How we beat Europe's leading side in 1968
Fifty years ago today (24 April), Manchester United defeated Real Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.
“We drew Madrid and, of course, everybody was fearing Real in those days,” David Sadler, one of the key men on the night, told MUTV.
“They were very much the leaders in the European matches, starting in the 1950s, and had won everything there was to win in the game, including European Cups and so on.
”They were a major, major force and United, I guess through Matt and Alfredo di Stefano in particular, had a great friendship that grew through the club and fed its way through to the players. We had terrific respect for Real. To get to a semi-final was pretty much an achievement in itself, I guess, but losing at that stage is the worst feeling in football. We were going into the semi-final with a fair amount of hope that we could make the final.
“I remember it being tight. Madrid knew how to play European football - they knew there was a time for being very tight and giving nothing away. They had very talented attacking players but those players knew their jobs. They were a tough, well-organised unit.
”When you say Real Madrid, fast-flowing football and goals galore is probably your first thought but they were a better side than that. They could play to whatever circumstances were required. That's what they did in the first leg and we found it very tough.
“I don't think we played particularly well but we got a goal, a George Best goal, so at least we were going into the second leg with something to defend.”