7 May 1986 “Hero of Seville”
Romanian side Steaua Bucuresti won the European Cup beating Barcelona on penalties before a crowd of 70,000 at Seville’s Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. It was the Steaua side who had decided to sacrifice their attacking threat in favour of a stern defense, which couldn’t be penetrated by the Catalans. Doesn’t it sound familiar? The final score after 120 minutes of football remained 0-0 and the match went onto penalties in which the Romanian side won 2-0. Steaua goalkeeper, Helmuth Duckadam (GK in pic) was hailed as the “Hero of Seville” for his outstanding performance throughout the game and his heroics in the penalty shootout which saw him stop all four penalties. This is Steaua's only European success to date.
8 May 1999 “Glass is Half-full”
This day marks the anniversary of one of the English game’s famous last minute goals as on-loan goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scored in the last minute of the game to keep Carlisle up and send Scarborough down. During the 1998-99 season, Carlisle needed a win to stay in the Football League and had to beat Plymouth at home. Scores were level at 1-1 when the clock hit 90 minutes, 5 minutes into stoppage time, Carlisle were awarded a corner and all 22 players were cramped in the box. As the corner was floated in, Plymouth goalkeeper fumbled the ball and the it fell at Glass’ feet. Rest is history now….
9 May 2001 “Accra Stadium Disaster”
On this fateful day, 126 fans died at the Accra Sports Stadium, making it the worst ever sports related disaster in Africa. Hosts Hearts of Oak were playing in the local derby against Asante Kotoko. The visitors were 0-1 up until two late goals by Hearts of Oak turned the match around. The Asante Kotoko fans began ripping the seats off in frustration and started throwing them onto the pitch. The police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd causing a panic and triggering a stampede which led to many deaths. Several others died due to suffocation.
10 May 1986 “Merseyside Derby in the FA Cup Final”
During the 1980s, the two Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton were regarded as the best clubs in the country. The 1986 FA Cup Final was their first ever meeting at that stage of the competition. Liverpool were freshly crowned as league champions and were led by their player-manager Kenny Dalglish. Everton were ready for revenge as Liverpool had won the league title coming from right under their noses. However, the script was in favour of Liverpool this time again as they won 3-1 in the final through a brace from Ian Rush and a Craig Johnston strike. Dalglish’s first season as manager was a huge success as they won the Double. Wonder when we will see that happen again….
11 May 1958 “Puskas Signs for Real Madrid”
Ferenc Puskas was one of the most lethal strikers around at that time. At the age of 31 and slightly overweight, Puskas joined Real Madrid CF on this very day and began a hugely successful career in Madrid. He had featured 182 times in the white jersey and scored 157 goals. He formed an informidable partnership with Alfredo di Stefano and they fired Madrid to 3 European Cups, 5 Spanish Leagues, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 Spanish Cup. Puskas has to his name various individual accolades like the European Player of 20th Century, numerous Pichichi Trophies, and Golden Boot. His name also features in FIFA 100 list. He died on 17 November 2006 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia.
12 May 2005 “Glazers Buy United”
American business man Malcolm Glazer acquired a controlling interest in Manchester United and eventually went onto gain complete ownership of the club. This takeover sparked a wave of protests which are continuing even to this day. Despite enjoying the success of three league titles and one Champions League, the acquisition proved very costly and increased the club’s debt to a staggering £716.5 million by January 2010. Angered over the club’s declining financial state, the supporters staged anti-Glazer demonstrations which famously included adoption of club’s original colours of green and gold.
13 May 2006 “Swiss-cake for Zurich”
On this day in 2006, FC Basel hosted rivals FC Zurich in the last match of the Swiss Super League season. Basel were placed first on the table, 3 points ahead of second placed Zurich. Basel were reigning champions and had won the previous two titles as well, and the visitors needed a win and their superior goal difference would propel them to the title. The match was a hotly contested affair with several hard fouls and crunching tackles. By the end of regulation time, the score was tied at 1-1 but a throw in awarded to Zurich led to a cross into the box which defender Iulian Filipescu (1R in photo) fired past the Basel goalkeeper into the net in the last second of the game! As the Zürich players and team officials celebrated the win, they were attacked by dozens of Basel supporters who poured onto the pitch. Even after the teams left the stadium, fighting continued between hooligans and local police well into the night.
This week also features birthdays of French starlet Jeremy Menez (May 7), World Cup winning Inter defender Lucio (May 8), Spain legend and current manager of Roma, Luis Enrique (May 8); Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman, Dennis Bergkamp (May 10) and Abou Diaby (May 11).