AFC Ajax 1-0 Juventus
FK Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade
What the rest of the soccer world would learn at the following summer's FIFA World Cup finals in West Germany, Europe knew for sure in May 1973. Namely, that there was something very special about the generation of AFC Ajax players led by Johan Cruyff. The Amsterdam club had written another chapter in gold in the history of the European Champion Clubs' Cup when a 1-0 triumph over Juventus FC in the final in Belgrade made them the first side since Real Madrid CF in the 1950s to lift the famous trophy three years running.
An achievement made all the more remarkable because nine players had figured in all three matches. Yet the narrow margin of this victory - Johnny Rep scored the only goal on four minutes - was no reflection of their overall superiority. More indicative were the 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium which gave them a 3-1 aggregate success over Madrid in the semi-finals; the 4-0 dismantling of FC Bayern München which preceded it; and the easy progress past FC CSKA Sofia in the Second Round.
But while Ajax deserved their star status, there were complaints against Juventus's second billing. Having beaten Újpesti TE on away goals in the quarter-finals, the Turin club were then involved in a controversial semi-final with Derby County FC. The tie was decided in the first leg in Italy, which ended 3-1 to the home side, but the result was marred by English protests about the performance of the German referee.
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