Belfast Telegraph

Watch: 50 years ago today George Best's goal helped Manchester United win their first European Cup

On 29 May 1968, an English team got their hands on the European Cup for the first time ever.

Manchester United lifted the famous trophy thanks to a 4-1 extra-time victory over Benfica at Wembley and a certain George Best got himself on the score-sheet.

Matt Busby's United side had won the English First Division title in 1965 and 1967 and finally took the step to be crowned European champions, partly thanks to an injury-time goal from Belfast boy Best.

United had taken the lead on 53 minutes via Bobby Charlton but Benfica's Jaime Graça levelled to force extra-time. (As an aside, Benfica had beaten Glentoran only on away goals in the first round of the tournament, earning a 1-1 draw in Belfast before a 0-0 stalemate in Portugal.)

Then Best helped his side romp to victory, restoring the lead just a couple of minutes into extra time before Charlton and Brian Kidd put the icing on the cake of an historic victory into front of a reported 92,000 spectators.

While Best himself reckoned he 'only played well in snatches' during the final, he was singled out by Benfica coach Otto Gloria while writer Eamon Dunphy reckoned Best's 'classic street-game goal all but won the cup'.

"Fastening with razor reflexes onto the ball with 25 yards from goal, he beat one man, then another, then rounded the desperate goalkeeper before gliding the ball deftly across the turf into the net," wrote Dunphy.

The win capped a stunning personal capaign for Best, who was the English league's top scorer and picked up the Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year award as well as the coveted Ballon d'Or, then presented to the European Footballer of the Year.

Have a look at Best's personal performance that night at Wembley right here (jump to 5.35 for his goal):

And if you want to see the rest of the goals, here are the full match highlights:

Manchester United's European Cup winning team: Stepney, Brennan, Dunne, Crerand, Foulkes, Stiles, Best, Kidd, Charlton, Sadler, Aston. Substitute: Rimmer

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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