vendredi 12 février 2016

French Clubs Feats on the European Stage (Part 2a).

The first part was covering 30 years, here for the second part it will be 10 years. The History accelerates.


1985-1986 :

The first season that occupies ourselves now is not already about the «  big French clubs » and their omnipresent presidents that we were talking about at the end of the first part on the topic, but about two leading clubs in terms of formation of young players : Nantes and Auxerre.




AJ Auxerroise, which starts now to be a quite established team into the First Division - even if, as his omnipotent coach always say, they « just fight against relegation » - plays here the UEFA Cup for the second time consecutively as they finished 4th in the League (after they finished 3rd the precedent year). Once again, they would be beaten as soon as they entered the competition, so in the first round, but not without making any noise beating once, one of the historical greatest European club.

This club, it is AC Milan, back from two seasons in the Serie B's purgatory (1980-81 and 1982-83), just back in an UEFA competition since the season 1979-1980 and an elimination in the first round of the Champions Cup, and that would become again, as they were during the Rivera's years, an European giant very soon. Silvio Berlusconi will take the lead of the club some months later (in February) and the Dutch trio Rijkaard-Gullit-Basten, as well as the still unknown Sacchi, will be hired one season later more.

Seeing Auxerre eliminating the always impressive Milan in this first round of the UEFA Cup '85-86 was allowed after the demonstration that the Frenches did in the first leg match, the very first big feat of the team of Guy Roux in Europe. Guy Roux who already shown that he had more than one trick up his sleeve by thwarting Italians' plans with his famous 4-3-3... "à l'auxerroise", of course.

08/09/85, Stade de l'abbé Deschamps, Auxerre.
AJ Auxerroise – AC Milan :
 
The main actions in motion picture :


Final score : 3-1 (Virdis 4', Garande 38', Garande 63', Danio 68')

Lineups :
AJA : Martini – Janas – Perdrieau, B. Boli, Barret – Danio, Fiard, B. Ferrer (A. Gomez 87') – Ferreri, Garande, R. Boli (P. Vahirua 78'). Coach : G. Roux.
ACM : Terraneo – F. Baresi – Tassotti, Galli, Maldini – Icardi (Bortolazzi 78'), Di Bartolomei, Wilkins, Evani – Hateley, Virdis. Coach : N. Liedholm.

As we have seen in the video, both teams missed a penalty, or the two goalkeepers saved it. Martini saved a penalty (by Di Bartolomei) and Terraneo saved one by Garande (55'), what did not prevent the latter to score the goal to make it 2-1 a few minutes later (63').
We also take note that Paolo Maldini made here his debuts in European football (Eric Cantona will do the same in the second leg entering in the second half of the game).

Most of all a demonstration on how to win a match with a teamplay which is first of all based on the counter-attacks...and some folly, without what, this feat would have been simply impossible. Armed with an equalizer scored by Garande before half-time which responded to an early goal made by Virdis, the second half was to the dominance of AJA which has been rewarded with 2 more goals to his credit, it is true after an incredible serie of numerous occasions, that for both sides.

Thus, if it was allowed to believe in a qualification, the harder remained in doing the travel to San Siro ; where Milan setted the record straight ; 3-0 for the Rossoneri.

At least, in some maneer, one can say (retrospectively) that Auxerre signed here his entry in the « big league ». What Mr. Roux always refuted to be part of, even at the national level, as long as he was the coach of the French team. Assuringly with reason - Auxerre is a 30 to 35.000 inhabitants city. But as we will see later, the prefecture of Bourgogne only started to get itself talked about in Europe. Thus, this match is very certainly a milestone in the AJA's history as in the same time, that is also with them that the story about the French clubs feats on the European stage will be written from now on.

Ferreri, bringer of storm in the defence of Milan

The feat from Auxerre, on one single match it is true, was certainly the biggest one by a French club in the season. Yet, the club which had the longer run in an European competiton was FC Nantes. One of the leaders, like AJA, of the « formation à la française » with a politic that is mainly about developping his own young talents but also with a bigger status than the team of Bourgogne, with a longer history in the French football elite (since the mid-60s) as well  as the yellow and green club was as multiple Champion of France in the recent years, when the Auxerrois only counted one line at their plamarès at the time : runner-up in the French Cup in '79, when still a club of the D2, beaten by...Nantes, for its lonely victory in National Cup until 1999.

FC Nantes, vice-champion '85 (behind Bordeaux, eliminated in the first round of the Champions Cup by Fenerbahçe), reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, its second best result ever in Europe after the semis in Cup Winners Cup 1979-1980...and much premature eliminations in the different European Cups in between. 

So a honest run in the UEFA Cup '85-86 :

Valur Reykiavik - FC Nantes : 2-1 (goal by José Touré for Nantes). Not an incredible start for sure.
FC Nantes - Valur Reykiavik : 3-0 (Amisse, Touré and Amisse again). Maybe the start of a great adventure.
FK Partizan - FC Nantes : 1-1 (with an equalizer by Halihodzic). Never an easy thing to get a result in the Partizan Stadium.
FC Nantes - FK Partizan : 4-0 (Burruchaga, Amisse, Bracigliano author of a feat with Metz against Barça in '84, Amisse). The horses are released?
Spartak Moscow - FC Nantes : 0-1 (Morice on pen.)
FC Nantes - Spartak Moskow : 1-1 (Touré 69', responds to Cherenkov 68'). 

The wall Dasaev is pulled down. Definitively not a small feat. But the hardiest, or the toughest, was to come.
It is now the quarter-finals, we already said they stopped their run here. Nevertheless, this double-confrontation was rich enough in emotions, and that's why we talk about it. By the way, what will happen with Nantes is a bit what happened to Auxerre, but the other way.

First, Nantes plays away and looses 3-0. That's against Inter (the Italians were not strurring about in the Serie A since some times but neither did the Nantais in Division 1, since the mid-season). So what emotions here if it's not a feeling of...powerlessness and some feeling of shame one can asks? That's true, nothing more than that for now. But there has been a second leg match.

Videos FC Nantes - Inter Milan 1986 :
1) the full-game.
2) a short report.

 


19/03/86, Stade de La Beaujoire, Nantes.
FC Nantes - Inter Milan : 3-3 (0-3 in the first leg)
Goals : Der Zakarian 8', Altobelli 33', Halilhodzic 37' pen., Le Roux 41', Brady 58' pen., Altobelli 63'.
Red card : Der Zakarian 53'.

Lineups :
FCN : Bertrand-Demanes - Le Roux - Kombouaré, Der Zakarian, Ayache - Bracigliano, Morice (Debotté 69'), Burruchaga, Amisse - Touré (C. Robert 53'), Halihodzic. Coach : Suaudeau.
INT : Zenga - G.Baresi - Bergomi, R. Ferri, Collovati (Marini 65'), Fanna (Minaudo 78') - Tardelli, Mandorlini, Brady - Rummenigge, Altobelli. Coach : Corso.

