Benfica ends 60-year European wait with Youth League title

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Benfica is a European champion again — 60 years and 11 losing finals after the storied Portuguese soccer club’s last title in a UEFA competition.

Playing on Monday in its fourth final of the UEFA Youth League, Benfica routed Salzburg 6-0 to claim the trophy.

Benfica’s last European win was the European Cup in 1962, retaining the trophy the Lisbon club won for the first time the previous year.

The six decades since saw Benfica beaten in the final five times in the European Cup, once in the UEFA Cup, twice in the Europa League, and three times in the UEFA Youth League that began play in 2013.

According to club lore, the long losing streak was because of a curse by Béla Guttmann, the coach who left Benfica on bad terms after masterminding the two European Cup titles.

One of those Youth League losses was to Salzburg in the 2017 final.

The Austrian team was swept aside on Monday after Benfica led within 90 seconds through Martim Neto. Henrique Araújo’s hat trick, completed from the penalty spot in the 89th minute, was wrapped around goals by Italian youth international Cher N’Dour and Luis Semedo.

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