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SOCCER

Sir Alex Ferguson, the last coach to beat Real Madrid in a major final

The Scot beat Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid at the Ullevi with Aberdeen in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final - 39 years ago!

Update:
Sir Alex Ferguson, the last coach to beat Real Madrid in a major final
Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Beating Real Madrid in Europe is one of the toughest things in football, but beating them in a final has proven practically impossible over the past four decades. Los blancos have played in several finals but haven’t lost one since the early 1980s. Liverpool were the last team to deny them the European Cup in 1981, but the last coach to serve Madrid a defeat in a European final was Sir Alex Ferguson - not with Manchester United, with Aberdeen.

The Scottish club was Fergie’s third coaching job after stints at East Stirlingshire and St. Mirren. He joined the Dons in ‘78 and made history during his eight years at Pittodrie. Under him, the team won the Drybrough Cup, four Scottish Cups, one Scottish League Cup and two of the biggest triumphs in the club’s history - the European Cup Winners’ Cup after beating Real Madrid and the UEFA Super Cup, beating Hamburg.

European campaign

The Scots reached the final after beating Tottenham, Bayern and Genk. Madrid’s route to the final saw them go past Újpest, Inter Milan and Austria Vienna. At the Ullevi in Gothenburg Ferguson’s Aberdeen faced off against Alfredo Di Stéfano’s Madrid for the trophy.

Eric Black put Aberdeen on front on seven minutes, slotting in a loose ball from a corner but Madrid were back level on the quarter hour when Juanito converted from the spot. In extra-time, John Hewitt made it 2-1 with a diving header to win the match and lift the trophy.

That night, 39 years ago this month, turned out to be the last time Real Madrid lost a European final.

Since then, Real Madrid have won every single European final they have played in, without fail. They lifted their seventh Champions League after beating Juventus in Amsterdam in 1998, a couple of years later they denied Valencia in Paris; the ninth European crown arrived in Glasgow in 2002 with Zidane’s famous volley against Bayer Leverkusen; la Décima and Undécima came with victories over Atlético Madrid in Lisbon and Milan. In Cardiff, beat Juventus 4-1 to lift the trophy again and the win over Liverpool was Madrid’s eighth Champions League in 24 years.

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