In Nantes, after the humiliation suffered in San Siro, Nantes became Nantes again. The crowd quickly found hope thanks to an early goal by Michel Der Zakarian (the same Michel Der Zakarian who is the current coach of FCN), at the 8th minute. In the following minutes, the supporters and all the observators would retrieve what made of Nantes a so special team. A team which, directed by his coach Jean-Claude Suaudeau, disciple of José Arribas, develops an offensive football with a...polished game. And it is not the equalizer made by Altobelli (33') that changed anything to that since Nantes continued and continued to make a a demonstration of football to the quite "former stars of football" who were Rummenigge, Brady, Tardelli...2-1 (Halilohodzic at the 37'), 3-1 (Le Roux at the 41'). It is the half-time, and Inter is on the verge of ruin.
But in the second half, the Interists will simply ruin what until then was a match of football. Eveything goes wrong between the 52th and the 54th minute when concecutively, José Touré is the victim of injury, injury that he made almost alone, after he had already been literally assaulted by Giuseppe Baresi during the whole first half. The diagnostic could be quickly made : ligaments broken. Verdict : end of season for Touré and no travel to Mexico in June to play the World Cup. And one has barely some time to be moved by his fate that, some seconds later, on the opposite side of the field, in the Nantes' camp, at a bit more than 20 meters from its goals, Fanna, at the pressing, not content to disturb Kombouaré who tries to clear a ball, commits on him an extremely severe full-face tackle. Fanna will be not worried the by referee. But Der Zakarian who wanted to bring justice in some maneer, maybe not the best maneer, him, will be sent-off after he hitted Lanna, in revenge. Then, some minutes after this collection of incidents, Bracigliano, loosing his nerves seeing Altobelli running at full-speed through a decimated defence in the direction of the goals, brings down the aerial Italian striker by pulling his jersey in position of last defender. The fault was made at the limit of the 18 yards but Altobelli falls down into the penalty area (no card for Bracigliano here). Brady converts it into a goal; 2-3. Operation completed for Inter. Altobelli will add an anecdotic goal 5 minutes after. 3-3.

Some sort of a second "Sevilla" for French Football. As the German "realism" triumphed of France and its 'Magic Square' in 1982, the Italian (and German again, Rummenigge completed a good share of fouls) "realism" shotted down "Le Jeu à la Nantaise", which, maybe for the first time, had fully expressed in European football during the 3 first rounds of that edition of the UEFA Cup, but only during one half of that second-leg match against Inter Milan, which held the role of censor with his anti-football.
In a bad mood and... very naive in the first leg match, eliminated in the second leg after having been very close to reverse the situation but being still too much...naive, FC Nantes has had here at least the merit of making live to his supporters and the supporters of French football in general, a night that they will not be soon to forget...
A match rich in emotions as we announced in preamble, but also heavy of consequences : if the defeat of Sevilla maybe prepared the future successes of the French National Team, FC Nantes will have now more than ever all the difficulties to retain its players. Heavy of consequences for the rest of the career of Touré too, as regards the individualities. Because this night, during this "crazy game", as Jean-Claude Suaudeau said to a T.V interviewer at half-time, between a team practicing an offensive game but lacking of experience and a team of old dogs of war familiar with European jousts, lacking of legs but not of tricks, probably one talent has been sacrificed on the altar of results. He will never overcome this tragic injury, or wound in more ways than one.

It will take some times to see again our two teams, Auxerre, and most of all Nantes in Europe after the severe defeats that the two Milan infliged to them. Other clubs, with more influent presidents and most of all with totally different politics, certainly more inspired by what is practiced abroad, will gradually occupy more and more the European scene making of the French clubs some challengers that will be taken, still gradually, a bit more seriously. Maybe died on this Wednesday, 19th March 1986, in this Nantes-Inter a certain French football, a "romantic football".

For the souvenirs, the run of FC Nantes in the UEFA Cup 1985-1986 in a 14 minutes video :



1986-1987 :

This season, it is the direct rival of FC Nantes, Bordeaux that will have the longest career in European Cup as far as are concerned the French clubs. The opposition between the two clubs summarized in what is called "le derby de l'Atlantique". But above the question that is about to know which club is the best one on the west coast or in France in terms of pure results, it is also the opposition of two very different politics or philosophies with Bordeaux and his very ambitious president Claude Bez, who is more after writing checks to hire confirmed international talents or new ones from other clubs than to think about the formation of the young footballers and philosophize about the beautiful game.
And above his ambitions to keep the club at the top at the national level, the objective is avowed by Bez : to be with Bordeaux the first French winner of an European Cup.

Bordeaux and the experienced Tigana launch an attack on Europe

No suspense aymore, the dream of the president did not come true but at least, after they have reached the semi-finals of the European Cup (the biggest one) in 1985, the Girondins feature in the last-four of the Cup Winners Cup 1986-1987, showing now some consistency on the European stage, like at the domestic level where Bordeaux has been dominant during the first half of the decade. A stability at the top level that did not happened since...Saint-Etienne in the mid-70s. If 1986 has seen a brand new champion in PSG (eliminated in the first round of the Champions Cup '86-87 by Vitkovice) and not Bordeaux this time, the club of Gironde had still finished on the podium of the D1 (3rd, behind Nantes, eliminated for its part in the first round of the UEFA Cup by Torino and who finished 7th in D1 in '86-87, the beginning of a dry period, the end of the best period, certainly), and has added a French Cup to its palmarès. In brief, they supposedly could think ahead.

Now, let's be honest, if Bordeaux reached the semis of the Cup Winners Cup, what is a good result, it is hard to tell about a feat (winning it, as wanted, would have been more it). At least they had the merit to beat Benfica in the second round, what is never easy, and to go through the "Russian trap" that Torpedo Moscow symbolized, most of all since this club was able to cave in some clubs however reputed in Europe.
But fighting with Olympique de Marseille with its no less ambitious president Bernard Tapie for the national title, Bordeaux let escape a possible European final to a more tenacious Lokomotive Leipzig, at the end of a very tight double-confrontation (0-1 at home, 1-0 away) and a penalty shootout. The East-Germans will be beaten by Ajax and his prodigy Van Basten, 1-0.
A pity for French football that maybe had a chance to win here its first European Cup, the great purpose of the President Bez (even if not the biggest European cup, it would have been better than nothing). Bordeaux however accomplished maybe what was the essential in reconquering the title of Champion of France leaving its new great rival, President Tapie's OM, at a fair distance. Certainly a good calculation (by the certified public accountant, Bez). Thus, they had moreover now a chance to win the European Cup the next season. The "real one".

A bit more seriously, and in the meantime, there still has been some good moments in this Girondins de Bordeaux European campaign '86-87 with as previouslysaid :

The victory over Benfica thanks to a  free-kick by Vercruysse, a la Platini :


 Benfica - Bordeaux : 1-1 (Zla. Vujovic, Rui Aguas). Bordeaux - Benfica : 1-0 (Vercruysse).

The qualification against Torpedo Moscow, after an absorbing second leg match in Russia :

Bordeaux - Torpedo : 1-0 (Fargeon 57')...


...Torpedo - Bordeaux : 3-2 (Touré 39' on pen., Agashkov 49' on pen., Touré 60', Shirinbekov 62', Agashkov 71' on pen).


That was hot. Then happened what happened against the winner of the D.D.R Cup.

