Brøndby IF 0-3 Parma AC (Aggregate: 1-4) Brøndby IF suffered a 3-0 third round second-leg defeat at home to Parma AC to crash out of the UEFA Cup 1-4 on aggregate.
Danish dreams shattered
It had all looked so hopeful for the Danish side when, two weeks ago, they left Italy with a 1-1 draw. However, goals from Patrick Mboma, Hidetoshi Nakata and Sabri Lamouchi shattered Danish dreams of the fourth round at the Brøndby stadium.
An evenly-matched first half looked to be ending in a stalemate as both sides found it hard to break each other down and few shooting opportunities were carved out in front of goal. Of the two, however, Parma were starting to look the brighter and on the stroke of half-time they got their reward.
A vital strike
Mboma had two bites at the cherry from the edge of the box with his second shot sneaking under the legs of home goalkeeper Mogens Krogh and into the net to make the score 2-1 on aggregate and cancel out Brøndby's goal in Italy. It was a vital strike in that respect and coming, as it did, just before half-time, knocked a lot of the fight out of a Brøndby side who were supported by one of their largest crowds ever.
Everything to play for
As the second half got under way, both teams had everything to play for. Parma, however, had the advantage of knowing that any goals they scored were worth substantially more under the away goal rule. Brøndby were forced to chase the game and as they did so, acres of space opened up for the marauding Parma players.
On 57 minutes, Brøndby won a corner that was bravely cleared by Parma and set up a rapid counterattack. Brøndby were outnumbered by four to three at the back and the goal seemed inevitable. Three times Krogh saved before the ball was spread wide to Japanese international Nakata who did not hesitate before rifling his first-time shot into the net to place a mammoth obstacle in front of Brøndby’s hopes of qualification.
Gulf in class
Brøndby continued to press forward, but much of the desire had gone out of them with the second goal. The manner of Parma’s third goal emphasised the gulf in class between the two sides. Marco di Vaio lofted a free-kick over the defensive line and Sabri Lamouchi broke free of the offside trap to meet the ball unopposed. His first-time volley was perfectly executed, with Krogh unable to do a thing to stop the ball.
The 3-0 scoreline was mildly flattering to Parma but, to be fair, the Italians stuck at their task and were undaunted by the prospect of having to win away from home. That they did it with such style will certainly not go unnoticed by the other clubs remaining in the competition. For Brøndby it is back to the drawing board and the hope of better fortune in 2002.