Liverpool FC 3-2 Club Brugge KV
(Kennedy 59, Case 61, Keegan 65p; Lambert 5, Cool 15)
Club Brugge KV 1-1 Liverpool FC
(Lambert 11p; Keegan 15)
(agg: 4-3 to Liverpool)
When Club Brugge KV met Liverpool FC in the 1976 UEFA Cup final, there was a double at stake. Both had secured domestic titles, so the aim was to cap fine campaigns with European silver. Liverpool, winners three years earlier, had the edge in terms of experience. Yet Brugge were themselves enjoying an era of unprecedented success, which they hoped to mark with a continental trophy. Of the two, they had made the more impressive progress.
Led by the ex-Feyenoord coach Ernst Happel, the Blauw-Zwart had come from behind in rounds one and two, against Olympique Lyonnais and Ipswich Town FC, whom they had trailed 3-0 . They then settled to the task, however, beating the Italian pair AS Roma and Milan AC before sneaking past Hamburger SV 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
It was at this point that Liverpool came into their own after routine wins over Hibernian FC, Real Sociedad, Slask Wroclaw and 1. FC Dynamo Dresden. Their last-four opponents were FC Barcelona, and the Merseysiders showed their mettle by taking a 1-0 lead from Camp Nou which they consolidated with a 1-1 home draw.
A still tougher test awaited them in the final, as Raoul Lambert and Julien Cools gave Brugge the advantage at Anfield. Back stormed Liverpool, though, with three goals in six second-half minutes from Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case and Kevin Keegan. It was that man again - Keegan - who saved his team in the return, equalising Lambert's early strike to give the Reds a 4-3 aggregate triumph. But pity Brugge: it would not be the last time Liverpool denied them on the European stage.