The Girondins squad consisted during that 1986-1987 season of Dropsy in the goals, Battiston, Specht and Thouvenel in defense, Tigana, Girard and Gernot Rohr at midfield, like in '85. At the end of the last summer, Giresse had moved to the OM side with whom he signed a last contract as now a free agent. He has been replaced by two new recruits : the promising offensive players Ferreri and Vercruysse, bought to their respective clubs of formation Auxerre and Lens. José Touré, has also been  recruited at the beginning of the same season, bought to Nantes, supposedly to play more in a striker role. He only played the second half of the season due to his injury against Inter Milan as seen above (Bernard Lacombe played a last half-season before his return in form) but he was decisive during the spring especially in European Cup against Torpedo as we have just seen as well as in the First Divison title race in a quite decisive macth against OM (3-0, 1 goal) or against Monaco in a good draw away. Furthermore, Touré became again a player of the French National team, in April 1987. On an international level, the recruitment had consisted in the signings of the twin brothers Vujovic (Zoran in defence, Zlatko in attack), two excellent recruits from Yugoslavia (Hajduk Split). Of Fargeon, the Swiss-French, who arrived in December from the Swiss League (Bellinzone). At last, the club counted also on one of his own products, the young defender Alain Roche.
This rich squad was animated by Aimé Jacquet.

Bordeaux 1986-1987 : semi-finalist of the Cup Winners Cup...and most of all Champion of France, + Winner of the French Cup.

So once again, we'll never know in what a Final Bordeaux-Ajax would have resulted. A pity.

But in the facts, despite they had a shorten career in Europe in that 1986-1987 season, it is a way more unexpected team that has really thrilled the French people.

Not far geographically, but at light years of the rhinestones and sequins of Bordeaux, the Toulouse FC, also known as the "Téfécé".



Toulouse FC participates here for the first time in an European Cup after a 4th place in the 1st Division that allows them to enter in the UEFA Cup.

If not stacked with international players like Bordeaux, the team of the south-west, still lean on some stars as the former World Champion Tarantini in defence (Argentina 1978) and his fellow countryman, the particularly fanciful Marcico, dribbler, creator, and finisher. On some experimented players in France like the former Bordeaux and Lille's goalkeeper Bergeroo or the striker Stopyra, author of a remarkable personal, and also collective performance in the last Mexican World Cup with the National Team. Without forgetting one of the great forces of the club, its youngness with players from the local academy like Duguépéroux and Durand at midfield and maybe most of all Gérald Passi, announced as the future number 10 of the Fench National Team, i.e no more no less than as the successor of Platini to whom the press doesn't hesitate to compare him.

And talking about stars, the French club will have lot in its plate. As the draw decided that Téfécé would encounter Diego Armando Maradona's Naples in the first round. Maradona who displayed only some months earlier what is probably or even assuringly, the best individual performance ever during a World Cup (the visit cards of Stopyra and of Tarantini with his distant World title take a hit).
Thus, Toulouse, it has to be said, a city of rugby, would be the World Football capital city in the second leg match.

October, 1 1986, Stadium, Toulouse.
After a short loss 1-0 away at Stadio San Paolo (goal by Carnevale at the 55th minute), more than a match of gala, this match finally also constitutes a superb opportunity to realise a fantastic feat, even though assuringly, it will be (very, very) difficult for the men of Jacques Santini - so the term of "feat". In general, the Italian teams know how to keep the lead, even after a victory on the littlest possible score. Also, as we have seen above, the recent history about French clubs encountering Italian clubs in European Cups is clearly not to the advantage of the frst ones mentionned.

Here are the lineups of both teams at the beginning of the match :
TFC : Bergeroo - Tarantini - Lestage, Ruty, Tihy - Despeyroux, Durand - G. Passi, Bellus - Marcico, Stopyra. Coach : Jacques Santini.
NAP : Garella - Renica -  Bruscolotti, Ferrario, Ferrara, Volpecina - De Napoli, Bagni, Muro - Maradona, Carnevale. Coach : Ottavio Bianchi.

Unsurprinsingly enough, for this second leg, Ottavio Bianchi replaced a striker (Giordano) by a supplementary defender (Volpecina who takes place on the left side). The chances to reverse the trend look very small. But the Stadium, filled with 40.000 spectators and equipped with lasers to enlight the kick-off of the match, and Maradona, is notwithstanding ready for the show.

Kick-off : after he just has had he privilege to taste the heat of the spotlights (or as precised before the lasers, we are in 1986!), Maradona got into a serie of dribbles to start this match. And quickly can sample a hot tackle of the athletic and heated defensive midfielder Duguépéroux. The Téfécé sets the tone, we're not here to dance but well to play a football match.
Maradona is Maradona. But hopefully, as he is not the whole Napoli's team, the rest of what remains his team is well aware of it and sticks to its plans being compact in defence top play quick counter-attacks. And well launched in the depth, the powerful Carnevale gives a first warning to the Toulousains after 5 little minutes of play. The experienced Tarantini is here to push it in corner-kick. The set-piece is well boxed by Bergeroo. A consecutive shot by De Napoli will not worry him much more. The international French keeper enters perfectly in his match.
A few time after, Maradona shows to take things seriously by obtaining a goal-kick against his personal marker in this match, Tihy, who was in a position of attacker - doesn't he  always open the debate in the same maneer at the kick-off anyway?
Naples controls everything for now, destabilizing Toulouse with the left back Volpecina who is practically a winger and considerably disturbs Durand who's the role is splitted between central midfielder and right defender. Italians calls this system Zona Mista and that type of left back that takes place into it a terzino fluidificante. Let's just hope that the Toulouse FC team will not completely enter in deliquescence due to this old method that should be well-known now. But still on this left side, Maradona makes a festival playing with three totally desoriented defenders. Desoriented in their positionning, and by the extra-terrestrial talent of the Argentinean. It will be finally without consequences as after, another dribble, the referee don't fall into the trap of the number 10 who simply dives into the box, absolutely not touched by Tarantini (who still had his two feet and his 12 studs detached from the ground). Following this action, some minutes later, and as the local team starts to enter a bit more in the match, another lightning counter-attack by Naples was really near to make a goal this time. Bergeroo, vigilant and fast, advances until the limit of the box to clear the ball out of the feet of Carnevale, all alone in the axis. A turn in this match.

Because after this beginning to the advantage of Naples which attacked more than expected, Toulouse finally finds its marks at home, now familiar with all of that individual marking and typical movements from their opponents and starting to make combinations as well on their side. As maybe, Naples, confident in his forces but not so much in Carnevale this night, starts to lose interest in having the control of the ball and to play forward.
Stopyra scores before the sky blue eyes of Passi
And here he's coming, the goal made by Stopyra at the 16th minute. Stopyra works at the contact of the Napolitan defence on the right side, transmits to Passi who finds a wall of sky blue defenders in front of him. But the Italian defence struggles to clear well the ball and Tihy, very prompt, intervenes before Maradona who never saw the pass to arrive in his feet. Tihy orientates the game on the right to Durand, Durand finds Marcico in position of right winger, feint, cross with the left, Garella is on the ball to counter Passi but can't control it, Stopyra roams here at the second post to put the ball in the nets, 1-0!

Stopyra in a duel with Ferrara






It's now 1-1 on aggregate and just after the goal by "my little Yannick" as a famous French TV commentator called him during the Mundial, the Napolitans shows some febrility in defence at the image of Ferrara and Bruscolotti who succesively fail to clear a long ball coming to them. On a throw-in consecutive to this action, Despeyroux finds a shot that could have been a goal if the keeper had not slightly deviated it. Brilliant save, here, by Garella.
Everything or almost stood here in the first half of an hour of the match. Then the debate equilibrates between the two teams in the second half. Maradona, who tried a lob from 30 meters on Bergeroo, is globaly under the control of Tihy who like all his teammates can count on the "twelth man" this night to benefit of the supplement of forces that, until the end, could bring a bit of doubt in the Napolitans minds. 

