Football / Anglo-Italian Cup Final: County's charge comes too late: Brescia's Wembley victory

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BRESCIA were roundly booed as they ascended the Wembley steps to collect the Anglo-Italian Cup yesterday, but while their stylish football had failed to stir the imagination of Notts County's following, the event itself had failed to stir many people at all. Only 17,185 made it to Wembley, under half the crowd who came to see Derby's 3-1 defeat by Cremonese last year.

At least County made more of a match of it than Derby had, and they put together a thrilling fight in the closing minutes. This hearty, last-ditch charge served to reinforce the national stereotypes that had been on show all afternoon: the clenched-fist effort and aggression of the English Endsleigh League side almost matching the skill and flair of the Italian Serie B representatives, whose composure was as evident as their willingness to go down in the tackle.

Gheorghe Hagi, the Romanian international, took the laid-back approach to the extreme, wandering lonely along the touchlines and only becoming interested once Gabriele Ambrosetti had fired Brescia ahead in the 64th minute with a superbly executed goal.

Thereafter Hagi came to life long enough to justify his reputation and to construct three scoring chances, one a delightful back-heel which Maurizio Neri just failed to finish.

This was the cue for County to stir up a closing storm, eschewing their first-half passing game - which had produced one unmissable chance for Gary McSwegan - and resorting to the long ball. This severely tested the diminutive Italian defence, who were relieved to see Tony Agana and Kevin Wilson both snatch at shots.

County's most dangerous weapon, however, was the extraordinary long throw of Andy Legg. In the dying seconds, one such missile landed at the feet of Charlie Palmer, four yards from goal, but with his blocked effort went County's last chance to level the match.

Brescia (1-4-3-2): Landucci; Bonometti; Marangon, Domini, Baronchelli, Giunta; Hagi, Gallo, Sabau; Schenardi (Neri, h/t), Ambrosetti (Piovanelli, 76). Substitutes not used: Vettore (gk), Brunetti, Mezzanotti.

Notts County (4-4-2): Cherry; Wilson, Palmer, Johnson, Dijkstra; Devlin, Draper, Turner, Legg; McSwegan (Agana, 73), Lund. Substitutes not used: Catlin (gk), Cox, Matthews, Gallagher.

Referee: A Cakar (Turkey).

(Photograph omitted)

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