Inter were an incredible side. They were top of the Italian league and aiming for their fourth title win in five seasons. The one time they lost was after a play-off. The European Cup had become as much their domain as the Italian title. Having won it in 1964 and 1965, they lost the previous season’s semi-final in controversial manner to Real Madrid after some debatable refereeing. Reigning champions, Real, would suffer retribution, losing home and away to Inter in the ’67 quarter final. No team in European history had been so dominant. Real won five European Cups in a row but could not combine that with the kind of domestic domination this Inter team enjoyed.
On the morning on 25 May 1967 they were truly the most formidable team in history.
The game has to be seen to be believed. We won the European Cup, you know that, but HOW we won it is the most startling thing. I was a teenager when the first ‘video recorded’ arrived in the house. Soon thereafter a copy of The Celtic Story was purchased. I knew the legend but nothing prepared me for the onslaught, I’d never seen a football team destroy opponents in this way.
A CQN’er kindly prepared the stats for us:
Total shots – Celtic 45, Inter 3
Shots on target – Celtic 16, Inter 3
Shots off target – Celtic 29 (3 against the woodwork), Inter 0
Possession – Celtic 64%, Inter 36%
Crosses into opponents box – Celtic 40, Inter 4
Corners – Celtic 10, Inter 0
Successful passes – Celtic 310, Inter 224
Misplaced passes – Celtic 49, Inter 79
Passbacks to goalkeeper – Celtic 7, Inter 20
Fouls Committed – Celtic 19, Inter 21
Offsides – Celtic 5, Inter 1
No prizes for guessing the top two passers, Bobby Murdoch (60) and Bertie Auld (51) but it surprised me that John Clark and Jim Craig came joint third with 43 each, considerably higher than Tommy Gemmell (27), next on the list.
Someone suggested to me that the European Champions tournament had been devalued by a team winning by ‘parking the bus’ in front of their own goal. I disagree. This is football, spoiling has always been part of the game and the Champions Final is not always pretty, which makes the special times all the more special.
Someone lifts that cup every year, but few have done so with such devastating style as the Lisbon Lions.