Sunderland and Sporting Lisbon players acknowledge the crowd before their Cup Winners Cup tie at Roker Park
Sunderlands famous FA Cup win has given the club the opportunity to enter one of the major UEFA sponsored European club competitions for the first time. The Cup Winners’ Cup draw paired us with Vasas of Budapest.
Our first game couldn’t have gone any better. With both Hughes and Dennis Tueart scoring without reply a 2 v 0 success put us in the driving seat, and the second leg was a formality as a penalty from Tueart sealed a fine 3 v 0 aggregate victory.
This now made it 15 cup games without defeat for Sunderland, but a League Cup defeat by Liverpool ended this great run, before Sunderland took on Sporting Lisbon.
The first leg at Roker Park was going according to plan as Sunderland raced into a 2 v 0 lead. With only minutes remaining disaster struck, Sunderland conceded a priceless away goal and faced an uphill struggle. At the Alvelade Sunderland were defeated 0 v 2 and went out on a narrow 2 v 3 aggregate score.
Although it was an early dismissal from the competition the highlight had undoubtedly been our first win on continental European soil in a competitive UEFA match.
Vasas Budapest 0 v 2 Sunderland
19 September 1973, Nep Stadium, Budapest, European Cup Winners Cup
Attendance: 35,000 Referee: S Gonelle, Italy
Sunderland’s first foray into UEFA organised European competition ended in triumph as they overcame Vasas in the huge bowl of the Nep Stadium in Budapest. The game was a double header as first up was the UEFA Cup tie between Ferencvaros and Gwardia Warsaw in a game won by the Polish side.
It was estimated that approaching 500 Sunderland fans made the trip into Continental Europe, some by train.
Sunderland started the match brightly and once again Bob Stokoe weaved his cup magic.
For Dennis Tueart it would be a night to remember. In the final minute of what The Daily Mirror” described as an “exciting tie” Tueart picked the ball up inside his own half and carved open the home midfield and defence, as he took on all comers to slot the ball home past Meszaros off a post.
This was no more than Sunderland deserved following on from a Billy Hughes opener after 68 minutes as he leapt high to meet a Dick Malone cross to head powerfully home.
It was an explosive start to life in European competition from Sunderland as they made short work of Vasas. As a result of the 2 v 0 win the Hungarian team knew that they needed a miracle at Roker Park, for them to progress. They wouldn’t get it.
Sunderland won the return game at Roker Park a fortnight later 1 v 0 to progress into the next round where they would meet and be knocked out by Sporting Lisbon.
To date this is Sunderland’s only competitive season in European football which is a sobering thought.
Vasas: Meszaros, Torok, Fabian, Kantor, Lakinger (Gass), Vidats, Muller, Toth, Varardi, Kovac, Sipocz
Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, Hughes, Halom (Young), Porterfield, Tueart
Elsewhere in Europe that night Leeds United were held to a 1 v 1 draw by Norwegian side Stroemgodset. At Portman Road, Ipswich Town took on the mighty Real Madrid and won the game 1 v 0 with an own goal. However the talking point was of the Polish referee Stanislaw Eksztajn who was struck by a missile thrown from the crowd. The Old Firm had little problems in their games as Glasgow Celtic crushed the Finnish team TPR Turku 6 v 1, whilst Rangers, now out of their European ban, overcame Ankaragucu 2 v 0 in Turkey.
Spurs went goal crazy as they beat Grasshoppers of Zurich 5 v 1 at the Sportsplatz Hardturm. Ironically Pat Jennings was adjudged the man of the match with a string of world class saves.