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Snap shot: Ajax overturn 3-1 first-leg defeat

As Paris Saint-Germain take slender hopes to Barcelona, we look back at the only time a club has lost a home European Cup first leg 3-1 and lived to tell the tale: AFC Ajax in 1969.

An image from the European Cup quarter-final replay in Paris
An image from the European Cup quarter-final replay in Paris ©Getty Images

Just once in European Cup history has a team lost the home first leg of a tie 3-1 and lived to tell the tale: AFC Ajax against SL Benfica in the 1968/69 quarter-finals. Johan Cruyff was the inspiration, scoring twice after Inge Danielsson's opener as the Dutch side stormed into a 3-0 lead in Lisbon. José Augusto Torres forced a replay in Paris a fortnight later, where the tie still hung in the balance after 90 minutes. Cruyff struck at the beginning of extra time, though, and two more from Danielsson completed the job.

Legendary Moments: Cruyff makes his mark

1. Johan Cruyff
Cruyff embodied the Dutch 'Total Football' revolution of the early 1970s under Rinus Michels. A supremely talented forward, Cruyff spearheaded Ajax's hat-trick of European Cups between 1971 and 1973 (they lost the 1969 final). He promptly joined FC Barcelona and immediately helped them to their first Spanish title in 14 years, then inspired the Oranje to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final, both times under Michels. He had a spell in the United States and retired after claiming a domestic double with Feyenoord. Cruyff was also a successful coach, guiding Barcelona to European Cup glory in 1992.

2. Humberto Fernandes
Fernandes spent his entire playing career at Benfica, and though he never quite established himself in the side, he was a highly dependable performer. A centre-back, he wore the captain's armband in the Ajax replay despite the fact he was only selected in the absence of the great Mário Coluna. He managed one more season, ending his playing days with a trophy for each of his 11 Eagles campaigns, including the 1961/62 European Cup. He wound down in the lower leagues and died in February 2009 aged 68.

Legendary Moments: Cruyff does it again

3. José Augusto Torres
Known as 'O Bom Gigante' (the Gentle Giant), Portugal centre-forward José Torres was a key member of that great Benfica side of the 1960s. He scored 226 goals in 259 games across 12 season at the club, thriving alongside Eusébio, Coluna and António Simões, before leaving aged 32. He played for nine more years at Vitória FC and Estoril Praia, the last six as player-coach, and later steered Portugal to their first major finals in two decades: the 1986 World Cup. He died in September 2010, aged 72.

4. Piet Keizer
Keizer was a genius on the left wing and formed a formidable partnership with Cruyff. He was a pivotal figure in the Ajax vintage that was built by Michels but which enjoyed much of its success soon after his 1971 departure. Keizer was a one-club man whose career spanned 1961 to 1974. He made 365 league outings for the Amsterdammers, registering 146 goals – fourth on Ajax's all-time list. After hanging up his boots, he became a scout and technical adviser for Ajax.

What happened next: Ajax reach the final, where they met AC Milan ...

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