Benfica's European final pedigree

SL Benfica are back in a European final for the first time in 23 years – remembers their previous eight appearances, only two of which ended in victory.

European Champion Clubs' Cup final regulars in the 1960s, SL Benfica will be back in a continental showpiece for the first time in 23 years when they take on Chelsea FC in this month's UEFA Europa League decider. looks back on the Eagles' previous finals.

1960/61 ECCC: won 3-2 v FC Barcelona
After five years of Real Madrid CF dominance, Benfica finally wrested the European Champion Clubs' Cup away from the Merengues. The balance of power shifted from one Iberian capital to another following a tight affair in Berne. Sandor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor scored for Barcelona. However, goals in between – and against the run of play – for Bela Guttmann's team from José Águas and Mario Coluna, plus an own goal from Antonio Ramallets, took the trophy from Spanish hands. The Eagles had taken flight.

1961/62 ECCC: won 5-3 v Real Madrid CF
Ferenc Puskás scored his second European Cup final hat-trick for Madrid yet was upstaged by Eusébio, whose two goals in Amsterdam maintained Benfica's grip on the prized silverware. Madrid, with Alfredo Di Stéfano, Puskás and Luis Del Sol at their peak, represented a formidable task for Benfica. The Portuguese side were 3-2 down at the break but levelled through Coluna before the rising star, Eusébio, settled the contest with two cannonball strikes.

1962/63 ECCC: lost 2-1 v AC Milan
A third successive final for Benfica, but a very different outcome at Wembley Stadium. A Milan team containing revered names such as Gianni Rivera, Cesare Maldini and Giovanni Trapattoni simply proved too strong for the Fernando Riera-coached Eagles. However, it was the battle between centre-forwards José Altafini and Eusébio that took top billing. While the latter opened the scoring in the first half, Altafini responded emphatically in the second, twice running onto passes from Rivera to give Milan victory.

1964/65 ECCC: lost 1-0 v FC Internazionale Milano
A fourth decider in five seasons and Benfica, now under Elek Schwartz's stewardship, suffered the same fate as against Inter's city rivals two years before. As with the muddy, waterlogged San Siro pitch, so with the manner of victory – this was not a win for the purist. Benfica were undone by the conditions, which stymied their passing game, then by Jair's goal close to half-time. Luck was certainly on the Italians' side from the moment UEFA awarded the final to their home ground.

Sir Matt Busby and Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Matt Busby and Sir Bobby Charlton©Getty Images

1967/68 ECCC: lost 4-1 v Manchester United FC (aet)
The first team to win a tie on the new away goals rule – against Glentoran FC in the first round – Benfica's luck ran out in the final at Wembley, just as it had two years previously in Portugal's FIFA World Cup semi-final with England. Alex Stepney's late save from Eusébio sent the match into extra time after Jaime Graça had cancelled out Bobby Charlton's 54th-minute opener. When Charlton struck a second against Otto Glória's men, the result was beyond doubt, goals from George Best and Brian Kidd merely icing United's cake.

1982/83 UCUP: lost 2-1 v RSC Anderlecht (agg)
Fifteen years after their last appearance in a European showcase, Benfica returned – but still could not clear the final hurdle. Led by Sven-Göran Eriksson, who had landed the UEFA Cup with IFK Göteborg the previous season, Benfica won a domestic league and cup double but fell just short in Europe. Anderlecht had soundly beaten Benfica's rivals FC Porto in the second round and the Belgians repeated the trick when Juan Lozano's 38th-minute equaliser gave them a 1-1 draw at the Da Luz stadium and a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

1987/88 ECCC: lost 6-5 on pens v PSV Eindhoven (0-0 aet)
Pursuing a third European Cup crown, Benfica were denied in agonising circumstances by a PSV side propelled by a bumper crop of Dutch talent. Though the Oranje boom of 1988 peaked with victory for the Netherlands at the UEFA European Championship, this certainly set the ball rolling – at the expense of Toni's Eagles in Stuttgart. An unremarkable final nevertheless had a dramatic denouement. When Hans van Breukelen saved António Veloso's spot kick, Benfica found themselves facing up to a fifth consecutive defeat in a European showpiece.

1989/90 ECCC: lost 1-0 v AC Milan
If 1988 belonged to the Dutch, there was little doubt that 1990 was Italy's year. Not only did they host the World Cup finals, they also provided a temporary home for the three European trophies. With the UEFA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup headed for Juventus and UC Sampdoria respectively, Milan completed an unprecedented grand slam by retaining the European Cup against Eriksson's Benfica. Frank Rijkaard's goal proved enough to overcome uninspired opponents in Vienna. Benfica's losing streak had been extended to six.

ECCC: European Champion Clubs' Cup