For AC Milan, the 4-0 scoreline has become pleasingly familiar in the UEFA Champions League. Not only have they recorded that exact win on six occasions – Wednesday's stunning victory over Arsenal FC being the latest – but some of those triumphs are among the most memorable in the Italian club's history.
We look back at three of them: two four-goal virtuoso performances and the 1994 final when the Rossoneri achieved "perfection" against Johan Cruyff's FC Barcelona dream team.
1992/93 group stage: AC Milan 4-0 IFK Göteborg
Every good book should have a memorable opening line and Marco van Basten provided it for the inaugural UEFA Champions League group stage. Swedish title holders Göteborg resisted until just after the half-hour, but once an unbalanced Van Basten had somehow squeezed the first goal in with his left foot they were merely privileged spectators in a remarkable one-man show.
The No9 added a penalty and an acrobatic bicycle kick before rounding off his four-goal haul in nonchalant fashion, taking the ball past Thomas Ravelli with his right foot before finishing with his left. Even Milan coach Fabio Capello, not always renowned for the generosity of his compliments, was humbled. "I would rate Van Basten as a 9.5 tonight," he said, "but only because I don't think perfection exists."
1993/94 final: AC Milan 4-0 FC Barcelona
Capello was forced to eat his words the following season. For the first time in living memory Milan approached a European Cup final as underdogs, their suspension-hit back line expected to buckle under the weight of Barcelona's attacking talent. Respect not deference was the order of the day in Athens, however. With Demetrio Albertini pulling the strings, the Rossoneri piled forward from the off.
Christian Panucci had already had a goal disallowed when Daniele Massaro broke the deadlock midway through the first period. Massaro struck again before half-time and when Dejan Savićević made it 3-0 with an exquisite lob soon after the restart, the game was up. Marcel Desailly set the seal on a memorable triumph before the hour. "This," announced Capello, "is perfection."
2005/06 group stage: Fenerbahçe SK 0-4 AC Milan
Fourteen years after Van Basten became the first player to score four in a UEFA Champions League match, Andriy Shevchenko became the first to achieve the feat away from home. The Ukraine striker had missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out that decided the 2005 final against Liverpool FC on his last trip to Istanbul, but this always looked like being a happy return once he had made the breakthrough on 16 minutes.
He added another shortly after the interval, and although he spurned a gilt-edged chance moments later, Shevchenko silenced the Sükrü Saraçoglu Stadium with two goals in six minutes midway through the second period. "It is a beautiful page in my career at Milan," the reigning European Footballer of the Year said. "I cannot be happier than this."
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