Hibs qualified for the semi-finals of the Fair Cities Cup – their opponents to be Roma – when, in an extraordinary match at Easter Road last night, they defeated Barcelona in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.
The first match in Spain had ended in a 4-4 draw, and until six minutes from time this tie had been contested in a sporting manner although the exhibition of polished football expected from the visitors, who defeated Real Madrid in this season’s European Cup, failed to materialise.
Individually, the Spaniards were perhaps a shade more competent than the home players, but their team-work was indifferent, and in the second half their forwards were just as capable of missing golden chances as the home team.
However, pandemonium broke loose six minutes from time after the German referee, Herr J Malka, awarded Hibs a penalty with the score at 2-2.
Johnny MacLeod had fallen with Gensana in the penalty area, and the award seemed somewhat harsh. To a man the Spaniards protested, chased the referee into the Hibs half of the field and back again to their own 18 yard line: he was pushed and buffeted, tripped, kicked, and twice struck on the chest by gesticulating fists. The police patrolling the track, more than 40 of them, joined in the fray and their Scottish phlegm was never more needed than in their efforts to calm the Barcelona team whose officials also pled for order.
Eventually, some sort of order was restored – to the everlasting credit of the Edinburgh audience, they, at least, kept their heads – the match was restarted, and Bobby Kinloch scored from the penalty spot, a memorable feat in view of the preceding tension.
The opening stages were disappointingly undistinguished, with the first-time tackling and speculative clearances more associated with a good-going Scottish Cup tie than a match involving one of the leading teams of the Continent. In fact, the home side showed the finer team work and they were unlucky to be penalised after Joe Baker had beaten Garay to a loose ball, but the free-kick brought no reward.
Baker, however, was not long denied his chance, for, with tremendous encouragement from the crowd of about 50,000, he opened the scoring after 10 minutes. MacLeod, hampered just outside the penalty area, took the free kick himself and his perfect lob was headed into the net from nine yards by Baker, who out jumped Garay and directed the ball cleverly away from Medrano.
After that reverse the Spaniards gradually began to make their presence known. Evaristo’s fine run and shot, which hit the side net, and Suarez’s 20-yard free-kick which struck the crossbar with Ronnie Simpson at sea. Then, after 28 minutes, Martinez equalised, spurting from nowhere and heading Evaristo’s accurate cross almost out of Simpson’s hands.
Two minutes from half-time, Koscis scored an opportunist goal, putting Barcelona in the lead. Martinez made the running, beating Fraser to a through ball and curling the ball over to the unmarked inside forward, who prodded it under Simpson.
Hibs, however, were more dominant in the second half with Preston equalising in 74 minutes.
Hibs: Simpson, Fraser, McClelland, Baxter, Easton, Baird, MacLeod, Preston, Baker, Kinloch, Ormond