The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
United travelled to Prague, the club's first game behind the Iron Curtain, for the first leg of our second round tie and it produced a final thirty minutes of nightmarish proportions for Tannadice fans. Earlier Sparta had got off to a great start with a goal in the 20th minute, Vrana running on to a great pass from Chovenic to shoot past Donald Mackay. It took United just five minutes to restore the equilibrium. Morris Stevenson crossed from the left and Tommy Traynor stole in to half-volley the ball high into the net. By half-time the Tangerines could easily have been a couple of goals ahead. The second half continued in similar fashion with United controlling proceedings, then in 60 minutes came the turning point. Donald Mackay pulled a muscle in a simple incident and Hamish McAlpine had to deputise at a crucial time. Sparta took heart from United's misfortune and in the 72nd minute lost an undeserved goal when Jurkanin shot strongly past Hamish. Then with 10 minutes left, Andy Holland was sent off for kicking the ball away after a dubious free-kick award. Compounding United's problems was the injury to Alan Gordon which saw him leave the field in a daze. The tragic finale came when Jorkanin notched a second, 60 seconds from time, to give Sparta a two goal advantage for the second leg.