As English and Italian teams prepare to resume battle in the Champions League, Goal.com’s Gil Gillespie remembers five classic Italian club triumphs over English opposition.
1. Inter 3-0 Liverpool
San Siro, Italy, May 12 1965
Following a torrid 3-1 battering in the first leg at Anfield - described by the ever-dramatic Bill Shankly as "the greatest night there has ever been" - Liverpool got there fingers well and truly burnt in the return fixture of this European Cup semi-final in a hotter-than-hot San Siro.
"Liverpool were greeted by fire crackers, sirens, rockets, smoke bombs and a hail of bottles," noted The Times in their match-report.
Corso's stunning, and controversial, free-kick gave Inter a way back into the tie. Then Spanish international Joaquin Peiro kicked the ball out of the Liverpool goalkeeper's hands for the second. And, finally, the peerless Giacinto Facchetti finished off a superb team move to send the European Cup holders into the final and Liverpool home with a hateful of excuses about the referee.
Inter: Sarti, Picchi, Guarneri, Burgnich, Facchetti, Bedin, Suarez, Corso, Jair da Costa, Mazzola, Peiro
Liverpool: Lawrence, Lawler, Moran, Strong, Yeats, Stevenson, Callaghan, Hunt, St John, Smith, Thompson
2. AC Milan 3-0 Manchester United
San Siro, Italy, May 2 2007
Anyone writing off Serie A as inferior to the Premier League would do well to remember this mauling handed out by the Rossoneri just two short years ago.
Starting the game 3-2 down, after unluckily losing the first leg, Milan set about dismantling their somewhat bemused-looking opponents from the opening whistle.
The home sides' lighting quick precision passing and sharply-angled movement was breathtaking and after eleven dominant minutes they had the lead when Kaka drilled Clarence Seedorf's knock-down into the corner of the net.
Seedorf himself doubled the lead fifteen minutes later as Ronaldo and Rooney were left looking somewhat embarrassed by the supremely active Milan midfield.
Carlo Ancelotti's side sat back in the second half but still managed to put Alberto Gilardino through for the third goal on 78 minutes. Ranks alongside the 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the 1994 European Cup final as one of Milan's finest hours in the competition.
AC Milan: Dida, Oddo, Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski, Gattuso (Cafu 84), Pirlo, Seedorf, Ambrosini, Kaka (Favalli 86), Inzaghi (Gilardino 66).
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea (Saha 77), Brown, Vidic, Heinze, Ronaldo, Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney.
3. AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
Athens, Greece, May 23 2007
It may not have been the greatest performance but, for Milan fans, it was only the result that mattered.
Two years previously in Istanbul, essentially the same Milan team had outplayed, out-thought and out-skilled a different Liverpool team, only to somehow lose the Champions League final on penalties after the hapless Dida allowed Benitez' side back into a game they were losing three-nil at half time.
Now revenge was on their minds and it showed. Milan started the game nervously and never really got into their stride. But Pippo Inzaghi, first with his hip, then with the exquisite timing of his run, put the ghosts of a terrible night in Turkey to rest.
AC Milan: Dida, Oddo, Nesta, Maldini, Jankulovski (Kaladze 79), Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf (Favalli 90), Kaka, Inzaghi (Gilardino 88).
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan (Arbeloa 88), Carragher, Agger, Riise, Pennant, Alonso, Mascherano (Crouch 78), Zenden (Kewell 59), Gerrard, Kuyt.
4. Juventus 3-0 Manchester United
Stadio Comunale, Turin, Italy, November 3 1976
Having lost the first leg of this UEFA Cup second round tie by a single goal at Old Trafford, the Bianconeri set about demolishing the English side in front of 70,000 appreciative fans in Turin.
This was a Juve team laden with talent against a Red Devils side containing Steve Coppell, Lou Macari and Sammy Mcllroy. For Juve, Dino Zoff and Gaetano Scirea were at the back, Marco Tardelli and Franco Causio held sway in midfield and Roberto Bettega and Roberto Boninsegna swarmed around smartly in attack.
It was three goals from the two Roberto’s that would decide the outcome of the tie and send Juventus on their way to their first ever European trophy.
Juventus: Zoff, Cuccureddu, Gentile, Furino, Morini, Scirea, Causio, Tardelli, Boninsegna, Benetti, Bettega
Manchester United: Stepney, Nicholl, Albiston, Daly, Greenhoff B, Houston, Coppell, Mcllroy, Pearson, Macari, Hill
5. Arsenal 0-1 Fiorentina
Wembley Stadium, London, England October 28 1999
Proof, as if it were needed, that Gabriel Batistuta only needed half a chance to decide the outcome of a game.
Having been a little unlucky to play out a goalless draw in Florence, Giovanni Trapattoni’s Viola made the journey to the Gunners temporary home needing a victory to ensure qualification from Group B of the Champions League to the next round of the competition.
Containment was the order of the day as Fiorentina sat back and hit Arsenal on the break. And, in the 75th minute of a tight game, Trapattoni’s caution paid off when Batistuta outsmarted Nigel Winterburn and smacked a screamer of a shot into the top right-hand corner of the net from an almost impossible angle.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Keown, Adams; Petit, Vieira, Parlour, Overmars; Bergkamp, Kanu
Fiorentina: Toldo, Di Livio, Repka, Firicano, Pierini, Rossito, Heinrich, Rui Costa, Cois, Chiesa, Batistuta
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