San Siro (Giuseppe Meazza)

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Sunday, 26 October 2014, 19:45

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Marc' Antonio Bentegodi

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Italian Serie A

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Milan and Barca meet in a repeat of the 1994 Champions League final and we review that classic.

Last Updated: 23/10/13 at 13:45 Post Comment

"We played a perfect match, where we never let Barcelona get into their rhythm," said then-AC Milan manager Fabio Capello.

"But, more than anything, we played with great intensity, pressing and a tendency to be dangerous any time we held possession. I would have to give a 10 rating to all 11 players for Milan."

At the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece in 1994, Milan produced one of the greatest final upsets, in the first final of the UEFA Champions League era, to reassert themselves as the kings of Europe.

With a side weakened by suspensions, injury and the three non-nationals rule, Capello's underdogs, who were missing Marco van Basten, Gianluigi Lentini (the world's most expensive player at the time), Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Florin Raducioiu, Jean-Pierre Papin and Brian Laudrup, swept to a mesmerising victory.

Fabio Capello and Marcel Desailly: Milan's manager and emerging star celebrate

Johan Cruyff's Barcelona, nicknamed the 'Dream Team' and including the likes of Pep Guardiola, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman and Romario, had been incredibly strong favourites to win their second European Cup in three years, having defeated Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

This was perfection
Fabio Capello

But Serie A champions Milan still lifted their fifth European trophy with a faultless display despite arriving at the final out of form. Two goals from Daniele Massaro set them on their way before a superb, volleyed lob from man of the match Dejan Savicevic and Marcel Desailly's clinical fourth.

The latter had helped Marseille defeat Milan in the previous season's final but he was part of the new-look Italian club under Capello, who had decided on uncharacteristic attacking tactics to protect an inexperienced, makeshift centre-back pairing of Filippo Galli and Paolo Maldini.

Paolo Maldini: The defender formed a makeshift, inexperienced centre-back pairing

Barcelona did not know what hit them. Massaro opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before adding a second past Andoni Zubizarreta in first half stoppage time.

I think that final was one of the best played by Milan
Paolo Maldini

Cruyff, who had been immensely confident and slightly disparaging of Milan before the game, then saw any hopes of a comeback crushed by Savicevic's lob from the right side of the penalty area two minutes after half-time. Desailly ended the contest in the 58th minute.

For emerging Italian legend Maldini, it was the third of what would be an incredible five European titles. But he fittingly reflected on the victory over Barcelona: "I think that final was one of the best played by Milan."

Martin's Memories

"I was commentating on the game for SBS in Australia and I recall the incredible domination of a famous European club by another. The scoreline really reflected the game and it was a magnificent display by Milan. Desailly and Savicevic were particularly emphatic. On the night before the final, England played Greece at Wembley and I had to commentate on that game and then catch an 11pm flight to Athens! I left Wembley shortly after full-time at 9.55pm and jumped on the back of a motorbike with my hand luggage to race to Heathrow Airport!"

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