The Guardian match report

Smith goal ends an era with triumph

Wednesday May 25, 1977

Liverpool gained their ultimate reward for 13 years of dogged perseverance in Continental competitions when they became the second English and third British club to win the European Cup, beating Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 in the final in Rome.
After taking the lead and dominating the first half, they conceded a goal early in the second and for a time were in danger of being overwhelmed by the West German champions formidable attacking skill. But Tommy Smith put them back in front with his first goal of the season, probably the last and certainly the most important of his long career at Anfield, and Neal completed a famous British victory with a penalty seven minutes from the end.
As the game finished, the 24,000 Liverpool supporters who had regaled the Olympic stadium throughout with songs from home, silencing the German followers and reducing the Italian section of the audience almost to the role of intruders, reacted not with relief but with the jubilation of those who had known all along that the result would be right. Indeed, for the major part of the game there was little doubt that Liverpool would win.
In some ways the match followed the course that many had predicted for last Saturday's FA Cup final. At times Gladbach produced some breathtaking moments in attack and after they had drawn level, Bonhof, the outstanding individual of the night, looked as if he might haul the Germans to victory.
But their defence made error after error, each one more elementary than the last. Whereas Bayern Munich, winners of the European Cup for the previous three years, usually had Beckenbauer to correct their mistakes, Gladbach were always in danger of being severely punished for Wittkamp's weakness in the air, Klinkhammer's carelessness, and the fact that on a warm, heavy evening Vogts was worn down by Keegan's speed and quick changes of determination.
In the end Beckenbauer's successor as West German captain gave away a weary penalty by bringing down his opposite number in the England team to finish any hope that Gladbach might have had of achieving yet another remarkable West German escape. Keegan's performance against Vogts could well have persuaded Hamburg that it is worth their while going some way towards meeting Liverpool's price for him.
While the german team were clearly no Bayern, they hit a post before Liverpool scored, and might have had another two goals but for the quick reactions of Clemence. But no one could by any stretch of the imagination deny the English champions their full credit

Copyright - The Guardian

Article links

  • 3 - 1 Borussia Moenchengladbach


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