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1972-04-05: Inter Milan 0-0 Celtic, European Cup
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1971 - 1972 | 1971-1972 Pictures|
- Stuffy Celts silence 85,000 crowd in San Siro
- Celtic have injury crisis - McGrain,Hay, Hood, Quinn and Deans all injured
- Celtic's third ECSF in six years
- Italian press are amazed by Scots-Italian Lou Macari and follow him everywhere.
Teams:Inter Milan: Vieri, Bellugi and Facchetti; Bertini, Oriali and Burgnich; Jair and Pellizzaro; Boninsegna, Mazzola and Frustalupi. Sub: Ghio
Celtic: Williams, Craig and Brogan (McCluskey 62); Murdoch, McNeill and Connelly; Johnstone and Dalglish; Macari, Callaghan and Lennox Subs: Connaghan Hay
Referee: Erich Linemayr (Austria)
- Match Report (see end of page below)
The Glasgow Herald Monday April 3 1972Sports News
By Raymond Jacobs
Celtic’s European problems increase with Quinn injury
The extraordinary run of injuries to Celtic players in general and their left backs in particular continued on Saturday when Jimmy Quinn took a leg knock in the first 10 minutes of the game against Partick Thistle.
It was small wonder that Jock Stein said yesterday, on the eve of Celtic's departure for the first leg of the European Cup against Internazionale: — "We would like to have gone better prepared."
Quinn was able to play the match out, but yesterday he joined in the intensive programme of treatment and training plans already laid down by Stein for David Hay and Jim Brogan, both of whom have been at left back in recent matches, as well as Harry Hood.
Hay, Brogan, and Hood began their crash course towards recovery when they trained immediately after Saturday's match. Yesterday Quinn joined them for two sessions and before the Celtic party leave for Italy this morning the four players will have yet another at Parkhead. Jimmy Johnstone also did some light work yesterday.
All, are of course included in the pool of 20 players, the others being the team who beat Thistle, plus Denis Connaghan, Pat McCluskey, Kenny Dalglish, Lou Macari, Paul Wilson, and Ward White, a young inside forward who is being given his first experience of a trip to the Continent.
The absence of five regular first-team members –Dalglish was substitute on Saturday and Macari was rested — did not prevent Celtic from strengthening still further their hold on a seventh consecutive league championship. Stein was glad that his players were able to have a game and, despite the atrocious conditions, gave a better performance than usual with a European game in the offing.
Everything must hang fire until the fitness of all the players has been assessed: Stein did however, single out Macari for special mention by saying:—"He's got a lot of work to do on Wednesday." otherwise, Stein could only add at this stage:—"I know what we want to do, but we can only wait to see what players are available to us to do it."
Celtic will reach Milan about lunchtime and, after having checked in at their hotel on the shore of Lake Como, some 30 miles from the city, they will return there this evening for their only look at the San Siro Stadium, where the match on Wednesday will be played.
Meanwhile, Inter went down 1-2 to Cagliari in a league game brought forward 24 hours to allow them an extra day to prepare for their meeting with Celtic. Their defeat dropped Inter into sixth place in the Italian championship, a situation that can be guaranteed to make them that much more desperate to win this tie and then the European Cup itself, the Italian equivalent of the Holy Grail. The Glasgow Herald Thursday April 6 1972
Celtic’s policy of containment pays dividends in Milan
From Raymond Jacobs : Milan, Wednesday
Celtic gave a splendid display of concentration and determination—two necessary tactics—here tonight, and by holding Inter Milan to a goalless draw in the San Siro stadium must have given themselves a marvellous opportunity of reaching the final of the European Cup for the third time.
At Parkhead in a fortnight the sides meet again in the second leg of their semi-final tie, and it is bound to be a different Celtic then, not only in the way they approach the game, but in the composition of the team.
But this one, still inexperienced in several positions at this level of football, achieved all that was asked of them. As a spectacle the match was not particularly entertaining or exciting for the 85,000 spectator who started the game in an uproar of cheering and fireworks and ended it whistling in derision.
But of course the result was eminently satisfying for Celtic. On a mild, dry night they rose to their task splendidly. Every man played his part, not least McCluskey, who, with only a game and a half of senior football behind him, was sent on as substitute for Brogan for the closing half-hour of the game.
What might be described as Celtic's aggressive defending turned this particular trick for them. They broke up lnter's deliberate style and now and again put Vieri’s goal in danger, as if to remind lnter that Celtic's relatively few concerted attacks could not be taken lightly.
Inter turned out to be much less than the formidable team they were a decade ago. They seemed to rely almost completely on Mazzola to make the openings, and for Boninsegna to finish them off. They very seldom looked capable of scoring and it was an indication of Celtic's approach that several times Johnstone was back in his own penalty area helping out his defence.
Johstone's contribution was significant, and although it might seem unfair to single individuals out on what was a comprehensive team success, nevertheless Connelly, McNeill and Murdoch took the eye most frequently.
As the first half developed it became clear that Celtic's tactics were to be the same safe and sensible ones they adopted last month in Budapest. Murdoch, Dalglish Callaghan and Johnstone were the midfield four dispersed about the field to contain.
Macari was the only constant target man with Lennox and Callaghan coming through when they could, and even Connelly who, near half time had Celtic’s only real shot in the first 45 minutes. Nevertheless at that point Celtic were ahead of Inter on corners.
