The latest chapter in our popular mini-series of European anniversary reflects on a record-breaking night for the Club – not one to be celebrated, however.
For today marks 23 years since Cliftonville suffered their heaviest ever loss on the continental stage; an 8-0 thumping by FC Kosice contributing to a 13-1 aggregate loss in the Reds’ maiden Champions League sojourn.
Trailing 5-1 from the first leg at Solitude, the Reds travelled to Slovakia with virtually nothing to play for but their ultra-slim hopes of springing an unlikely surprise on their hosts was snuffed out after just four minutes when Jan Kozak opened the scoring for the hosts.
Szilard Nemeth was next on the scoresheet and Vladimir Janocko gave Kosice a 3-0 half-time lead on the night, but it was after the break that Cliftonville’s resilience was shattered; Janocko registering his second ahead of substitute Martin Prohaszka getting his name on the scoresheet.
It was 6-0 (and 11-1 on aggregate) when Ruslan Lubarskiy netted on 67 minutes, with Prohaszka and Jozef Kozlej wrapping things up for Kosice, who suffered a narrow defeat to Brondby in the next round’s Group Stage shootout.
Cliftonville: Reece, Small, Flynn, Tabb, McCallion, Sliney, T McCann, Collins, Tolan, McCann, Donnelly. Subs: Davey (for Sliney), McMahon (for Collins), McDonagh (for M McCann).