Long considered once of European football’s most historical stadia Hampden Park attained its right to legendary status on the 18th May 1960. That was the night an incredible 127,600 gathered to watch Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Once the biggest stadium in the world when it opened in 1903 it was only the Maracana in Rio that surpassed its capacity to hold football supporters some 47 years later.
Glasgow’s role in football folklore has long been known thanks to the rivalry of the city’s biggest clubs Celtic and Rangers. And, along with Celtic Park and Ibrox Stadium, the city of Glasgow once possessed the three largest football stadia in the world at the time Hampden Park opened.
The 1960 Hampden final has been labelled the greatest final ever. The final tie between Real and Eintracht ended 7-3 to the Spaniards.
Memories of that final came to life once again on 16th May 2007. A replica copy of the programme from a match so dominated by Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas was available to fans on the day of the 2007 UEFA Cup Final.
The Spanish were once again were in town in 2007 although this time both finalists came from the Iberian Peninsula – RCD Espanyol and Sevilla.
It proved to be one of the best UEFA Cup finals for many years with Sevilla finding a winning way over the line but only just…...
RCD Espanyol vs. Sevilla
UEFA Cup Final 2007
Wednesday 16th May 2007
Hampden Park, Glasgow
The then President of UEFA Michel Platini spoke in the glossy match programme of the final for him being “a showcase for friendship, fun and camaraderie“. Certaining neither Sevilla or Espanyol could be called bitter rivals. In Glasgow city centre before the game bonhomie and camaraderie were evident as both sets of fans mingled.
Glasgow City Council put a substantial sum of money into the event and George Square the main civic square served as the fan zone for both sets of fans on the day of the match.
With Hampden Park also being the host to the 2002 European Cup final gaining the right to host the 2007 UEFA Cup final spoke volumes for the Scottish city. For the Scottish FA to win the right to host a second showpiece European final in the space of five years was quite an accolade.
Now called the Europa League after a UEFA rebranding exercise in 2009 the trophy is the heaviest of all the UEFA trophies tipping the scales at 15 kilos.
The trophy is a silver cup on a yellow marble plinth and was designed by Swiss artist Alex W.Diggelmann and crafted by the Bertoni workshops in Milan.
Unlike the other cups handed over at finals of European club competitions the UEFA Cup has no handles. In terms of design just above the plinth a group of players can be seen jostling for a ball and supporting the octagonal cup which is emblazoned with the UEFA emblem.
Sevilla in 2007 were the current holders of the trophy. Javi Navarro hoisted aloft the cup in Eindhoven some 12 months previously after his side had demolished Middlesborough 4-0 in the final. It would be 2016 before Seville could call the original trophy there own property. In that year they won the trophy for the fifth time after defeating Liverpool by 3 goals to 1 in the Basel Final.
A glance to the VIP area within Hampden Park saw Scotland’s nationalist First Minister Alex Salmond standing next to UEFA President Michel Platini sharing a few jokes.
In Glasgow the city made every effort to make visitors welcome despite the rain. Pubs had street signs in Spanish and the famous departure board at Glasgow Central displayed and announced departures to Mount Florida in Spanish.
Both clubs were given an allocation of 15,000 tickets and with locals snapping up what tickets were left there was not an empty seat inside Hampden come kick off.
The opening goal came on 18 minutes thanks to Sevilla goalkeeper Palop. Gathering a corner he managed to release a monumental throw, which the galloping Adriano gathered. The front man sped ahead clear of a lunging challenge from David Garcia before finishing crisply.
It didn’t take too long for Espanyol to equalise however when left footed former Manchester City man Riera cut inside the retreating Daniel Alves. His shot from the edge of the area beat Palop, but only with the help of a deflection off Alves.
Espanyol maintained some momentum after the break and the stocky Tamudo saw a rising shot palmed over by Palop. Riera then unleashed a ferocious dipping volley which Palop tipped on to the crossbar.
The game changed for the Catalan side on 68 minutes when holding midfielder Moises received a second booking from the elegant Swiss referee Massimo Busacca. Already on a yellow he made silly a tackle from behind on substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov and was show the red.
Espanyol manager Ernesto Valverde then made a decision to replace talismanic skipper Tamudo and play for penalties. Before the end of 90 minutes he also took off midfield orchestrator Ivan De la Pena further demonstrating a desire to maintain a defensive shape over an attacking style.
The swift confident Sevilla side had chances to kill off the game, but Iraizoz denied both Puerta and Alves in one-on-one situations. During the first period of extra time Frédéric Kanouté gave Sevilla the lead only for Brazilian sub Jônatas to made it 2-2 with a fiercely struck, long-range shot which took the slightest of deflections off Christian Poulsen five minutes from the end of the extra period.
Penalties followed for the first time since the 2000 final that was held in Copenhagen. The star man proved to be Palop returned to centre stage, while Kanoute, Ivica Dragutinovic and Puerta scored to break Espanyol hearts.
Penalties followed for the first time since the 2000 final that had been held in Copenhagen. The star man proved to be Palop in the Sevilla goal with Espanyol only scoring once in the shoot out. Luis Garcia, Jonatas and Torrejon all missing for the Catalan side.
After the game Espanyol coach Ernesto Valverde called the outcome ‘cruel…with only the sending off stopping his side from winning‘.
On what had been a typically wet Glasgow night the Sevilla players formed the new guard of honour for the gallant Espanyol side. Like they did in 1988 after losing to Bayer Leverkusen, RCD Espanyol had once again lost out in a UEFA Cup final on penalty kicks although this time in a slightly less a cruel manner than in Germany.
Espanyol: Iraizoz, David Garcia, Moises, Torrejon, Jarque, De la Pena (Jonatas 87), Zabaleta, Luis Garcia, Riera,Rufete (Pandiani 56), Tamudo (Lacruz 72) Subs Not Used: Kameni, Costa, Coro, Chica.
Sent Off: Moises (68).
Goals: A.Riera 28, Jonatas 115.
Sevilla: Palop, Javi Navarro, Daniel, Dragutinovic, Adriano Correia (Renato 76), Poulsen, Puerta, Marti, Maresca (Jesus Navas 46), Kanoute, Luis Fabiano (Kerzhakov 64) Subs Not Used: Cobeno, David, Chevanton, Aitor Ocio.
Booked: Luis Fabiano, Kanoute, Puerta.
Goals: Adriano Correia 18, F. Kanoute 105.
Sevilla won 3-1 on penalties
Ref: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)