Friday, September 26, 2014
The match that almost changed history Red Star Belgrade vs AC Milan 1988
AC Milan of the 1980's was considered one of the greatest side in history. The team consisted of the Dutch trio of Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard who won the European Championship in 1988 for Holland. They complimented the club's Italian internationals Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Mauro Tassotti, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Donadoni. Arrigo Sacchi led them to back-to-back European Cup victories in 1989 and 1990. However, before their team began to dominate, they almost fell at the very first hurdles and emerged as one of the luckiest winner in European football history.
After AC Milan won its first won its first Scudetto in nine years in 1988, they marched into their first European Cup campaign in two decades the following season. In the second round, AC Milan faced Red Star Belgrade. The first leg played in San Siro ended with a 1-1 with Red Star's Dragan Stojković scoring an opening goal. Two weeks later, they played the second leg in Belgrade. Things quickly turned bad for AC Milan. Dejan Savicevic scored and Red Star took the lead 2-1 on aggregate. German referee Dieter Pauly sent off Pietro Paolo Virdis and AC Milan was reduced to 10 men. It looked as if Red Star would win the tie. Suddenly, lady luck had found AC Milan. A heavy fog started to build around the stadium. By the 65th minute, the visibility was close to zero. The game was abandoned and both sides agreed to replay the second match the following afternoon.
The third match would start with 0-0(or 1-1 on aggregate) again. Virdis would sit out the match because of the red card from the abandoned match while Ancelotti picked up his second yellow card and of the competition, meaning that he had to sit out a match. Otherwise, Milan was back with 11 men for the mtach. Ruud Guilt who sat out the abandoned match because of injury started the third game on the bench and came in shortly after half-time. The match ended again with a 1-1 draw and went to penalty shootout with AC Milan winning 4-2.
As mentioned, AC Milan would win the European Cup that year and the following year as well. In 1994, they would win their third title in 6 years. Dejan Savicevic who joined Milan in 1992 was the star of the 1994 Final as Milan destroyed Bacelona 4-0.
Meanwhile, Dragan Stojković left Red Star Belgrade for Olympique de Marseille in 1990. Coincidentally, he would face his old club in the 1991 European Cup Final where Red Star Belgrade was crowned the champion after beating Marseille in a penalty shootout. He would have his night in 1993 when Marseille won the title by beating AC Milan in the Final.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index