1957/58: Di Stéfano shines for Madrid
Wednesday, 28 May 1958
It took extra time at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels for Real Madrid CF to get the better of AC Milan, Alfredo di Stéfano scoring in his third successive European Champions' Club Cup final before Francisco Gento hit the winner.
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Real Madrid 3-2 AC Milan (aet)
(Di Stéfano 74, Rial 79, Gento 107; Schiaffino 59, Grillo 77)
Roi Baudouin, Brussels
Real Madrid CF were European champions for a third time in 1957/58, yet the campaign was overshadowed by the air tragedy which befell Manchester United FC's Busby Babes in Munich. Eight players were killed, including England internationals Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor, when their plane crashed on take-off after refuelling following the side's quarter-final victory over FK Crvena Zvezda.
With manager Matt Busby also seriously injured, United lost to AC Milan in the semi-finals, despite having rallied to win the first leg 2-1 at Old Trafford. It was not the first time the Italian side - 5-2 aggregate victors here - had struggled through: they had needed a play-off in neutral Zurich to get past SK Rapid Wien in the Preliminary Round.
Madrid, meanwhile, took a much smoother route to the final. The holders hit R. Antwerp FC for six at Chamartín before knocking eight past Sevilla FC, their bridesmaids in the league the year before. They carried this devastating home form into the semi-finals, where Vasas SC were beaten 4-0 before defeating the champions 2-0 in Budapest.
The final at Brussels' Heysel Stadium was a meeting of Europe's heavyweights. Where the Merengues had strengthened with the signing of Stade de Reims striker Raymond Kopa, the Rossoneri could call on South Americans Juan Schiaffino and Ernesto Grillo. In the event, the key man was Alfredo di Stéfano. He scored one of two Madrid equalisers before Paco Gento settled the match in the Spanish side's favour, at 3-2, in the second period of extra time.