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1974-12-11: Celtic 3-3 Benfica, UNICEF Challenge
|Match Pictures | Matches: 1974 - 1975 | 1974-1975 Pictures|
- Celtic host glamour challenge match for the UNICEF charity
- Benfica win 5-4 after a penalty shoot out
- Highlights shown on STV that night
- Eusebio is injured ad did not travel
- Barcelona refuse to release Johan Cruyff to play in this game.
- Celtic fans criticised for singing unacceptable songs.
The mighty Benfica of Portugal were Celtic’s opponents in a fund-raising challenge match played in December 1974 for the Children’s Cup (UNICEF Cup). This one off game was the idea of members from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) who were keen to raise cash to boost their work with children in the world’s poorest regions. UNICEF’s Scottish representatives put forward Celtic as ideal hosts for the game due to the club’s charitable origins. Benfica, Portuguese champions and like Celtic regarded as one of the top club’s in Europe, were selected as the opponents.
In a bid to try and boost interest in the game Jock Stein made moves to try and bring Pele and Johan Cruyff to Glasgow to play as guests but ultimately the two superstars were unavailable. However, despite freezing cold conditions, a crowd of more than 30,000 turned up on the night of December 11th to see a thrilling encounter.
Benfica raced into a two goal lead within the first 10 minutes but the home side responded in magnificent style and a penalty from Pat McCluskey and goals from Jimmy Johnstone and Ronnie Glavin gave the Hoops the lead. A late equaliser saw the game finish 3-3 after 90 minutes and a penalty shoot out was held to decide the winner.
Pat McCluskey, Paul Wilson, Tommy Callaghan and Jimmy Johnstone all netted for the Bhoys but skipper Billy McNeill hit his shot wide. Benfica scored all five of their kicks and took the trophy home to Lisbon. UNICEF was the real winner though – making £20,000 from the game. At the time the sum was the largest amount raised by the charity in a single event in Britain.
TeamsCELTIC: Hunter, McGrain, P. McCluskey, Murray (Callaghan), McNeill, Connelly, Johnstone, Glavin, Hood, Dalglish, Wilson
SL BENFICA: Henrique, Barros, Humberto, Messias, Artur, Simoes, Nene, Toni, Moia, Martins, Ibraim
REFEREE: R.H. Davidson
CELTIC SCORERS: P. McCluskey pen, Johnstone, Glavin
BENFICA SCORERS: Moia (2), Nene
- Match Report (see end of page below)
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