Inter had their match plans disrupted to some extent this morning when a UEFA decision suspended Bedin for having two cautions against him from previous European Cup games. But Inter’s approach was much as expected, slow careful movements ending in sharp forward thrusts for goal.
Celtic however were hardly ever deceived by this approach. They marked closely, tackled quickly and largely avoided committing what is the great sin in the eyes of Continental referees, taking a man from behind. The result was almost complete frustration for Inter.
Inter relied almost entirely on Mazzola to make their labouring machine tick over with smoothness. The skilful inside forward was at the heart of Inter’s three really dangerous moves in the first half, and from the second of these Williams made a great save, catching Pellizzaro’s shot in mid-air as he dived to his left.
When the second half began Inter immediately tried to build up a stronger pressure on Celtic. But they had as little success as before although they did come close twice in the first few minutes.
Williams had to get down very quickly to a cross from Jair and then Boninsengna broke away from Connelly with the ball and McNeill had to come running across to block the centre’s shot at the last moment.
With half an hour left to play McCluskey was sent on for Brogan and so was really thrown in at the deep end. Almost at once Macari, put in the clear by Craig shot for goal, and the ball ricocheted off Burgnich for a corner.
Inter had the look about them now of haunted men and Ghio was sent on for Pellizzaro. Again Inter tried to turn the screw more heavily on Celtic and in a furious period of activity around Celtic’s goal Connelly headed off the line.
The rest of the game was as frustrating for Inter as it had been all along and Celtic were not under as much strain as Inter had tried to subject them to for the first half hour of the second half. Eventually time ran out for Inter and Celtic’s basic purpose had been achieved.
The Scotsman, Thursday April 6 1972
Only one word for it – “magnificent”
By John Rafferty, Milan, Wednesday
Celtic, in a memorable night of high-tension football, survived the terror of Milan’s San Siro stadium, and took a heartening no-scoring draw to the second leg of this European Cup semi-final tie. They are outstanding favourites now to go to their third final.
A measure of their achievement is that only two other clubs, one the great Real Madrid at their best, have managed to draw in the 18 European Cup-ties Inter have played on this ground.
Celtic, stricken by injuries to defenders, had further misfortune when Brogan broke down; and with half an hour to go, Stein had to send on young Pat McCluskey who has played but one and a half games for Celtic's first team. Surely no youngster has ever been so tested as to be thrown into this stadium which is the terror of even the most experienced; yet he settled to play with the assurance and skill which one has come to expect from Stein’s “babes”.
This was a drawing-board performance by Celtic. Stein according to his latest thinking, set them to defend in the middle of the field, to hold the ball there and tie up the game. This they did brilliantly, and especially in the first half.
Murdoch was the key man there, but Callaghan, with running and tackling and precise passing played above himself; and Johnstone ran miles in linking the play. It was brilliant tactical work against the European game’s great tacticians and there was not a weak link anywhere in the Celtic formation. Little Lou Macari was left to carry the weight of the attack in a game that was stern but never tough. He took a beating and shirked nothing.
The match was transformed in the second half when Inter, unlike them attacked with everything they had and as Celtic had done in Lisbon on their last memorable meeting in the final.
Celtic then lost some of their elegance in the midfield; but those two masters in the middle of the defence—Billy McNeill and George Connelly—could not be drawn, nor beaten. It was one of the Celtic captain's greatest matches, and behind him the goalkeeper, Evan Williams, was safe and cool in the white-heat as if it were a training session.
Inter were a great attacking team to the last half hour, contrary to their reputation. That smooth midfield man, Mazzola, pushed in on top of his forwards and found pace and stamina we thought had long since gone. The renowned Boninsegna tried to shake clear of the tight marking of McNeill and Connelly, and Pellizzaro chafed beside him seeking space that never showed, and eventually, he was taken off and Ghil was sent on to try and do better.
The final half hour seemed interminable and the hands of the great clock above the terracing seemed to drag as the noise of the frantic Inter fans increased until it seemed to press down hammering at our eardrums; and Inter responded to it, but could make nothing of this Celtic defending.
And always, Celtic were ready to break. Murdoch striding through the middle; Callaghan, going on long runs up the left; Craig, overlapping on the right, using the space given him by Inter playing no right winger.
Then came Jock Stein, grinning all over the face that has shown such strain this week as the injury problems crippled his defence. He heId out his lands and cried: "There is only one word for that — magnificent!”
There was no one to argue with him. He continued: "We are now in the same position as when we last drew in this stadium against AC Milan. Now we can only knock ourselves out.” He was entitled to his moments of satisfaction, for he could have asked for no better a result. He had played for the no-scoring draw and got it.
The Inter coach, Invernizzi, had told his team they must score; and they had failed. There was no doubt who was the happier manager.
There had been much satisfying football in this tie, but—and this might seem a contradiction—there had been few goal attempts. The reason was Celtic’s success in concentrating the play in the midfield. In the first half there was a fine shot from Boninsegna which Williams saved with such composure that we knew his eye was in; and so it proved to be.
Yet one has to say that this game survived the lack of goals and the lack of action by the goalkeepers. The organisation and the elegance of the midfield play was satisfying, as was the fierce goalmouth incidents in the second half when McNeill and Connelly were defending so desperately.
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