Continuing our mini-series of European anniversaries in the countdown to Cliftonville’s return to action, we’re turning the clock back to the Reds’ first ever continental goal on home soil.
For it was on this day 24 years ago that German giants VfB Stuttgart visited Belfast for a keenly contested InterToto Cup tie that was nothing like as one-sided as the 4-1 scoreline suggests.
The Reds competed admirably throughout and, but for the genius of Brazilian frontman Giovane Elber, might have come away with something to show for their efforts but were, in truth, given a harsh lesson in finishing by a Stuttgart side who boasted a healthy travelling support thanks in no small part to the recently-finished European Championships in England.
Elber opened the scoring from a suspiciously offside position and made it 2-0 in first-half injury-time before Cliftonville were given a slither of hope when Paul Stokes tucked home the Club’s first ever European goal at Solitude only for Marco Grimm to extend the Germans’ advantage with four minutes to play ahead of Elber completing his hat-trick.
Cliftonville: Smyth, Flynn, Small, Kerr, Strang, Collins, O’Neill, O’Connor, Stokes, Donnelly, Davey.
Subs: Rice, McDonagh (for Kerr), McGlinchey (for Strang), Loughran (for Stokes).