Remembering the 1990 UEFA Cup Final Between Juventus and Fiorentina

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Remembering the 1990 UEFA Cup Final Between Juventus and Fiorentina
Simon Bruty/Getty Images

In the summer of 1982, while Fiorentina were grinding to a 0-0 away draw against Cagliari, Ireland's Liam Brady converted a 75th-minute penalty against Catanzaro in Calabria. It won Juventus the game, and the Serie A title. The Viola have never forgiven them for it. 

Just a single point separated the sides that season, after 30 games. Juve had lost one more but drawn less. They'd won their 20th title and denied the Florentines their third. Eight years later, when Juventus met Fiorentina in the 1990 UEFA Cup Final, it brought the old rivalry back to the fore. 

The Bianconeri were no match that year for Maradona's Napoli in the league but in Europe they beat Paris Saint-Germain, FC Koln, Hamburg, Poland's Górnik Zabrze and East Germany's FC Karl-Marx-Stadt along the way to the final. 

Fiorentina, meanwhile, overcame Atletico MadridSochaux, Dynamo Kiev, Auxerre and Werder Bremen. It was an awful campaign domestically for the Viola, where they narrowly avoided relegation. Their European campaign had seen them pull off a number of lucky escapes and was marred by crowd trouble against Werder Bremen in the semi-final. As punishment for the violence in the stands, the club was ordered to play their home leg of the final at least 300km away from Florence. They chose Avellino, south of Naples.

Juve and Italy legend Dino Zoff, who was the manager of the Old Lady at the time, remembers the day clearly. Speaking to Uefa.com, the ex-goalkeeper shared his memories of the clash: 

Those are extraordinary memories, because to win a UEFA Cup as a coach was something special. Furthermore, we won the Italian Cup [a few days earlier] as well, with a great team. Great credit goes without doubt to the players. We had a fantastic second half of the season in the UEFA Cup, in the Italian Cup and in the Italian league. So that year was full of great satisfaction.

We had to solve the biggest problems in the home game because they caused us some in Turin. They also scored, but then we took a 2-1 lead and made it 3-1. That gave us a good chance to win the trophy because the second leg was played in Avellino, not in Florence. That helped us bring the trophy home. 

The first leg was played at the old Stadio Communale in Turin. It was to be the venue's swansong, because afterwards both Juve and Torino moved into the Olimpico, which had been renovated for the 1990 World Cup. 

Knowing that Fiorentina's home advantage had been eroded by the crowd sanctions, Zoff's side pushed the pace from early on in Turin.

Salvatore Schillaci, so influential all season for Juve and about to shine for Italy at the World Cup, cut Fiorentina open almost immediately. He made an electric break down the flank before cutting back to set up Roberto Galia, who slotted it right under Marco Landucci in the Fiorentina goal. His fifth goal in the competition was scored after just three minutes.

Marco Nappi came close for the Viola shortly after, but he was denied by the brilliant Stefano Tacconi, who palmed it over the bar with a lightening-quick reflex save. It showed what the guests were capable of. They did have, after all, the Brazilian Dunga running the show in midfield and the young Roberto Baggio in the No. 10 shirt. 

Nappi and Baggio linked up well in the early stages, and the young fantasista's irrepressible ability caused the Juve backline several problems. He tested Tacconi but despite his efforts he couldn't bring his side level.

That opportunity fell to Renato Buso, the journeyman midfielder from Treviso in Northern Italy. Buso was actually on loan at Fiorentina from Juventus at the time, but there was no doubting his loyalties when he made a dramatic diving header to get on the end of Alberto Di Chiara's cross.

The stage was set for a classic. An away goal gave Fiorentina hope, but it also spurred the hosts on and forced them to play at their very best. The second leg would be a drab 0-0 draw, but the remaining 80 minutes of the clash in Turin were classic calcio at its best. 

Zoff's side had been living under a cloud since the 1985 Heysel Stadium Disaster. They'd won that year's European Cup final, but it was an empty victory under the circumstances. The 1990 Coppa Italia was the first piece of silverware they'd won since then but seeing the UEFA Cup within their grasp they pounced on Fiorentina in the second half and showed little mercy. 

Schillaci, in particular, was impressive that night. He didn't get on the scoresheet, but his tireless running and selfless play were key to the goals of Pierluigi Casiraghi and Luigi De Agostini, proving that there was more to the forward than just the 15 goals he'd scored that season. 

Toto had been something of a late bloomer, performing well but not outstandingly during his five years at Messina. He was only signed by Juve, in fact, as cover, late in the transfer window and after they'd missed out on their first choice forward, the curiously-named Brazilian, Muller.

The scoreless return leg in Avellino gave Juventus the second of their three UEFA Cup titles. Despite the triumph, Zoff was sacked, presumably as punishment for Juve's fourth place finish in the league behind Napoli, Milan and Inter.

He was replaced by Luigi Maifredi, who broke the world transfer record to sign Baggio from Fiorentina, deepening the hatred felt for the Old Lady in Florence. The No. 10 would be an instant success but even with him, Juve limped to seventh in the league, their worst finish in 30 years and a humiliation for a club of their stature. 

Giovanni Trapattoni followed and after a couple of barren seasons, success returned to Turin. Another UEFA Cup final, but this time with Baggio in black and white against Borussia Dortmund. All the Viola fans could do that night was watch and wonder what might have been. 

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