No goal would be added in the prolongations. So the decision will be made on a penalty shootoot. It remains to know if the last two occasions in favor of Toulouse in the match, signed Despeyroux (a header saved by Garella) and a shoot by Marcico, marked a missed occasion of qualification or on the contrary if it could be synonymous of a stronger moral on the French side. In front of the cameras, Pierre Espanol (who entered at the 76th minute instead of Passi, Marx replaced Lestage in the very end) seems to be very confident.

But before all, the first minutes of the match including the goal of TFC (action that leads to the goal since 19:35) :



Now, it's the penalty shootout. Stopyra is the very first shooter. It's a miss. Then Giordano (who entered for Muro at the 65th minute) for Naples, Marcico for Toulouse, Ferrario, Durand, Renica and Marx all convert their try until Bagni misses at his turn - unless it is Bergeroo who saves it. 
The decision will be made between two Argentinean World Champions : Tarantini. Who scores. Maradona's shoot...and hits the post!
Well prepared to this type of event the experienced French goalkeeper did not move at all on his line before Maradona kicks his try as he knew that the famous number 10 (who by the way did not impressed him at all, "I saw him taller") had the habit to always wait for a move of the keeper to beat him thanks to a wrong-foot. Already decisive within the full-time of the game, Bergeroo was assuringly one of the big men of the match. With...Maradona, because Maradona, and all the players who missed their penalty, as usual, were the best players during the match. Stopyra the author of the equalizer on aggregate, Bagni, very active at midfield and first conductor of his team. Maradona because Maradona.
Tarantini who scored the last goal in the shootout for Toulouse was another big man of this night with all his experience and his technique at the heart of the backline into which he fought during 120 minutes with much sustain, until that penalty. This victory and this qualification against his demi-god of best friend, Diego, remains for him a very special moment if not his best souvenir of all as he confied it, given that all the odds were against his club.

Very good on the two matches, finding the way to thwart a team that was certainly already a bit thwarted by the recent successes of Maradona, and the setbacks that quickly went alongside it, Toulouse was winner of an Italian club, unseen thing since Bastia beating Torino in the 1977-1978 UEFA Cup). But as we can say that Bastia is special in the French football, Naples is special too in the Italian one. Quite febrile in defence, and not especially inspired in attack (even though always potentially very dangerous as we have seen) there was here for the Toulousains a possibility to make it. And they did.
Beating Maradona's Naples, not bad for the European deflowering of the team of "La Ville Rose".

Videos :
1) 60-min lenght video which countains the prolongations + the penalty shootout in full.
2) A 5 minutes-lenght report of the match.
3) The miss of Maradona, Winner in Mexico, and looser in Toulouse. All Maradona.





Heroes

And it's not over yet. In the second round, Toulouse meets Spartak Moscow.

The first leg match, held in Toulouse, is a real demonstration of football made by the Toulousains. With a Passi worthy of a comparision with the great Pelé according to the newspaper La Dépêche du Midi. Hey, just take a look!


22, October 1986, Stadium de Toulouse.
Toulouse FC 3, Spartak Moscow 1.
Attendance : 35.962 spectators.
Goals : Passi 42', Rodionov 56', Passi 66', and Passi again 81' for a hat-trick.

TFC : Bergeroo - Lestage, Tarantini, Ruty, Tihy - Durand, Despeyroux, Espanol (Assadourian 73') - G. Passi - Stopyra, Bellus. Coach : J. Santini.
S-M : Dasaev - Mitin (Bogachev), B. Kuznetsov, Khidiyatullin (future TFC), Kaiumov - E.Kuznetsov, Khuzlev (Shibayev 65'), Eremenko, Ataulin - Susloparov, Rodionov. Coach : K. Beskov.

Then the roles would be inverted in Moscow where Spartak beats the "Téfécé"* 5-1.
In this way come to an end the adventure of Toulouse in its first European Cup. But that was good. 
Like what it's not necesarrily those that goes the more far who go furthest who are the best.

* : for the non-francophones, "Téfécé" literally means "you're spanked" in French, phonetically.


1987-1988 : 

In the UEFA Cup, we find again Auxerre, once again eliminated as soon as the first round, this time by Panathinaikos, and our Toulousains again who finished 3rd in the League at the end of their fantastic season '86-87, and who are stopped again in the second round. They had beaten Panionios which is not Panathinaikos, no more than it is a greek cousin of Panini, in the first round, before being eliminated by Leverkusen on the narrow scores of 1-1 and 0-1. This time, the balance has not leaned on their side. We won't develop on the subject as there not much things to say this time. Like what, the first times are always the best.

In the Champions Cup, we find Bordeaux which has big ambitions as previously said but which must unfortunately stop his run against PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals (1-1 at home; 0-0 away). Like Toulouse who has been eliminated by the future winner of the UEFA Cup, Bordeaux is stopped by a team that will continue to progress in the greatest European competition always in the same fashion adding some triumphs 0-0, 1-0, 1-1...to its collection until a fantastic final won on penalties after a...that's it, a 0-0. That was against a Benfica that did not score much more goals in the competition.
Bordeaux had not much lessons to give on the subject neither, but could feel some feelings of unfairness as they have been particularly mistreated by the PSV Eindhoven's players who multiplicated the aggressions, in particular on Tigana, its trump card. In such a way that we even talked of a "contract" on him. The executant : Ronald Koeman. Tigana was out at the 75th minute of the first leg match and only reappeared at the 75th minute in the second leg match, now already diminished but to receive the same treatment again. Operation completed for PSV. For once, at this little game, Bordeaux had found one real formidable opponent.

And it is the Marseillais who make the longest run this year in Europe, following the paths of Bordeaux with a semi-final in the Cup Winners Cup, even though they are still at a fair distance behind in the League (Bordeaux will finish second, Marseille 6th and it is Monaco that will be the champion of that season 1987-1988).

 
Olympique de Marseille reaches the semi-finals of an European Cup for the First time in its history (beginning with reaching the quarter-finals for the first time too, to begin with) as follows :

In the first round, OM manage to overcome Lokomotive Leipzig, the team that had deprived Bordeaux of an European Final.
1/ 16 : Lokomotive Leipzig - OM : 0-0
1/ 16 : OM - Lokomotive Leipzig : 1-0 (K. Allofs served by Papin, generally it is otherwise)
1/ 8 : ah, and here we do a stop. Because if there's a match to highlight in this OM's campaign, it is well this one.

Olympique de Marseille - Hajduk Split : 4-0 (Papin 30', Abd. Diallo 48', K. Allofs 69', Giresse 89')

Here are the goals with the very first one scored by Jean-Pierre-Papin for OM in European Cup... after a long wait, so for a very special celebration of the goal (find again here the video of all Papin's goals in European Cup) :



Here is now how the OM's team lined into this match :

OM - Hajduk Split 1987

We can find here in the team coached by Gérard Banide, some reminescence of the Platini's Equipe de France of the first half of the eighties, what becomes less surprising when knowing that Michel Hidalgo, the former coach of the National Team, was at the Olympian club, in charge of the more or less clear role of sports director unless it was a vague one of "manager" or, "technical advisor". So the presence of two former players who were part of the famous "magic square" : Genghini, former player of Monaco bought by OM after a transit by the Swiss League (Servette) and Giresse (hired after the World Cup '86), that the OM's president Tapie, did not miss to boast about picking him up among the team of President Bez' Girondins de Bordeaux : Giresse at the end of his contract choosed to not extend it. Bez had already signed Ferreri and Vercruysse. A "victory" in Tapie's view, against who is still the most influent president of club in France, and who would even enter, some times later, at the FFF, in '88. On the field, Giresse will not rule against his new president who had claimed that Giresse was still one of the greatest players in activity in the French League. He has even been awarded "French player of the year" in '87, and that was really not about doing an ultimate tribute to him or giving to him some sort of a testimonial award. He was clearly still the best French player in the League, among the best ones all countries taken in account, and very regular in his performances.
We also find in this team, two other European champions '84 at the back, in Le Roux and Domergue, and two German international players of great value, Klaus Allofs in attack, in support of a star to come, Papin, and the elegant and implacable Karlheinz Förster in the central defence.

