The following report is as written some fifty seven years ago when English champions Wolves took on the might of Barcelona in the European Cup.
WEDNESDAY 2ND MARCH, 1960
EUROPEAN CUP QUARTER FINAL (SECOND LEG) Attendance 55,535
WOLVES 2 (Murray, Mason) C.F. BARCELONA 5 (Koscis 4, Villaverde)
Sidebottom; Showell, Harris; Clamp, Slater (capt), Flowers;
Deeley, Broadbent, Murray, Mason, Horne;
Ramallets; Olivella, Rodriguez, Gracia; Segarra, Gensana;
Coll, Koscis, Martinez, Suarez, Villaverde;
Referee:- L. Van Nuffel, Belgium
The Spanish champions made several changes from the side which beat Wolves 4-0 in Barcelona on February 10th in the first leg. The most surprising was the inclusion of a comparative unknown Louis Coll at outside right in preference to the Brazalian Evertisto de Macedo. Sandor Koscis was included in preference to his fellow Hungarian Kubala, who it is understood is in the middle of a private feud with team manager Herrara. Sidebottom continued to deputise for the injured Finlayson in the Wolves goal.
Early in the game two low, hard centres from Horne passed across the face of the Barcelona goal, but no one was on hand to tap them into the net. The Spaniards soon settled down to play brilliant football and their first two chances both fell to Coll. He shot over with his first effort, but Sidebottom brilliantly saved the second. After twenty five minutes Wolves were awarded an indirect fee kick inside the Barcelona penalty area. All eleven players came back to pack the goalmouth and the kick was scrambled clear.
Then after twenty nine minutes despite all Wolves speed and fury, Barcelona took the lead with a simple goal. Martinez, on the goal line to right of the goal manoeuvred the ball cleverly round three defenders and pulled it back for the unmarked Koscis to score from close range.
After thirty five minutes Wolves raised a slight hope for their rather despondent supporters with an equalising goal, which was however somewhat fortuitous. Olivella, attempting to kick out from the edge of the goal area, had his clearance blocked by the advancing Murray from whose body it rebounded past Ramallets. Wolves now increased their pressure, but could make little headway against a Barcelona defence outstanding both in the air and it's ability to get out of trouble by playing football. Every goal kick which Wolves took seemed to find the head of Segarra or Rodri to put Barcelona back in possession.
The visitors second goal came three minutes before half time and again it was scored with effortless ease. Coll took the ball down the right, pushed it forward to Martinez, who square it inside to Koscis and the ball was in the net. Martinez, the man from Paraguay, normally a winger was proving a most effective centre forward. Half time 1-2.
Wolves, although already facing a seemingly impossible task, kept on fighting hard and only a brilliant diving save by Ramallets prevented Peter Broadbent from equalising. The contrast between the two side was becoming even greater. Wolves with the exception of the brilliant Slater, were all running around in circles with not results and Barcelona, ball players to a man, were strolling through the game, making it look all too easy.
They really rubbed it in with their third goal in the sixty first minute. Martinez ambled in along the goal line from the right, stopped at the junction with the penalty area and put his foot on the ball, Harris stood between him and the goal and waited for the centre forward to make the first move. Suddenly he did move.
Putting his toe under the ball, he lobbed it over the unfortunate Harris' head, ran round and chipped it against the face of the crossbar. The immaculate Suarez, running towards the corner flag, chased it at top speed as it ran loose on the left and smartly back-heeled it to Villeverde cutting in from the wing. His centre beat Sidebottom and there was Koscis again to head it into the net, when Coll returned it from the right. A magnificent goal.
Wolves were really finished now and Barcelona turned on exhibition stuff. After seventy four minutes Koscis who was now walking his regal way through he game scored his fourth goal. Brilliant play by Suarez in midfield put Coll away down the right, his centre found the Hungarian perfectly positioned to hit an eighteen yard shot past Sidebottom Clamp, who had throughout played an attacking game, paved the way for Mason to score another consolation goal for Wolves four minutes later, but still Barcelona came back for more.
Coll, rated a third choice at outside right, again made the goal. Dribbling his way down the right his centre found the Uruguayan outside left Villaverde in the centre forward position. He swept through two defenders as if they did not exist and hammered the ball home from the edge of the area.
So at last Wolves' proud record of not being beaten by any foreign side on their own ground was shattered by what must have been the most brilliant exhibition of football ever seen at Molineux. It was a team triumph, every man superb in ball control, positional play and intelligence. All Wolves had to offer in return was fighting spirit and this was nowhere near enough to make these master craftsmen of soccer break into a gallop. They played football as it should be played, they made it look easy and they made Wolves look anything but the best team in England.
However, no one can be blamed for this defeat, Wolves gave of their best and it was not good enough. The crowded English league programme and the climatic conditions under which football is often played in this country are to blame. Wolves methods, based on speed and fitness, have proved successful in the past but it is now proved that true skill will triumph in the end.