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Spurs v Dukla Prague - European Cup, 1961-62

Spurs' European Cup Campaign - 1961-62
Part Three - Dukla Prague

Brian Judson wrote this series on the 40th anniversary of Spurs' only venture in the fore-runner of the Champions League - The European Cup. The series is being published on Spurs Odyssey 50 years after those events, and has been up-dated accordingly.

The European Cup campaign resumed after its midwinter break when Spurs travelled to Czechoslovakia to play Dukla Prague on 14th February 1962. The Czech champions were no mugs but they only managed to score once against Spurs. Tottenham travelled to Prague with the express intention of ensuring they conceded as few goals as possible. Greaves was ineligible to play as he was not signed until after the qualifying date had passed for the submission of players to UEFA. Blanchflower wore the number 10 shirt but essentially Spurs played with only one striker in the rotund form of Bobby Smith. Spurs played what is known today as 4-3-3 but Smith was essentially on his own up front. Marchi was acting as a sweeper behind the defenders.

The only goal of the game came in the 59th minute when Kucera scored. A shot from Adamec had been blocked by Henry but Kucera pounced on the loose ball to fire the Czechs ahead. Smith had an equaliser disallowed when he headed the ball into the Czech goal but it was disallowed for offside. Jones and Smith were frequently sent flying by some very rugged tackling. Not surprisingly, Smith and Jones were both booked for taking retaliatory action. Smith had his revenge by throwing a snowball at his assailant.

Bill Nicholson pronounced himself satisfied after the game. "I am well satisfied, the plan worked as I expected, especially in the first half, although it wilted a little in the second half," he commented.

Wednesday 14th February, 1962
Dukla Prague 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Attendance:- 64,000

Spurs team:- Brown; Baker, Henry, Norman, Marchi, Mackay, Medwin, White, R. Smith, Blanchflower, Jones

The second leg was played on a freezing cold Monday night, February 26th 1962. There was never any doubt that Spurs would win on the night, despite the snowbound, frost ridden pitch that was bone hard. Smith and Mackay, playing as twin strikers, scored all four goals between them.

Spurs were 2-0 ahead after 15 minutes. The first goal came after 10 minutes when White flicked on a Blanchflower free-kick and Smith hammered the ball home from close range. Five minutes later, White found Mackay, who brought the ball under control with his left foot and smashed the ball into the net with his right foot.

In the opening seconds of the second half, a blunder by Marchi allowed Jelinek to level the scores on aggregate. In effect, the Czech side were ahead because they had succeeded in scoring an away goal. But Spurs were not to be denied their place in the Semi-Final. Five minutes after Jelinek's goal, Smith headed home a super cross from White. A minute later, a crisp free kick taken by Baker was backheaded by Smith to Mackay, who raced into the penalty area and cracked in a beautiful goal with his left foot.

Monday 26th February, 1962
Tottenham Hotspur 4 (2) Dukla Prague 1 (0)
Attendance:- 55,388

Spurs team:- Brown; Baker, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Marchi, Medwin, White, R. Smith, Mackay, Jones

Thereafter, the 60,000 spectators raised the roof as they sung "GLORY GLORY HALLELUJAH! SPURS GO MARCHING ON!". So one sided was the match that Bill Brown was only troubled once, apart from the goal.

Spurs were drawn against Benfica in the Semi-Finals. Everyone thought the winners of this tie would probably go on to win the European Cup. And they were right .... unhappily for Tottenham .....

Cheers, Brian

Spurs v Gornik Zabreze, European Cup - September 1961
Spurs v Feyenoord, European Cup - November 1961
Spurs v Benfica, European Cup - March/April 1962

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