Yes, your eyes have not deceived you. Cardiff City 1-0 Real Madrid.
You may very well take a second look at the above score line. The game was the first leg of the European Cup Winners Quarter-final in 1971. The game was played at Ninian Park, Cardiff on the 10th March 1971.
Almost 50,000 were packed into the ground, on what was one of the Bluebirds’ most memorable nights. The mighty Real Madrid came to Wales and few imagined that Cardiff could win.
The Cardiff team was captained by centre half Don Murray, a Scot who made his debut some years earlier at the age of 17. Leading the attack was Brian Clark, who had formed a lethal partnership up until a few months earlier with John Toshack.
The Bluebirds were not overawed by playing one of the world’s greatest clubs. In the previous two rounds Cardiff had beaten Larnaca (Cyprus) 8-0 on agg. and French team Nantes 7-1 on agg. Cardiff had a pedigree in Europe, losing out to Hamburg in the EWC semi-final 4-3 on aggregate three years earlier.
The Welsh side took the game to Real and in the first half they struck gold.
A beautiful pass from midfielder Bobby Woodruff to local youngster Nigel Rees sent the winger on a run down the left. Rees looking up, saw the centre forward Clark making a move, he sent a perfectly weighted cross into the box. Clark, who seemed to hang in the air like an NBA player, headed the ball home. The crowd went wild and the noise was deafening.
Cardiff held out for the rest of the game and could have added one more. At the final whistle hundreds of young schoolboys ran onto the pitch, something you couldn’t imagine in today’s game.
Sadly, Cardiff City couldn’t match this performance at the Bernabeu, losing on the night 2-0. However, this was an exciting and memorable night for nearly 50,000 fans, including myself who was lucky enough to be in attendance on that historic day.
Kevin McCormack, Pundit Arena.