- For more Portuguese kits, see the excellent Equipamentos Vintage site
Previously, we have looked at how all-white kits have become talismans for AC Milan in the final of the European Cup and Champions League – today’s entry may be the counterpoint to that.
All-red kits actually have quite a good record in the continental final, with an incredible run during the 1970s and early 80s. Ajax won the last of their three in a row in 1973 wearing red against Juventus and Bayern Munich were to then piece together a trio of their own, albeit having to wear white against Atletico Madrid in the first of those.
After Bayern came Liverpool’s two on the trot and both of Nottingham Forest’s final wins, in 1979 and ’80, came in their lucky red shorts. Liverpool were victorious again in 1981 and while the white-clad Villa beat Bayern in 1982, Hamburg restored all-red’s primacy as they beat Juve in ’83 while wearing their change kit and Liverpool won again in 1984.
It was third-time lucky for Juventus against all-red as they beat Liverpool amid the sad scenes in Heysel in 1985, but while Bayern wore a variety of red kits in reaching the 1987 final against Porto, coach Udo Lattek opted for blue shorts which didn’t work their charms.
A year later, Benfica made it to the final for the first time since the defeat to Manchester United at Wembley in 1968. Opposing them as they sought to break the Curse of Bela Guttmann were PSV Eindhoven.
The Dutch club, who had allowed Ruud Gullit to alter their strip two years previously, who lost the toss for choice of shirt colour but, to increase contrast, UEFA mandated that the Portuguese side wear red shorts.
After a scoreless draw, the game went to penalties, where all of the regulation ten were scored before Anton Janssen scored for PSV in sudden-death and António Veloso missed for Benfica.
One other little thing of note was that adidas were making their first strides in breathable fabric – on the left sleeve there was a small ‘Climalite 2000’ tag (thanks to Simon Shakeshaft for making us aware of this).
While they hadn’t won the Portuguese league in 1987-88, Benfica bounced back by winning the title in 1988-89 and made it to the European Cup final once more in May 1990.
There they would face the holders Milan, who naturally opted for all-white, meaning another all-red costume for Benfica, with Hummel having replaced adidas.
Unfortunately for Benfica, whether it was Guttmann’s curse or the red shorts, they fell short again, with Frank Rijkaard’s 68th-minute goal proving to be the winner.
In 1991-92, Benfica roasted Arsenal at Highbury to make the first-ever group stage and, had they beaten Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the final round of fixtures, they would have reached a third final in five years.
Unfortunately for them, they lost 2-1 and the closest they have come to the final since then have been four quarter-final appearances, in 1995, 2006, 2012 and 2016.