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The time Real Madrid almost lost to Kilmarnock

Pin Kilmarnock drew 2-2 with Real Madrid. EFE
Kilmarnock drew 2-2 with Real Madrid. EFE

The time Real Madrid almost lost to Kilmarnock

In the 50s and 60s, Real Madrid were unstoppable. They added their 6th European Cup in 1965-66 by beating Partizan Belgrade 2-1 in the final. They did so, however, without actually winning an away game in the competition.

Feyenoord, Anderlecht, Inter Milan, Partizan. 4 of the 5 teams that Real Madrid faced on route to win their 6th European Cup. All of them have been regulars in Europe's premier club competitions, however, perhaps the other team Los Blancos faced are a little less known.

Hailing from the South West of Scotland, Madrid travelled to Kilmarnock to face the Scottish Champions. Killie were making their debut in the competition after pipping Hearts to the championship on the last day of the previous season. To this date, it is their only appearance in the European Cup and they last competed in Europe last year, losing 3-2 on aggregate to Connah's Quay Nomads. Back in the 60s, Scottish football was going through its Golden age, with Celtic and Rangers both winning trophies on the continent, and more modest teams such as Dunfermline also performing well. 

In that November evening, Kilmarnock produced one of their finest results against the Spanish superstars. The hosts opened the scoring in the 20th minute through a Tommy McLean penalty. Kilmarnock were actually beating Real Madrid. 5 minutes later the visitors were level through José Pirri. The Spaniard would then go on to make 417 appearances for Los Blancos in a career where he won 10 league titles, 4 Copa del Reys and the European Cup. Both teams went in at the break with little Kilmarnock holding the mighty Madrid to a draw.

It must be said that the Bernabéu actually holds almost double the number of fans than the entire population of Kilmarnock (81,044 v 46,650). The fact that Kilmarnock even managed to score against Madrid was a huge feat in itself. However, it didn't last long as the in the 55th minute Amancio Amaro made it 2-1 to Madrid. 5 minutes later, however, Kilmarnock legend Brian McIlroy headed in to send the home fans into dreamland. The match ended in a 2-2 draw and Kilmarnock had just shown a team that included Ferenc Puskas that anything can happen in football.

Kilmarnock even went in front in the 2nd leg at the Bernabéu, and also missed a penalty. They were then brought down back to earth and lost 5-1 in the end. Both teams have since taken different paths, with Kilmarnock enduring a tough time and yoyoing between divisions in the following 2 decades, but are now sitting 5th in the Scottish top flight. The same cannot be said about Real Madrid who have now won a record 13 Champions Leagues.

You just have to look at Leicester a few years ago to know to never underestimate the underdog.

Aidan Shearer

Aidan Shearer

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