The 1957 European Cup final was a football match held at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, on May 30, 1957. This game determined the champions of the 1956-57 European Cup and featured Real Madrid from Spain facing off against Fiorentina from Italy. Real Madrid won 2-0 with goals from Alfredo Di Stéfano and Francisco Gento in the second half.
What made this final unique was that it was one of the first four instances (including the Champions League era) where one of the teams played in their home stadium. It was also the inaugural final where the winning team played at their own home stadium. However, there was some controversy during the game. Dutch referee Leo Horn ignored his linesman’s signal that Enrique Mateos of Real Madrid was offside before awarding a penalty for a foul on Mateos, which seemed to have occurred outside the penalty area. By winning this final, Real Madrid became the first team to successfully defend their European Cup title.
Real Madrid got into the 1956-57 European Cup because they were the champions from the previous year, when they beat Reims 4-3 in the final in Paris.
As the defending champions, they didn’t have to play in the early rounds. They got a direct pass to the first round, where they faced Rapid Wien from Austria. In the first game at their home stadium, Santiago Bernabéu, Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ramón Marsal scored two goals each, and Real Madrid won 4-2. But in the second game, Rapid Wien fought back. Ernst Happel scored three goals for them, making it 3-0, but Di Stéfano scored one for Real Madrid, making the final score 3-1. The overall score was tied 5-5, and because they didn’t have the away goals rule back then, they had to play a special match at the Bernabéu. In that match, goals from Joseíto and Raymond Kopa gave Madrid a 2-0 win.
In the quarter-finals, Real Madrid faced the French champions, Nice. They won 3-0 at home with goals from Joseíto and Enrique Mateos. In the away game, Nice scored one goal, but Real Madrid still won with goals from Joseíto and Di Stéfano. The final score was 6-2 on aggregate. In the semi-finals, they played against Manchester United. Real Madrid won the first leg 2-0 with goals from Héctor Rial and Di Stéfano. Manchester United scored one goal, but Enrique Mateos scored for Real Madrid, making it 3-1. In the second leg, Kopa and Rial scored in the first half, practically securing their spot in the final. Although Manchester United scored two goals in the second half, Real Madrid went through to their second consecutive European Cup final with an overall score of 5-3.
Fiorentina earned their spot in the 1956-57 European Cup after becoming champions of Serie A in the 1955-56 season. They were put in the South-Central Europe group for the preliminary round, but they didn’t need to play in it because they received a special pass to the first round.
In the first round, they faced a team from Sweden called IFK Norrköping. In the first game at Stadio Artemio Franchi, they fell behind with an early goal by Harry Bild, but Claudio Bizzarri equalized shortly afterward, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. In the second game, Giuseppe Virgili scored the only goal, giving Fiorentina a 2-1 win overall. In the quarter-finals against Grasshoppers from Switzerland, Fiorentina got off to a strong start in the first game, taking a 3-0 lead with goals from Armando Segato and Romano Taccola (2). Robert Ballaman scored one for Grasshoppers. In the second game, Julinho scored early for Fiorentina, and although Ballaman scored again for Grasshoppers, Miguel Montuori’s goal for Fiorentina made the overall score 5-3.
In the semi-finals, Fiorentina played against Red Star Belgrade from Yugoslavia. The first game in Belgrade ended without any goals until just two minutes before the end when Maurilio Prini scored for Fiorentina. The second game also ended without any goals, and Fiorentina won the tie, becoming the first Italian team to reach the European Cup final.