UEFA.com delves into the archives of Turkish newspaper Milliyet to reflect on Fenerbahçe SK's 1975/76 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round humbling by UEFA Europa League semi-final opponents SL Benfica.
17/09/1975: SL Benfica 7-0 Fenerbahçe SK, first leg
Times were changing at Benfica in 1975/76, the first season without Eusébio. Coached by Mário Wilson, it was a young and fresh team who faced a Fenerbahçe side led by two-time FIFA World Cup winner Didi. Shéu marked his European debut by breaking the deadlock and two more first-half goals from Nené soon followed. The forward completed his hat-trick before Rui Jordão followed suit, in the space of 25 second-half minutes, as Benfica inflicted a defeat that remains Fenerbahçe's heaviest in UEFA competition.
'The Rout: 7-0'
While Fenerbahçe suffered their heaviest defeat in Europe against Benfica, the Estádio da Luz became a place of grievance for coach Didi and his players. Most of the 35,000-strong crowd watched the drama unfold into the dying minutes.
'Fenerbahçe were unrecognisable'
Former Turkey and Galatasaray AŞ coach Coşkun Özarı's column
Despite their undoubted quality, it was impossible to recognise a Fenerbahçe team who lacked understanding and coherence in their approach. Benfica were given an invitation to play, while Fenerbahçe barely left their own penalty area. The away team played with a sweeper in a three-man defence guilty of not marking tightly enough. Furthermore, Benfica's three playmakers were often not closed down, leaving the back line vulnerable.
All the goals they conceded came from wide areas and Benfica were always given freedom to shoot. Fenerbahçe also put their opponents under pressure, yet squandered several opportunities. In my opinion, if Fenerbahçe's marking had been better, such a bitter defeat may not have happened. What sowed the seeds for this loss was a collective inability to close Benfica down, a timid approach in the early exchanges and individual mistakes. The football Benfica played was not perfect but they were allowed to play, pass comfortably and mount attacks at will.
01/10/1975: Fenerbahçe SK 1-0 SL Benfica, second leg
Following Benfica's huge win in the opening instalment, this return leg was a formality. The match was played in Izmir, 420km from Istanbul. Engin Verel at least lifted Fenerbahçe's spirits when he scored 15 minutes from time.
'Engin' earns consolation for Fenerbahçe'
Correspondent Bülent Ulukan
The game was played on a clear and pleasant day and the pitch was in perfect condition. Following the 7-0 defeat by Benfica in the first leg, Fenerbahçe responded strongly by clinching a 1-0 win courtesy of a late goal. The home team impressed with a fluent string of attacks but had to be content with just one goal mainly due to a lack of killer instinct inside the penalty area.
Fenerbahçe's tempo relented in the second half but just as everybody thought the match would end goalless, Engin forced the ball in from close range following a goalmouth scramble.
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