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1998/99: Crespo wins prize for Parma

Talented Parma defeated Marseille to secure their second UEFA Cup in four years.

1998/99: Crespo wins prize for Parma
1998/99: Crespo wins prize for Parma ©UEFA.com

Parma FC 3-0 Olympique de Marseille
(Crespo 26, Vanoli 36, Chiesa 55)
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

The story of Parma FC's 1998/99 season was one of two chapters written in gold. Not only did Alberto Malesani's side win the Italian Cup; they also lifted the UEFA Cup for the second time in four years. This was a team of many talents: from Lilian Thuram and Fabio Cannavaro in defence, through Dino Baggio and Juan Verón in midfield, to Hernán Crespo in attack.

Not surprisingly, then, the opposition could muster only limited resistance. Fenerbahçe SK beat them in Turkey in the first round only to lose the return. A worse fate befell FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the quarter-finals - they were crushed 6-0 at the Ennio Tardini stadium having prevailed by the odd goal in three in France. In comparison, then, Club Atlético de Madrid got off lightly in the semi-finals, succumbing 5-2 on aggregate.

Yet there was no danger of final opponents Olympique de Marseille going down without a fight. Literally. The French club's semi-final victory over Bologna FC had been marred by a brawl in the players' tunnel. Laurent Blanc's late penalty had sent them through on the away goals rule - but their glory bid would founder on four resulting suspensions. With Christophe Dugarry and Fabrizio Ravanelli among the absentees at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, Marseille had no answer to Parma's forwards. Crespo opened the scoring on 26 minutes and Enrico Chiesa rounded it off ten minutes after the break; in between Paolo Vanoli, the Gialloblù's car mechanic turned midfield player, had his moment in the sun too.