Juventus 1-0 Athletic Club Bilbao
Athletic Club Bilbao 2-1 Juventus
Churruca 11, Carlos 78; Bettega 7)
(agg: 2-2, Juventus win on away goals)
It was third time lucky for Juventus FC in the 1976/77 competition. What the Italian side had twice failed to do in Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals, they achieved with victory over Athletic Club Bilbao in the UEFA Cup final. It was they, not the Spanish side, who claimed a first European trophy.
Giovanni Trapattoni's team comprised the youthful talents of Gaetano Scirea, Marco Tardelli and Roberto Bettega. Yet against Manchester City FC, Manchester United FC and FC Shakhtar Donetsk, they relied on home form to get them through despite away defeats. In fact, the team that really caught the eye were Queen's Park Rangers FC. The Londoners scored 26 goals before losing out to AEK Athens on penalties in the last eight. The Greek side then succumbed to Juventus in the semi-finals.
Bilbao dominated the other half of the draw, helped in part by the wave of nationalist feeling sweeping the Basque country. Their San Mamés ground was no place for visitors, and AC Milan were duly despatched 4-1 in the third round. The quarter-final tie against FC Barcelona was a closer affair, which Bilbao edged 4-3 on aggregate thanks to Javier Irureta's double in a Camp Nou draw. Yet the luck then required to beat RWD Molenbeek on away goals deserted Bilbao when they needed it most.
Juventus travelled to Spain for the final second leg with a single-goal cushion given them by Tardelli, but when Bettega doubled the lead after just seven minutes, they were sitting pretty. Further goals from Irureta and Carlos Ruiz brought consolation to Bilbao, but the cup was off to Italy.
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