Friday, June 13, 2014

13 June 1956 - Wolves Weren't Invited, Apparently

On 13 June 1956, Real Madrid defeated Stade de Reims 4-3 in the very first European Cup Final, held at the Parc de Princes in Paris before a crowd of 38,239.

The tournament was conceived by Gabriel Hanot, a French sports journalist and editor of L'Équipe, who was motivated by the British press declaring Wolverhampton Wanderers "Champions of the World" after the club's string of successful European friendlies.

Real advanced to the Final with wins over Swiss side Servette (7-0 agg.), Yugoslavian team Partizan (4-3 agg.), and AC Milan (5-4 agg.). Reims secured their place in the Final by defeating Denmark's AGF Aarhus (4-2 agg.), Hungary's Vörös Lobogó, and Scotland's Hibernian, the only British team in the tournament (3-0 agg.).

In the Final, Reims took an shocking early lead with a 6th minute goal from defender Michel Leblond and another in the 10th minute from forward Jean Templin. Real equalized before the break with goals from midfielder Alfredo Di Stéfano (14') and forward Héctor Rial (30').

In the second half, Reims again took the lead with a goal from midfielder Michel Hidalgo (62'), but the Spanish side proved stronger down the stretch, getting an equalizer from defender Marquitos (67') before Rial scored the match winner in the 79th minute.

It was the first of five consecutive European Cup titles for Real, who now hold a record ten titles. Reims made it back to the Finals only once, in 1959, where they again lost to Real Madrid.

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