Date: 3rd September 2008 at 8:44pm
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Despite being ‘a team from Portugal that no-one has heard of’ Vitoria SC Guimarães have a long history in European football stretching back nearly forty years.

The Toast team have spent hours pouring over books, the Internet and the odd real ale (no Stella here!) to bring you this unique history of Vitoria SC Guimarães in Europe. If you want all the information about Pompey’s first ever European opponent’s exploits in European competition read on.

Debut season

Guimarães first qualified for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup at the end of the 1968/69 season and received a first round tie with Czech side Banik Ostrava. After winning the first leg at home by a single goal they progressed 2-1 on aggregate to the next round.

It is then that they paid their one and only trip to the south coast of England when they drew Southampton in Round two. The first leg in Portugal ended 3-3 but the mighty Southampton romped home 5-1 at the Dell with Ron Davies (2) and Mick Channon among the scorers; Southampton were eliminated by Newcastle United in round three.

That season Guimarães finished 5th in the Portuguese league and thus qualified for a further European Tour. After beating French side Angoulême 4-3 over the two legs, they were drawn again against a British club, Hibernian, and were eliminated 3-2.

Guimarães then faded from the view of European competition for twelve years until they finished 6th in 1982/83.

Back at last

Guimarães’ run of British opponents and bad luck continued when the draw was made for the UEFA cup first round in 1983. This time they drew the mighty Aston Villa who had been European champions the previous year. Guimarães gallantly won the home leg by a single goal but were thumped 5-0 at Villa Park.

Poor Guimarães, three European qualifications and three times they had been knocked out by British sides. In 1986/87 they were back again and this time avoided British clubs -helped no doubt by the ban on English Clubs following the Heysel disaster – and made significant progress reaching the quarter-final. They defeated Sparta Prague (3-2), Atletico Madrid (2-1) and FC Groningen (3-1) before going out to Borussia Monchengladbach 5-2.

That season (1986/87) was an exceptional one for Guimarães and they finished 3rd in the league booking another European adventure. This time they beat Tatabanyai Banyasz of Hungary in Round one before losing on penalties to Beveren of Belgium in the next round. They also finished runners-up in the Portuguese cup that year (1988) and entered for the first time the European Cup Winners Cup. Here they drew Roda JC of Holland at the first attempt and lost a close encounter 2-1 on aggregate.

Regulars

The nineties saw Vitoria SC Guimarães play in the UEFA cup on no less than six occasions but all of these ventures were relatively short lived. However they were beaten by some of Europe’s giants along the way which just shows the pedigree of Pompey’s first ever European opponents.

In 1990/91 they lost to Fenerbahce 6-2, in 1992/93 after beating real Sociedad they were eliminated by Ajax 5-1. They were back in 1995/96 and first disposed of Standard Liege before the mighty Barcelona thrashed them 7-0 over two legs. The next season Parma were eliminated after extra time but they lost to Anderlecht in round two on away goals. 1997/98 saw first round elimination by Lazio (6-1) and the same fate awaited the 1998/99 campaign this time with Celtic the victors 4-2.

Champions League at last

Vitoria SC Guimarães then had a barren spell and failed to qualify for European competition again until 2005. The UEFA cup beckoned and round one saw Polish side Wisla Krakow beaten 4-0 over the two legs. That meant for the first time the group stages beckoned and Guimarães were handed a tough draw.

Their compatriots in Group H were Besiktas, Bolton Wanderers, Sevilla and new kids on the block, Zenit Saint Petersburg. This was a very tough group and Guimarães managed only a point gained in a 1-1 draw with Bolton in Portugal. Just for the record Bolton were given 5,000 tickets for that game. Guimarães’ top scorer that season in the UEFA Cup was a certain Marek Saganowski!

Finally last season Guimarães finished third in their league and were invited to play in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Champions league. They drew FC Basel and after a goalless draw at home were beaten 2-1 in Switzerland. So they have now played exactly 50 competitive games and have played in every major tournament, they have a good pedigree and are tough opponents for Pompey’s Euro debut. The only good news is that Vitoria SC Guimarães have played four games on British soil losing them all and have conceded 14 goals while scoring only 2.

In summary they have played 50 European games, winning 10 and drawing 14. They have scored 52 goals and conceded 78.

Phew!! That was one of Toast’s most difficult pieces of research but you should all know more about our first opponents now.

PUP

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