Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cup Winner's Cup 1972 1973 Milan AC Leeds United

16 May 1973
Kaftanzoglio Stadium, 
Attendance: 40,154
Referee: Christos Michas

With the Wembley defeat by Sunderland still dogging them, rumours that Don Revie was to leave the club, the suspensions of Allan Clarke and Billy Bremner and an injury to Johnny Giles, it was a deflated and depleted Leeds United who prepared to contest the European Cup-winners' Cup Final in Salonika against the might of AC Milan. Thunder and heavy rain greeted the teams as they stepped out into the new Kaftatzoglio Stadium in northern Greece. It was to prove an appropriate backcloth for an infamous match. After only four minutes, the referee curiously penalized Paul Madeley for an infringement and Luciano Chiarugi saw his free-kick clip a United defender and brush one of his own forwards before hitting the base of a post and going in. 

 Once in front, the Italians retreated to their own penalty area and did not appear to mind how they stopped Leeds as referee Christos Michas ignored a succession of fouis, much to the anger of both the Leeds and Greek supporters in the crowd. Mick Jones and Peter Lorimer were both flattened in the penalty area, a Paul Reaney cross was blatantly handled by Romeo Benetti and a host of shots and headers ail went desperately close. United's frustration finally boiled over minutes from the end when Norman Hunter was hacked down from behind by Gianni Rivera and retaliated. In the confused mêlee which followed, Hunter and one of the Italians, Sogliano, were ordered off. It was a bitter end to a bitter season.

Don Revie brushed aside talk that AC Milan, a point ahead of Juventus and Lazio at the top of the Italian league, would be more concerned with winning the national championship than the Cup Winner's Cup: 'Milan will want to win this cup first and win the title after-wards.' For Leeds, Mick Bates, Joe Jordan, Frank Gray and Paul Madeley stood in for Bremner, Clarke, Giles and Eddie Gray. To add to Revie's problems, Giles failed a fitness test on a hamstring strain. A minor source of encouragement was the raucous support of a 45,000-strong crowd at the new Kaftatzoglio Stadium.  Jack Mansell, a former Rotherham United manager then in charge of one of Salonika's three Greek First Division sides, told the press that the locals were 'Leeds United daft. 

 There was tremendous disappointment here when they lost the FA Cup Final,' he added, rather improbably. 'Ail my players are Leeds fans and three of my players actually cried.' A thunderous deluge greeted the teams as they took the field. It provided a fitting backcloth to a tempestuous match, remembered now mainly for the scandalous performance of referee Christos Michas. (The Unforgiven book)

AC Milan: 
Vecchi; Sabadini, Zignoli, Anquilletti, Turone, Rosato(Dolci), Sogliano, Benetti, Bigon, Rivera, Chiarugi.
Leeds United: 
Harvey; Reaney, Cherry, Bates, Yorath, Hunter, Lorimer Jordan Jones F.Gray(McQueen), Madeley.



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