The opener – III, Dragan Džajić

In 1968, the first match of the tournament, between Italy and the SSSR, hadn’t a scorer, because the teams ended 0-0 and the finalist was decided by a coin toss! It was Italy, the home side which will face in the last act Yugoslavia. The Serbs lost the final from 1960 and they will repeat the sad story once again. But first, they put out England in the semis, after a late goal scored by Dragan Dzajic in the 87th minute of the match ended 1-0. That was a shocker, as the Englishmen were World Champions in activity. And yes, this was the first goal of the competition from the left wing of Red Star Beograd. The player also scored in the final, but it ended 1-1 against Italy. So the match had to be replayed. And it was, but this time the hosts did not make any mistake and won the trophy after 2-0. In fact, Dzajic scored all the goals of his team in the tournament. One with only three matches. If Galic is known to be one of the best scorers for Yugoslavia, Dragan is one of the most capped as he gathered 85 international matches and 23 goals during 14 years, from 1964 to 1978. Only Milosevic and Stankovic, with 102 games a peace, are better ranked.

And his debut came in June 1964 in a defeat over Romania, with 2-1, one home soil, at Beograd. Besides the European Championship from 1968, Dzajic also appeared at a World Cup. The one from Germany in 1974. Yugoslavia qualified from the first phase after two draws 0-0 with Brazil and 1-1 with Scotland but also after a record win, 9-0, over Zaire, a match in which Dragan put in a goal. After two more years, the player participated with his national side at another European Championship, this time hosted by themselves. Dzajic scored twice, but Yugoslavia lost both matches, both after extra time and so finished only fourth.

By that time, he was playing for Red Star Beograd, a team at which he wrote history and he is considered one of the greatest players from all time. No wonder, if we find out that he played here during 15 seasons, from 1961 to 1975 and from 1977-1978. Only a short spell of two years at Bastia in France, forbid him to have de status of a one-club man. For Red Star he played more than 600 official matches and scored over 300 goals. He’s performances helped a lot the squad to win 10 titles: 5 Yugoslav Championships (1964, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1973), 4 Yugoslav Cups (1964, 1968, 1970 and 1971) – making three doubles and a Mitropa Cup in 1968. In 1971, he was very close to play the European Champions’ Cup final, after a 4-1 win over Panathinaikos on home soil, in the semis. But Dzajic, one of the key players from that encounter missed the second leg do to suspension and so the Greeks won 3-0 and qualified on away goal.

Born on 30th of May 1946 in Ub, he left his native country at the age of 29, to join Bastia. Here, he impressed with 31 goals in 56 league games played in two seasons and despite remaining one of the best players from the history of the club, he didn’t manage to win any trophy with the team from Corsica.

Foto: oldschoolpanini.com, faniq.com, beliolrovi.rs, rankopedia.com.

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