With its two playmakers for a lonely defensive midfielder, Franck Passi (primarly a defender, and brother of Gérald) coming from Montpellier, and its 3 attackers, the 11 that is lined presents like a very offensive team. That would have been a pity that the Marseillais deprived themselves to take the responsability to make the game and play the attack at home, against a team of the Yugoslavian League which is quite of the kind to play too, but which can also show in some moments, a loss of concentration. A tactical choice which was fructuous. Was it not made obvious that it was the option to take anyway since the motto "Droit au But" appeared again on the club crest, in 1986?

For the second leg match in Split, Banide chooses however to leave Diallo on the bench and to include a supplementary defender, Ayache, who will take the right channel in a team thought more to keep his good initial result and for the counter-attack. At home, Hajduk (coached by the Bulgarian Ivan Vutsov) is leading 2-0 at the end of the match (Asanovic on penalty at the 19th minute and Bursac at the...83rd minute). Not enough for Zoran Vulic and his teammates. A victory 3-0 will even be awarded in favor of OM due to crowd trouble (and an interruption of the match during 15 minutes caused by throws of flares on the pitch, and pitch invasion).

Olympique de Marseille is now well in quarter-final where they will meet the surprising team of Rovaniemi (Finland). A formality, let's be honest.

1/ 4 : Rovaniemi PS - OM : 0-1 (Papin)
1/ 4 : OM - Rovaniemi PS : 3-0 (Genghini, Allofs, Papin on pen.).

Now, in order to know if Marseille can succeed where Bordeaux failed the precedent year, i.e to be the first French club to win an European Cup, it will be a test. The holder of the title in Cup Winners Cup, Ajax Amsterdam.
Not the great Ajax that the Skoblar and Magnusson's OM met 17 years before, maybe. An Ajax that has seen his star of its attack Marco van Basten, and his coach Johann Cruijff, to leave the club at the end of the precedent season, yes. But an Ajax still unbeaten in Europe since 11 matches and that has forgot nothing of the principles of its game.
Irregular in Division 1, with now a Giresse  or even a Genghini nearer of the twilight of their career than of the beginning of it but also without any real defensive midfielder to surround them, this OM which is now at the end of a cycle will be swept-off like by a real tornado. Full of youngness, of dynamism and loyal to his principles of incessant permutations and fast counter-attacking, Ajax imposes his law in Stade Vélodromme. It's without appeal : 3-0.
The unusual starter at the right back position, Fall, can be incriminated, as well as the goalkeeper Bell, it is well the whole OM team that has totally failed and that has been knocked-out into this match.
For once, we will present the details of a match which was lost. Because it is worth a look.

6 April, 1988, Stade Vélodromme, Marseille.
Olympique de Marseille - Ajax Amsterdam : 0-3 ( Rob Witschge twice, 12', 42', and twice served by van't Schip and finally Bergkamp 89' who had just came out from the bench and scores here a beauty 10 years before another one in a certain Holland-Argentina, in the same stadium).

OM : Bell - Fall (Diallo 46), Le Roux (Mura 64'), Domergue, Lowitz - Förster - Genghini, Giresse - Allofs, Papin, Ab.Pelé. Coach : Gérard Banide. Abedi Pelé had been hired during the winter.
AJX : Menzo - Blind, P. Larsson, Verlaat - Wouters - Winter, A. Scholten, A. Mühren - van't Schip, Ro. Witschge - J. Bosman (Bergkamp 85'). Coach : Spitz Kohn.

Even the video is worth it (here are the goals only, but the full-game can be found online, of course) :


The Marseillais 1988 don't do better than the ancients of 1971 who are presents at the stadium (like Joseph Bonnel, Gérard Bosquier, Jules Zvunka, or the coach of the time Mario Zatelli who was also a former player of OM).

Pricked in their pride, Marseille, however, impose itself 2-1 in Amsterdam with a redesigned eleven, and another Papin, not the one who was constantly trapped offside during the last match.


In Amsterdam,  OM lined as follows : Stambouli in the woods - F. Passi, Lowitz, Förster, Cauet - Giresse, Eyraud, Ab.Pelé - Diallo, Papin, Allofs.
Were missing due to injury no less than 4 players : Bell, Ayache, Le Roux, Genghini. Supsended : Domergue. Ajax played with the exact same eleven. Author of the best game in their season in Marseille, they now  knew a little more of difficulties in the Dutch League with a draw against Venlo.
Scoreline : Larsson 23' for Ajax, Papin 67' and Allofs 90' for OM.

Some regrets maybe?

In Amsterdam, and before retiring, Giresse was finally putting OM on a better track

 Ajax is beaten in the Final by Mechelen. A match held in Strasbourg. The same year, PSV Eindhoven won the Champions Cup as seen already. And Holland would become European champion of Nations with his duo Basten-Gullit, already champion of Italy.

At the end of this Dutch year, and as regards the Frenches who were not at the Euro, they still had one of their club placed in an European semi-final for the second time in a row, unprecedented event, with now Marseille for its first campaign since under the Tapie's presidency, which equals here the precedent performance of Bordeaux - a team of Bordeaux already semi-finalist in the Champions Cup in 1985.

We would be tempted to say that the French clubs began here to assert themselves more on the European scene. But still, there is a bareer to be broken to really compete with the most established teams of the continent. Overall, things looks like going better but it demands confirmation.


A confirmation that won't be done the following season and will be delayed a bit more.  As in the season...

... 1988-1989 

Monaco,  is piteously eliminated in the first round of the Champions Cup by Galatasaray. Metz, is elminated in the first round of the Cup Winners Cup. In UEFA Cup, Montpellier is swept-off by Benfica at the earliest stage of the competition too. The only club to go through some stages is Bordeaux which after beating Dniepr (as they already did in '85), then Ujpest, is pushed out by the future winner of the competition, Naples. That was tight : 0-0 in Bordeaux then 0-1 in Naples. 
In parallel, Bordeaux started to know some difficulties when on its side, Marseille was reaching a new level (and the passage of Tigana from the Girondins to OM would have greatly something to do with that according to the specialists...after Giresse, Tigana). Not an European during that season, Marseille won here its first national title since 1972. They even make the double "Coupe-championnat", like Bordeaux, 2 years earlier. The first titles under Bernard Tapie.


1989-1990
 
As we are changing of decade, the French clubs are now aspiring to a new level. In particular the champion in title, OM, who will have the privilege to compete with the best this year. Or at least with other champions, of other countries.

Thus, the ambitious team of Marseille must first of all overcome the challenge to beat the champions of Denmark, Bronby IF, and its future European champions with the National team like the goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, the defender Lars Olsen or the young and promising midfielder Kim Vilfort.

Results : 
OM - Bronby : 3-0 (Sauzée, Papin, Vercruysse). And Bronby - OM : 1-1 (Olsen, Papin).

