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2003: Borgna hits the spot for Piemonte

Forced to miss much of the tournament for work reasons, Paolo Borgna scored twice in five first-half minutes in the final.

Piemonte Valle d'Aosta celebrate Regions' Cup success in 2003
Piemonte Valle d'Aosta celebrate Regions' Cup success in 2003 ©Getty Images

A total of 40 sides started the qualifiers for the 2003 edition of the UEFA Regions' Cup as the amateur tournament continued to grow in popularity, with intermediary play-off winners Piemonte Valle d'Aosta AMA of Italy and Spain's Principado de Asturias AMA joining six other mini-tournament winners in the final tournament in Germany.

A sweltering week of football in Germany saw hosts Württemberg AMA joined by Switzerland's Ticino AMA and the two play-off winners in Group A, while France's Ligue du Maine AMA, Azerbaijan's Geyazan AMA, the Netherlands' District Noord AMA and Hungarian side Szabolcs Gabona Csoport AMA contested Group B.

The initial signs were good for the hosts as they won 4-0 in their opening game against Ticino while their other group opponents cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw. Piemonte's 3-0 win against Ticino on matchday two coupled with a 1-1 draw against Asturias for the Germans set up a dramatic final game.

In front of a healthy crowd at the Carl-Zeiss stadium in Oberkochen, Württemberg met their Waterloo, going behind to a Marco Bergantin goal after 53 minutes and giving up the ghost after Paolo Capra made it 2-0 on 83 minutes. Both sides scored again before the final whistle as the Italians reached the final.

Group B proved to be more straightforward as René Logie's impressive Ligue du Maine started off with a terrific 8-3 win against Szabolcs in searing heat in Wangen before winning 4-2 win against Geyazan. They were 1-0 down against District Noord when a huge thunderstorm forced the cancellation of their final game in Friedrichshafen, but even though the result was allowed to stand, they reached the final.

The best part of 1,000 spectators came to the Albstadion in Heidenheim for the final on 28 June, with most observers tipping Ligue du Maine, powered by the superb playmaker Anthony Guyard and star striker Jonas Missaye, to prevail against Michele Del Vecchio's side.

However, the Italians more measured style was to win the day as Paolo Borgna - who had been forced to miss much of the tournament due to the commitments of his office job in Turin and had flown back to Germany the night before the final - scored twice in five first-half minutes.

Piemonte contained the French side for much of the remainder of the game with Missaye missing one fabulous chance to put his side back into the game in the first half before substitute Farid Kharraz's 83rd minute strike gave Ligue du Maine hope of snatching the title.

However, the second goal would not come, and for the second time in the tournament's history, the UEFA Regions' Cup went to Italy. It was also the first occasion when the home team had failed to win the competition.