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1960/61: Eagles soar to end Madrid monopoly

After five years of Real Madrid CF dominance, SL Benfica finally wrested the European Champions' Club Cup away from the Spanish capital, though FC Barcelona were to run them close in the final at Berne's Wankdorf Stadium.

José Águas lifts the trophy after Benfica's 1960/61 European Cup success
José Águas lifts the trophy after Benfica's 1960/61 European Cup success ©Getty Images

SL Benfica 3-2 FC Barcelona

Football's muses had been kind to Real Madrid CF. But by 1960/61, its monopolies' commission had tired of the men in white. So the mantle of power moved from one Iberian capital to another, Lisbon.

In fact, SL Benfica did not even have to beat the holders; that task fell to FC Barcelona, who succeeded where they had failed the previous year, eliminating the Merengues 4-3 on aggregate in the first round. Two goals from Spanish international Luis Suárez made Barcelona the first team to avoid defeat in Madrid in the competition's history, and they followed that result, a 2-2 draw, with a 2-1 triumph at Camp Nou. Further victories, over SK Hradec Králové in the quarter-finals and Hamburger SV in the semis (albeit after a replay), then sealed the Catalan side's status as favourites. Benfica had other ideas, though.

They had enjoyed comfortable wins against Újpesti TE, AGF Århus and SK Rapid Wien. Indeed, the most serious scenario Bela Guttmann's team faced was the crowd trouble in Vienna which caused their semi-final second leg to be abandoned with Benfica 4-1 up on aggregate. The final in Berne would be a much closer affair. Sandor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor scored for Barcelona in the same stadium where, seven years earlier, they had lost a FIFA World Cup final with Hungary. But goals in between - and against the run of play - from José Águas, Mario Coluna and an own goal from Antonio Ramallets wrested the trophy from Spanish hands. The Eagles had taken flight.