Marseille enters perfectly in the competition with a Papin stronger than ever and now surrounded by a totally renewed team with the like of Huard, to start with, the goalkeeper, who arrived on La Canebière for the precedent season just like no less than Tigana and Vercruysse, from Bordeaux, the technical and physical Brazilian defender Mozer from Benfica, the midfielder or defender Sauzée from Sochaux and the star of Uruguay Francescoli bought to RC Paris and soon joined for the 1989-1990 season, first and most  of all by Chris Waddle, from Tottenham and for a transfer fee record (45 millions francs or approximatively 7 millions euros, recorded at the time as the the third most expensive transfer after the ones of Maradona and Gullit to the Italian Serie A) and by the experienced French international lateral Manuel Amoros, from Monaco.
Without forgetting some complementary players or of more obscure work like Bruno Germain, from Racing Paris and a short passage by Toulon and the local player Eric Di Meco, back to the club after some loans. Their role is important as well. Deschamps, from Nantes, will have to impose himself. At last, Eyraud, is one of the rare survivor of the precedent period but will have most of all a role of substitute. Like Vercruysse, the number 10,  who will have mainly a role of "super-sub", despite he had contributed greatly to the title of 1989. Most of all an attacking midfielder of the axis who likes to transform into a second centre-forward, he will be sacrificied to that fantastic duo Francescoli-Waddle, that operates more on the flanks, as demanded by the modern football. The headplay of Vercruysse, especially remaining an interesting weapon at the end of some matches.

OM at the very beginning of the season 1989-1990

In the second round, or "the round of 16", it is the Greeks of AEK (Athen) and its particularly boiling supporters.
With an excellent Papin who doesn't cease to score goals, all alone, or beautifully served by a wonderful Francescoli with who the duo works perfectly (when the combination Waddle-Papin has not shown all his possibilities yet).
  
OM - AEK : 2-0 (Papin, Manolas o.g). AEK - OM : 1-1 (Savaveski on pen., Papin). Karlheinz Förster, that we didn't cite above, was playing here two of his very last games in career, forced to stop due to a persistant injury.

It remained to be done, but OM went through the two first stages quite tranquilly. The team is really strong and can wait for March 1990 and the quarter-finals with serenity continuing to perfect its game through the domestic games. 

They'll meet Sredets Sofia. The Sredets is no more no less than CSKA Sofia, and it will be a very important rendez-vous against a team which is under the spotlights since its star striker Soitchkov has signed a contract with Barcelona with whom he will play the next season. The perfect test.

All starts well with a win in Sofia. 1-0, a goal by Philippe Thys relegated on the bench since the coming of Amoros and who scores one minute after he entered the pitch for Mozer, injured, at the 85th minute.

Here is the goal :

Thys scored here what we generally call a "goal in an impossible angle". A moment a la Lilian Thuram for Thys, but that, we could not already say at the time. A moment a la Roger Marche maybe then?

OM mastered well this game. But for the second leg, certainly Stoitchkov will be keen to make a better match. But this second match is well held at Stade Vélodrome where Marseille is now almost unbeatable. Moreover, how this finally not so impressive... Bulgarian team, could do better away than what she proposed in its own stadium? And, so it's him, the terrific Hristo Stoitchkov?

But if Papin came out as the great winner in a duel of gunners with the Bulgarian, as OM beats Sredets Sofia three goals to one, unfortunately, this night will have however something of a nightmare at the same time with the terrible injury of Huard who breaks his leg (open fracture) after telescoping with his temmate Mura, at the 83rd minute. Urukov scored at this occasion a very ugly goal for the 3-1. A goal that one would hardly call a "consolation goal". Papin, scorer in this game, went back to his first position on the field when a very young footballer by replacing Huard in the goals, making thus somehow forget about the tragedy lived by his teammate, excellent until then. The power of images.

Here's the vid' :

Goals by : Waddle 25', Papin 28', Sauzée 72' and...Urukov... 83'.

That CSKA's team counted also in his ranks a certain Trifon Ivanov, and a certain Kostadinov, Emil. That makes think of another nightmare story, but that will take place some years later, in Paris.

With that accident in the end of the match, this Marseille-Sofia was really the match of all the contrasts given that OM had played like in a dream during 80 minutes, multiplicating the wonderful actions with now a Chris Waddle who had fully adapted to his new team and beyond, was since some months now the real star which was expected, dispensing all his magic.


Now qualified for the semi-finals, collectively strong, and with individualities a their top like Papin and Waddle whose the oneness is growing more and more, practicing one of the more exciting football in Europe, chances are high for it is the year of OM, and of French football in general which hopes in an European Cup victory since a certain year 1976.

The next step before the Final with a confrontation with Benfica will not be that easy just like it is must not be insurmountable for the team that goes up.

As a proof of their possibilities, the way OM dominated Benfica in the first match.


4 April 1990, Stade Vélodrome, Marseille.
Olympique de Marseille - Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Semi-finals of the European champions Clubs Cup, 1st leg match.

Tigana, always precious at midfield
OM 2, BENFICA 1.
                  / Lima 11'
Sauzée 14'/
Papin 44'/

Lineups :

OM : 
Castaneda - Mozer - Amoros, Sauzée, Di Meco (Vercruysse 58') - Deschamps, Tigana, Germain - Waddle, Francescoli - Papin. 
Coach : Bernard Gili.

 

SLB : Silvino - Ricardo Gomes - J. Carlos, Aldair, A. Veloso - V. Paneira, Hernâni, Thern (Diamantino 75'), Valdo - Lima (Pacheco 64'), Magnusson. Coach : Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Maybe unfortunately, a domination that lead to only two goals and the Benfiquistas here in Marseille, scored early in the game with Lima. 

Video sum-up :


So an away goal scored after a corner-kick, what could have been certainly avoided with Huard in the goals, and not Castaneda here returning to service. Commanding a defence demands much automatisms that he probably did not have like Deschamps, who never was a sure starter since at OM, and forgot to stick to the second post, also maybe always a bit dizzy due to the dribbles of Valdo of who he was especially in charge this night.

On the opposite side of the pitch, in attack their partners lacked of lucidity as well. Or sometimes, more simply of luck. Let's do the list of the missing chances. And all :

In the first-half :
8' : first alert on the goals of OM. Not at his ease far from his line, Castaneda can't catch the ball. For the corner-kick that follows, the former keeper of Saint-Etienne realize a very good save with much reflex on a header by Magnusson (Mats) before catching it on the floor in the feet of Hernâni, in ambush.
In the continuity of the action, Papin who is quickly found on the opposite side, strikes off the goals.
10' : Benfica reacts immediately. Magnusson in a duel with Sauzée obtains a new corner-kick. And that's the early goal of the 11th minute by Lima, free of any marking, and who scores before the petrified Castaneda and Deschamps, as explain more in details above. The lack of automatisms.
OM really can't undergo in this match and will have to make the play. Or at least play a bit higher on the pitch.
Around a quarter of an hour of play, Germain obtains a corner-kick on the left. Waddle takes it and it is Sauzée who crops up to set the record straight. With the tip of the shoe in some maneer, and with the help of one defender who slightly deviates his attempt. But one had to be here to covert this occasion and Sauzée, as often, shown here how much will he can have. 1-1.
Now it's about continuing like this as at the back the serenity doesn't reign.
A bit before the 20th minute, Francescoli who runs at the goals after he has found the space in the axis is called off-side. Papin was off-side at the beginning of the action. Not him.

