On a night of compelling drama at the Gottlieb-Daimler stadium, a young Parma FC side overcame the dismissal of captain Paolo Cannavaro to score twice in extra time and defeat VfB Stuttgart 2-0 to reach the last 16, where they will face Sevilla FC.
The Italian side looked to have missed their best chance when Stuttgart goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand tipped substitute Mark Bresciano's rasping half-volley on to the post in the 89th minute. By then, Cannavaro had already been sent off for a two-footed tackle on Kevin Kuranyi.
However, Parma out-foxed Stuttgart in the additional 30 minutes and the German side were unable to reply when the Italian side broke the deadlock in the 100th minute. Daniele Bonera sent a long clearance upfield which Alberto Gilardino delightfully back-heeled into the path of Marco Marchionni. The two exchanged passes to carve open the Stuttgart defence and Marchionni did well to keep his balance and prod in from close range with Hildebrand stranded.
The home side then threw everything forward but Parma finally decided the tie four minutes from the end of extra time as Marchionni, Fabio Simplicio and Andrea Pisanu stormed forward in a counterattack. Hildebrand, who was Stuttgart's best player on the night, saved Simplicio's first effort but Pisanu then scored from the rebound.
It was no more than the visitors deserved. They had created several good chances in the first leg, which finished goalless, and were only thwarted by some inspirational saves by Hildebrand. In this second leg, both teams were very cautious and chances were few and far between.
Both sides struggled to string any passing moves together on a tired pitch. Gilardino had Parma's best chance in the opening 45 minutes but his header flashed wide while Fernando Meira's shot hit the back of Matteo Contini in what was the home side's best opportunity a minute before half-time.
Parma's three-man defence – consisting of Cannavaro, Bonera and Contini – was very solid and Kuranyi and Brazilian forward Cacau, who played wide on the left, failed to seriously trouble 35-year-old goalkeeper Luca Bucci all night.
In fact, the away side were closer to scoring a third in the final minutes of the game than Stuttgart were to getting a consolation goal. Parma, Italy's sole remaining representatives, go through and their fans will be delighted, despite the fact that Cannavaro and Jorge Bolano Correa, who was booked tonight, will suspended for the first leg of the next round.