make their own
Having beaten Glasgow Rangers in the previous round, Spurs had been
paired with Slovan Bratislava, a Czech team. Spurs played the first leg
away on March 5th 1963.
Spurs did not play well and were, in fact, lucky to only lose 2-0. The
Czechs wasted a number of chances to boost the aggregate and Spurs
knew they had been let off the hook. Only Brown, in goal, Marchi,
who was deputising for the injured Blanchflower, and Mackay played
anything like their normal form.
The Czechs went ahead after 30 minutes. Hrdlicka sent Kral away
down the left wing, where he deceived Baker, before centering the ball
to Cvetler, who easily slammed the ball behind Brown.
The Czechs went further ahead ten minutes after the break. White made
the first mistake with a feeble back pass and Baker compounded the error
with a square pass across his goalmouth. Mraz and Mravcik swapped
passes before the latter forced the ball home.
The pitch was very soggy which did not help Spurs to play their normal
game. But manager Nicholson made no attempt to blame the pitch but
quite frankly admitted his side had not played well.
Slovan Bratislava 2 Spurs 0 - Attendance:- 32,000
The second leg was played on March 14th 1963. There was never any
doubt about the outcome. A crowd of 61,504 created such a din the
Czechs were a beaten side even before they emerged from their
dressing room. Right from the start, Spurs attacked and Schroif, the
Slovan goalkeeper, was soon being battered by Bobby Smith. He
quickly became a quivering jelly.
Spurs had to wait until the 31st minute before they scored their first
goal of the night. A throw-in taken by Marchi was pushed back to
Mackay by White. Mackay chested the ball down and lashed the
ball into the Slovan goal.
Seven minutes later, Spurs were level. Greaves, in midfield, pushed
an awkward ball out to Cliff Jones, on the wing. Jones quickly
passed the ball back to Greaves, who evaded a Czech defender,
drew Schroif and plonked the ball into the goal.
The roars had hardly subsided before Spurs went ahead on aggregate.
Jones sent Saul away. Saul steadied himself and skied a centre to
Bobby Smith, who thumped a header behind Schroif, who was
literally shaking in his boots as Smith leapt to head the ball.
Schroif defied the other Spurs players until well into the second
half. It was just the lumbering Smith he was terrified of. But one
sensed Spurs had not finished.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Schroif punched a ball intended
for either Smith or Jones away from his goal. The ball ran loose to
Greaves, who chipped the ball into the open goal.
In the 75th minute, Spurs scored the fifth of the night. Marchi sent
in a centre which Jones reached and headed the ball into the net
before Schroif could react.
A minute later, Popluhar was caught in possession by White, who
ran on to volley the ball behind the dithering Schroif. The rout was
Spurs 6 Slovan Bratislava 0 (Aggregate Spurs 6 Solvan Bratislava 2) - Attendance:- 61,504
It was a dreadful night as it was raining but Spurs seemed much
happier on their own mudheap than they had in Bratislava. The
main point was Spurs were through to the Semi-Final stage,
which would be played in April.
· Introduction to the Cup-Winners Cup series
· Round One - Spurs beat Rangers 8-4 on aggregate.
· Semi-Final - Spurs beat OFK Belgrade 5-2 on aggregate.
· The Final - Spurs beat Athletico Madrid 5-1.
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