Francescoli, called off-side, has not finished to show up.
Just after the 20th minute, Francescoli again gives headaches to the Portuguese at midfield where all his class talks. He finds Papin who is fouled. Waddle at the free-kick. Superb shoot, powerfull and pure which strikes the bar. A heavy blow on Silvino and all the Benfica team's head.
Now it's a new corner-kick for Benfica. Another time, Castaneda advances to the ball hasardously. But the referee whistle a foul in favor of OM after he omitted to whistle one which was made on Tigana on the precedent action. Hopefully because the ball hit the bar, Deschamps almost touched it with the hand and the ball is still bounding in the box so who knows what could have resulted of all of it.
Since around the 25th minute, we can see Francescoli provoking more and more the Portuguese defence. Which is composed for one half of it of Brazilians. We know about the rivalry Uruguay-Brazil. Promising. The Uruguayan mostly rope in attacking by the flanks where the two Portugueses full backs can't do anything but foul him in order to stop him. This way, the Brazilian centers Ricardo and Aldair remains under pressure.
10 minutes or so before the half-time, Germain who is free of any offensive midfielder to mark, overflows on the left side. A defender touch him, but there's no penalty. If he only had a bit more of speed, maybe it would have been otherwise.
A few time after, on a pass with the head by Germain, Francescoli controls the ball with the chest in the box! Ricardo has one little second to intervene and pushes the sphere away. Maybe a header would have been more concluding. A beautiful piece of skill anyway.
But just before half-time, for his first real occasion in the open-play, it is Benfica that misses to take the lead, by Hernâni. Cramped by Castaneda, the portuguese shots wide even though all alone in front of the goals. Maybe the French keeper even touched it. It's a goal-kick.
44th minute : Papin, who untiringly makes calls for the ball, especially on the right side or the centre-right of the attack since several minutes receives again a ball in a good position. For once not directly fouled since at the reception of it, he can enter into the box, ball at the feet, to be finally here tackled down. "Nothing" says the referee. Knelt, Papin hold his head in disbielief. Then the inquietous counter-attack launched by Benfica is immediately stopped by Amoros. Amoros to Tigana, Tigana to Waddle...Waddle who finds beautifuly Papin in the axis by a curved pass on the floor. Goal by Papin! Papin, not deconcentrate, but still well here in the game, barely 30 seconds after that penalty which was not whistled. 
But again, there's an immediate reaction from the opposite side with Magnusson found by Lima at the far post! Sauzée saves it on his line...
And it is well Marseille that took the lead just before half-time.

OM has raising up its level a bit more. Attacking more - even though contrarily to two years earlier, OM this time is a bit handicaped by a lack of ball players at midfield - choosing more to operate by the wings - and defending slightly better what is caused by Benfica who now has chosen, since it's 1-1, to rely more on long balls hoping for a defensive error (the occasion by Hernâni being the exception). Thus, we see less Valdo. 
Not a bad thing for OM which will continue in the seond half to raise up its level and that, until a point they had never reached before. The tatcics to go for are now clear and evident as the motto "Droit au But" (straight to the goals) which will be applied to the extreme of extremes, and in a quite beautiful fashion.

2nd half : 
First action for OM after 2 minutes of play : Francescoli cleanly protects the ball all under is control and finds Germain in position of left winger. Germain instantly crosses the ball for Papin who strikes without control...and it is the post! The noise caused by this volley shoot is still resonating that Deschamps who followed the movement strikes at his turn with full force. The ball passes at one meter of the top corner.
30 seconds later, Papin is in the box for a duel with his marker, Aldair. Papin falls down, well tried but it is not a penalty. Waddle falls down at his turn, but it is no more a penalty.
Then, after this very beginning of the second half,  or in its continuity, thanks to a high pressing by Deschamps and Tigana, very aggressive at the recuperation of the ball, the steamroller won't stop.
49' : on a counter-attack by Benfica, Mozer takes care of the case Magnusson as Amoros does with Valdo.
51' : Germain and his headplay is sollicited. Without success. 55' : Papin finds a little transversal for Waddle positionned on the right. Waddle crosses the ball for Francescoli. The ball is cleared. 
58', coaching by Gili : Philippe Vercruysse, a more axial attacking midfielder with a good headplay, enters instead of the defender Eric Di Meco. Germain drops back in defence. OM aligns now a fantastic quator of attack Vercruysse-Waddle-Francescoli-Papin wich permits all the possible offensive combinations.
59' : corner-kick for OM. Benfica is maintained under pressure. They simply don't see a ball since the beginning of this second half. 60' : Francescoli obtains a new corner-kick, stopped by an impeccable Ricardo who saw the danger coming. After three attempts, the Benfica's defence can't manage to clear the ball and it's a free-kick obtained by Mozer. Yellow card for Thern. Silvino impose himself in front of Germain who did not miss the occasion to gently punch the goalkeeper in his ribs. 
After a free-kick in their own box, Benfica with Valdo then Ricardo try to approach the OM's goals but it's a lost cause. On the counter-attack, OM obtains a free-kick at the 30 meters. Germain deviates it with the head on Francescoli who controls the ball with the outside of the foot in the air  and who after a 360° turn, at close range, finds the left leg of Silvino! What an amazing action by the Uruguyan!
It's a corner-kick. After that Waddle had recovered the ball, Germain from 20 meters, shoots wide. During this time Mozer is laying on the floor, K.O after an aerial duel with his fellow countryman Ricardo, and a bad fallout. The Brazilian colossus of OM will recover after 1 or 2 minutes. The occasion for Benfica to find some breathe as well as an occasion to make a substitution for Eriksson with Pacheco instead of Lima.
65' : alerted by Vercruysse (who precedently had some misunderstandings with Waddle and Francescoli on the outskirts of the 18 meters), Papin is called off-side. That was very, very, limit. Hard to be certain of it.
The fouls multiplicates on OM's players as on Tigana at the 69', him who started a serie of dribbles like in the glory days of the French National Team. Consecutively to the free-kick, that has been played on floor, Papin is once again found in the box. But that will not lead to any shoot on the goals.
1 minute later, Waddle perfectly serves Papin on the right but JPP is once more trapped off-side. A few seconds later it's Francescoli's turn to be served by the brilliant English winger with a curved cross kicked by the outside of his left foot, this time right in the middle of the box, but Francescoli shoots above the bar, maybe disrupted by the return of a Portuguese defender. The referee gives a corner-kick to OM. Silvino is the first on the ball in a duel with Mozer, always on the attack.
72' : Waddle, from the half-way line alerts Papin on the right. Papin crosses for Francescoli who throw himself from the penalty spot...the ball slips next to the post, but on the wrong side of it. His fourth clear chance.
75' : The midfielder Diamantino enters for the Swede international Thern. Gili demands to his players to play all shots thoroughly.
76' : From the centre circle, Vercruysse finds Waddle on the right. Waddle dribbles past Veloso. Veloso cravats Waddle. He could have been red-carded on this. On the free-kick, executed quickly by Waddle, the referees don't see any corner-kick when it was well Aldair who had deviated it.
78' : Vercruysse for Papin, Veloso pushes it out with the little of forces that still remain on him after his repeated duels with Waddle. Corner-kick (the 5th for OM in this half). Silvino boxes the ball...Amoros shoots! Silvino is still on the ball to save it! But the ball continue its course near the far post...Germain and Mozer ar positionned here! Mozer launches himself, the ball hits the post, the hand of a Portuguese, crossed the line or did not crossed the line, we don't know, all of that is very confused! What happened? The referee gives a corner-kick. It's kicked. Germain with head? Nooo! It's saved on his line by a defender! That's simply "impossible", as one commentator says, what happen here to Marseille!

