There’s a story I’ve been meaning to write for some time about the Red Star Belgrade team of the early 1970s and how it was one of the very best sides in history never to win the European Cup. Bill Shankly could certainly vouch for its credentials after his Liverpool team was outclassed home and away when the pair met in the Second Round of the European Cup in 1973.
The quality of play from both teams was exceptional as was the standard of the goals, all six of them scored over the two legs – four by Red Star and two by Liverpool. It gives us the unusual situation in which both legs qualify for our A Game Of Great Goals regular feature. This post focuses on the first leg in Belgrade.
Red Star dominated the first half of the tie with Liverpool’s defending looking increasingly ragged. Just as it looked as if the English visitors might reach half-time with the game still scoreless, up popped Slobodan Janković. The Yugoslav international midfielder is well-placed outside the box to collect a clever back heel by a teammate and then arrows a rocket of a shot past the helpless Ray Clemence.
Vladislav Bogićević extended the lead early in the second half with another super hit, this time peeling away from the defence, letting a floated cross drop over his shoulder and firing a controlled volley into the net. Liverpool looked down and out until right back Chris Lawler pulled a goal back on 72 minutes. A Liverpool corner is headed away unconvincingly by a home defender only as far as Lawler who threads a shot with his weaker foot through a crowd of players and into the corner of the net. It’s less spectacular than the Red Star goals but is technically impressive in its own right.
Look out for the three great goals from the Anfield return in a future edition of A Game Of Great Goals.