Alberto Melesani and his Parma side welcomed lowly Torino to the Stadio Ennio Tardini on the afternoon of December 5th 1999.
Parma were flying high in Serie A and in their debut season in the UEFA Champions League were in confident mood and had every reason to be. With talent like Lilian Thuram, Fabio Cannavaro and the deadly Hernan Crespo at his disposal the only main absentee on this week 12 fixture was Gianluigi Buffon in the Parma goal.
As for Emiliano Mondonico’s Torino, they were the complete opposite, fighting it out at the wrong end of the table hoping for Serie A survival.
The Curva Nord was packed and jumping as it always was in Parma’s glory days. The yellow & blue ‘Boys 1977’ flags and scarves of the ultras flew proudly behind ex Parma keeper Lucca Bucci’s goal as the game prepared to get underway.
Parma flew out the traps and before Torino knew what was going on it was 1-0 down. Within the first five minutes their talisman Hernan Crespo volleyed home his eighth goal of the season in front of the Curva Nord sending them wild.
Mondonico’s Torino would eventually settle after such a poor start and would have chances of there own as Ilija Ivic’s spectacular overhead kick almost looped in beyond Matteo Gurdalben who was deputising for Buffon. Gardalben was called into action again palming two more shots away as Torino continued to press for the equaliser.
As Torino pressed Parma caught them on the counter and Ortega really should have made it two as the ball fell to him 12 yards out with just Bucci to beat, he somehow managed to rattle the left hand post.
Parma were on top again and it was Crespo’s turn to spurn a good opportunity as he burst clean through on Bucci only for his former teammate to smother him.
Ortega again missed the chance to get Parma’s second as a long ball sent him clear. He was upended leaving referee De Santis with no choice but to award the penalty. Ortega stepped up and casually and rolled the ball past past the post sending Bucci the wrong way. It was only a matter of time before Parma got their second and were out of sight. Ariel Ortega finally got his goal getting on the end of a Hernan Crespo flick on volleying home from 18 yards. Torino had a mountain to climb, Emiliano Mondonico sat head in hands, a defeated man as Parma went in two goals to the good at half time.
As the second half got underway Parma continued to pour forward and were far the superior team, it could have been three, four, five or six quite easily. They did get their third on 59 minutes as a dangerous ball from Parma’s left found Crespo who fired home from close rage, 3-0 and game over.
Torino were a beaten team and Parma soon added a fourth with the help of André Cruz who failed to deal with a Parma cross from the left, he seemed to just let the ball hit him as it rolled past the helpless Bucci in the Torino goal. 4-0.
Cruz would redeem himself slightly as it was Parma’s turn to fail to defend. A cross ball from a Torino free kick helped Cruz to get on the end of it, poking home from close range.
This would be the last action of the half and 4-1 it would finish to Alberto Malesani’s impressive Parma.Parma would go on to finish a solid fifth in Serie A, seeing them qualify for Europe yet again. As for Torino they would see themselves relegated to Serie B.
By Giovanni Dougall