Game : Where is the ball?
80' : Francescoli provokes a foul on the left side. Silvino boxes the ball.
82' : Papin manage to finally keep the control of the ball. Now Waddle, Waddle for Vercruysse in the penalty box...Aldair and Silvino intervene.
84' : as OM is maybe now paying all of those efforts, Hernâni is here on the left side to cross the ball in the box of the white and blue team. But probably even more tired than his opponents who controlled everthing until then, the Portuguese only finds Sauzée, well-positionned, and who had most of all superbly anticipated the action. Is that he threat was real despite everything. Very well defended.
Immediately, OM put the pressure on the Benfica's camp with the duo Waddle-Papin. Like Sauzée a few seconds earler, or like Mozer, Ricardo does not cede anything.
88' : Benfica obtains a free-kick at 25-30 meters of the goals of OM. It will be a long back-pass for Silvino.
88', 89' : Waddle, is always incisive in his dribbles but no solutions are proposed to him.
91' : Valdo is not off-side...Valdo shoots to the goals...Castaneda saves it! Valdo took here a shoot from a difficult angle when he had two solutions in the axis! And Castaneda was well here (It has to be said that this action has been often erased from the history books, but it could well have been a 2-2 in spite of all the chances that OM had had to fold the match).

92' : Silvino who has advanced outside of his box clear the ball just before Papin! Both launched like two crazy trains! Good reflex by the Portuguese keeper as once again, the reaction had arrived in an instant. Maybe he made a fool on Papin too. In the continuity of this action, Ricardo is him rightly sanctionned, receiving a yellow card for a foul on Francescoli. The chief of defence of Benfica will be suspended for the second leg. The free-kick, by Waddle will be the last action of the match.
Waddle, from the right side kicks it directly in the box with his magic left foot...once again for a deviation with the head by Germain...who once again will find Francescoli...Francescoli who's flying in the air...Francescoli who is making a bicycle-kick here! Francescoli! A bicycle-kick by Francescoli! Francescoli yes? Francescoli no? There's a rebound just before Silvino...Silvino deviates it...Francescoli will not score tonight.


The celestial Prince Francescoli tried everything
The referee even whistles an indirect free-kick in favor of Benfica on this action. It's over.

Post-match reactions :

"I could not think that Marseille could intensify his game to this point in the second half" declares Sven-Goran Eriksson, the coach of Benfica.


"We could have put seven goals" affirms Sauzée. "We never played like that. It was incredible " he adds.



But it's only two goals for, and one conceded at home in the end. If one would be tempted to say that Marseille shown here to be dominant both technically and physically and thus, has the edge psychologically, it remains that the second leg in Lisbon, in a legendary stadium, promises to be a complicated, high-leveled match of European Cup.


18 April 1990,  Estádio da Luz, Lisbon.
Sport Lisboa e Benfica - Olympique de Marseille
Semi-finals of the European champions Clubs Cup, 2nd leg match.
Attendance : 110 to 120.000 (against 40.000 in full Stade Vélodromme in the 1st leg).
10.4 millions of televiewers in France (record).

Waddle : like an eagle, but with a mulet. Or : "It's a long way...to the top, if you wanna rock n' roll"
Lineups :

SLB : Silvino - J.Carlos, Samuel, Aldair, A. Veloso - V. Paneira, Hernâni, Thern (Pacheco (52'), Valdo - Lima (Vata 52'), Magnusson. Coach : Sven-Göran Eriksson.

OM : Castaneda - Mozer - Amoros, Sauzée, Di Meco (Diallo 87') - Deschamps, Tigana, Germain - Waddle (Vercruysse 77'), Francescoli - Papin. Coach : Bernard Gili.

Marseille only needs a draw game to reach the Final. 

If the first offensive is to put to the credit of Benfica (an action cleared by Mozer with the head), OM, that Gili wants to be conservative enough (they left much energy recently with the first leg match then winning their duel with Bordeaux only four days ago, with a brilliant Waddle) will have however a good number of occasions again, this time in order to score the goal away that would be almost synonymous of qualification.

6' : Tigana racks a ball at midifield, transmits it to Waddle who rides ball at the feet, piercing the lines to finally find Papin, who strikes just off the bar. The referee declares him off-side anyway. What is not clear. 
12': another off-side whistled by the referee while OM is working on the Benfica's defence. Again, difficult to judge.
Then the head by Mozer just before the first half of an hour of play, on a corner-kick...that did not crossed the line, as it can be confirmed by the instant replay.
36' : Papin's head is found at the penalty spot by Francescoli. It is off the bar.

38' : half-volley by Papin from the right corner of the box, his special ! In the gloves of a careful Silvino. The shoot, that took the direction of the goals, even though not feeble, however lacked of a bit of power. Very well tried though, once again by Papin.

On their side, the players of Benfica, who most of all shone by multiplicating the fouls, especially on the trio Papin-Waddle-Francescoli which has received a special treatment (like the OM's supporters in the bleachers by the way), have had some chances too, even if globally less dangerous, maybe :
6' : first alert on OM's goals with a long ball and a misunderstanding between Mozer and Castaneda who sees his teammate's back-pass with the head longing his right post when him, wanted to catch himself the ball in the air as he had quitted his line. Castaneda is well present on the corner-kick directly played on him.
30' : second alert as...Castaneda can't block a cross on free-kick by Valdo.
36' : free-kick by Valdo, another time from the left. A header by Magnusson hits the left post of Castaneda. Their greatest occasion to score a goal that would not be less synonymous of qualification for them.
37' : just after this occasion, a free-kick by Valdo passes at one good meter of the right post of OM's goals. Valdo is an excellent shooter of set-pieces, but it does not compare with the precedent chance of Benfica. With more precision, it would have been more worrisome.
Before half-time, they also obtain no less than four consecutive corner-kicks. But the defence of Mozer keeps up. And, as Castaneda boxes the ball, the referee whistles the half-time.

0-0 at the end of a very physical first half during which, strangely, not a single card has been distributed to the players of Benfica. Or to Mozer who once had replicated. The referee seems to not see all the positions off-side of the local team as well.
If the team of Marseille is a bit tired for all the reasons mentioned above, Benfica has expended much energy into what is here more of a battle, than of the exciting football match seen at Stade Vélodrome two weeks earlier, which it would appear that it had impress the whole Europe.

The second half will be cast in the same mould and Marseille with players which, if not now creating more goals chances, still manage to keep their nerves, thus seem to be on the right track. Until the 83rd minute.

On a corner by Valdo, Magnusson is here to deviates the ball with his head. Vata more prompt than Di Meco (and Castaneda) scores the goal. A diving header? It doesn't really look like it. Thanks to the video replay, there is no doubt anymore if there was some : the substitute of Lima scored this goal with his hand. Or his arm, if one wants, but not with the shoulder as Vata still claims it today...what doesn't change much things regarding the rules of the game anyway.
Inexorably, the chronometer sees the time flows and Mr. Marcel van Langenhove, the "best Belgian referee" as a famous French commentator now deceased said before the kick-off of the match, the referee who was well far from the action, whistles the end of the game.

Vata's feat on the European stage
10 minutes earlier, