Football: Bologna and Parma poised for all-Italian party

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The Independent Online
AN ALL-ITALIAN Uefa Cup final in Moscow on 12 May looks likely after good results away from home for Parma and Bologna in last night's semi-final first-leg games.

Parma beat Atletico Madrid 3-1 in Spain while Bologna drew 0-0 with Marseilles in France. If the home legs in two weeks' time go to form the result will be the fifth all-Italian Uefa Cup final this decade. Juventus and Fiorentina started the trend in 1990 while Internazionale and Roma met the following year. Parma played Juventus in 1995 and last year Inter overcame Lazio.

Two first-half goals from the Italian international striker Enrico Chiesa helped Parma to their well-deserved success over Atletico Madrid.

Chiesa opened the scoring after 13 minutes, chipping the ball over the Spanish side's goalkeeper Francisco Molina from the edge of the penalty area after a delicate cross by the Argentinian international Juan Sebastian Veron.

Atletico levelled eight minutes later after Parma's French World Cup winner Lilian Thuram was deemed to have bundled Jose Mari Romero to the ground in the area and Juninho, the former Middlesbrough forward, was successful with his spot-kick.

However, Parma were ahead again five minutes before the interval when Chiesa headed against the bar from a Veron corner and then stabbed home the rebound. Another Argentinian international, Hernan Crespo, added Parma's third after 61 minutes, knocking in another rebound after a shot from Dino Baggio had been blocked.

Juninho had another chance from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute after Romero was again brought down, but this time his kick was saved.

In the south of France, Bologna presented too tough a defensive test for an unimaginative Marseilles side, who rarely looked capable of penetrative moves.

Bologna had several opportunities to snatch an away win. In the first half both Davide Fontolan and the Swedish midfielder Klas Ingesson, once of Sheffield Wednesday, went close with long-distance shots.

Another former Middlesbrough man, Fabrizio Ravanelli, had the best chance for Marseilles before the break, shooting just wide after beating two opponents. He again came close to breaking the deadlock in the 74th minute, when he volleyed a cross from Robert Pires a yard past a post, but Bologna held out.

"We failed to impose ourselves. They were not brilliant but they came here to draw and they defended perfectly," Marseilles' French international striker Christophe Dugarry admitted. "Even keeping the ball required tremendous effort."