By Paolo Menicucci
Giuseppe Cardone's first-half goal gave Parma FC a 1-0 aggregate win against Sevilla FC in the second leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 16 tie tonight and ensured the Serie A side's 14th consecutive European campaign will continue for another two matches at least.
Parma scored the only goal of 180 minutes of football when Sevilla's defence failed to clear a left-wing corner from Mark Bresciano on 19 minutes, allowing the Parma captain to fire in from close range with a low left-foot shot and put his side into the quarter-finals.
Parma were without the injured Marco Marchionni and Stefano Bettarini, while Paolo Cannavaro was suspended. As expected, Alberto Gilardino and Domenico Morfeo started on the substitutes' bench, with 21-year-old striker Alex Gibbs making his first-team debut. Seventeen-year-old midfield player Daniele Dessena also found a place in the starting lineup after his good performance in the first leg in Seville last week.
Sevilla coach Joaquín Caparrós was without the suspended Javi Navarro and injured forward Jesuli, so 24-year-old Antoñito started alongside Julio Baptista in attack. Just as in the first leg, Sevilla enjoyed most of the possession in the opening minutes and they came close to breaking the deadlock after 14 minutes when Adriano Correia hit the bar with a wonderful curling free-kick from 20 metres.
It was Parma, however, who struck first five minutes later, Cardone seizing on hesitancy in the Sevilla defence to fire his side in front. The Spanish side hit back, and Adriano had another chance to score on 28 minutes when Baptista found him unmarked inside the Parma penalty area, but his left-foot shot was superbly saved by Luca Bucci.
On 30 minutes Esteban Suárez held Vincenzo Grella's powerful volley from outside the area, before Bucci mirrored his counterpart by saving Brazilian midfield player Renato's long-range effort soon after.
Gilardino replaced Gibbs up front for Parma at the start of the second half, but it was Sevilla who pressed without creating any serious problems for Bucci. Parma were more effective on the counterattack, coming close through Bresciano who missed the target after connecting with Fabio Simplicio's cross from the left.
Baptista dazzled for Sevilla when he dribbled past two Parma defenders on the left wing, but his powerful strike from outside the area fizzed just wide. A few minutes later the Brazilian headed over the bar after a dangerous cross from Antoñito as Sevilla pushed to the end. But Parma defended brilliantly, advancing to the quarter-finals without conceding a goal over the two legs.