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The 9 Biggest Margins in Champions League Finals (Part II)

Manchester United 1968 European Cup winners

Manchester United and Real Madrid pulled out the same trick of winning 4-1 in overtime.

After tackling the finals with four goals between the two teams,


• Man United won ten years after Munich disaster
• Prati the third player with a hat-trick
• Madrid crushes Spanish sides

we will discuss those title deciders that saw a three-goal margin favouring the winners. The last of those came twelve months ago, when it seemed once again that Atletico would be able to capture their first ever Champions League title, only to be denied by Real Madrid in the last seconds, as any punter playing at online gambling sites in the EU remembers.

Manchester United v Benfica 4-1, 1968

Ten years after the Munich disaster, that prevented the Busby Babes to conquer Europe, Manchester United went all the way in the competition to beat a Benfica side featuring world class Eusebio in the Wembley Stadium. United were playing without their best goal scorer, the injured Denis Law. The game was pretty much eventless until team captain Bobby Charlton took the lead for United in the second half, to be equaled by Jaime Graca.

The game went to overtime, where arguably the best player in the history of Manchester United, global football’s first superstar George Best regained the lead with a beautiful solo goal. Brian Kidd added one more a couple of minutes later with Charlton completing the victory. Thus, a year after Celtic’s success, Man United became the second Northern European and the first English team to capture the European Cup title.

AC Milan v Ajax 4-1, 1969

Twelve months later and two years before Ajax started their run of three European wins in a row, Rinus Michels’ team were hammered by a Milan side with previous winners Gianni Rivera and Giovanni Trapattoni in their midfield. Ajax became the first Dutch team to reach the final, however their irresistible total football were already in the making then.

Therefore it wasn’t a surprise for anyone who bet on sports in the UK that Milan won the title decider confidently. The prolific forward, Pieroni Prati scored a hat-trick, becoming only the third player in the history of the Champions League finals to do so, joining Real Madrid’s Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo de Stefano who both bagged three – in Puskas’ case four – in 1960 against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Real Madrid v Valencia 3-0, 2000

Steve McManaman 2000 CL final
For the first time ever in 2000, two teams from the same nation made it to the final of the European Cup/Champions League. Therefore it was expected to be at least a tight contest, if not a thrashing performed by Valencia, being the hottest side in Europe at the moment, while the Blancos were struggling for long in the campaign.

However, Vicente del Bosque’s 3-5-2 master plan made able Real to dominate midfield and control the flanks, thus Valencia were incapable to utilize on their quick counterattacking game. A first half header from Fernando Morientes and a marvelous jumping strike from Steve McManaman put Real ahead by two, before Raúl, who was left unmarked with an empty half ahead of him completed the scoreline. That victory was Madrid’s second Champions League title in three years, and the first piece of silverware won by freshly appointed club manager Del Bosque.

Porto v AS Monaco 3-0, 2004

It was somehow similar with the final four years later, when an impressive Monaco capable of spectacular football was easily dispatched by Jose Mourinho’s disciplined Porto that won the UEFA Cup against Celtic in the previous year. Both sides were referred as underdogs in
gambling news during the competition, however, Porto were able to eliminate Manchester United, while Monaco knocked out Real Madrid and Chelsea eventually on their way.

Team captain Ludovic Giuly provided chances for Monaco in the first act of the game until he had to be substituted being injured halfway through the first half. Porto, being only occasionally dangerous on the break, took the lead towards the end of the first half, and that turned the game over. As Monaco, after working their way back from the shock of losing their best player and going one goal down, were desperately looking for an equalizer, Porto finished the game off with two counterattacks between the 71st and the 75th minutes. After 1987, the Dragons won their second Champions League final to bid Mourinho farewell in the best possible way.

Porto 2004 CL winners Mourinho

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid 4-1, 2014

Last year’s final was another opportunity for Atletico Madrid, however, as 40 years before, they failed in the last minutes again. In 1974, Bayern Munich equalized against them in the 120th minute to force a rematch, while this time city rivals Real Madrid canceled out their one-goal lead in the 93rd minute via Sergio Ramos.

With no more substitutes to use, having taken off the injured Diego Costa after eight minutes, Diego Simeone was unable to add fresh legs to their exhausted team in overtime. Real Madrid had the momentum though and they cried havoc for the last ten minutes of extra time as Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo all scored, delivering La Decima, the tenth title in club history. This was their fourth victory in the Champions League era, and they crushed a Spanish opponent in the final once again.

Though many punters wagering at online sportsbooks expect something similar this year, with Barcelona being strong favourites, Juve have useful weapons to make it a far more balanced game than the ones listed. It would be a huge surprise if they managed to capture the title though, and thus it seems likely that Barca would pull out a victory by scoring one or two goals more than the Old Lady.

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