Parma. . . .3
ITALY can look forward to a second European hat-trick in four seasons after Parma reminded Wembley last night of the thrilling supremacy of their clubs as they outsmarted and eventually outplayed Antwerp to lift the Cup-Winners' Cup.
At times it was wonderful, breathtaking stuff, the technique of the Italians a welcome relief for sore English eyes. Antwerp, Belgium's rank outsiders, showed admirable spirit in equalising within three minutes of Parma's ninth-minute opener. Nevertheless, a third goal late on ensured for Parma a rightful margin of superiority in their first European final.
With Juventus set for a Uefa Cup triumph, it falls on the indomitable Milan, the best of the best, to complete the European collection in the Champions' Cup against Marseille in two weeks' time.
Two raucous sets of supporters were rewarded with a magnificent start. Stevan Stojanovic did well to repel Alessandro Melli's header in the ninth minute, but from the corner the Antwerp goalkeeper could only put fingers on the ball and from a difficult position the Parma skipper, Lorenzo Minotti, volleyed into the top corner.
Antwerp's equaliser three minutes later began with Daniel Zoratto's misdirected pass to Alex Czerniatynski, who transferred the ball into Francis Severeyns' stride for a decisive left-foot finish.
It was no surprise when Parma restored their lead on the half-hour, Marco Osio turning in a cross, which found Stojanovic wanting again as he left his line to leave Melli an empty net. The new Italian centre-forward saw a strike ruled out for offside and then wasted three chances before Stefano Cuoghi erased all Antwerp hope, capitalising on Georges Grun's long pass six minutes from time.
Antwerp: Stojanovic; Kiekens, Broeckaert, Taeymans, Smidts, Jakovljevic (Van Veirdeghem, 57), Van Rethy, Segers (Moukrim, 84), Severeyns, Lehnhoff, Czerniatynski. .
Parma: Ballotta; Benarrivo, Di Chiara, Minotti, Apolloni, Grun, Melli, Zoratto (Pin, 26), Osio (Pizzi, 66), Cuoghi, Brolin. .
Referee: K-J Assenmacher (Germany).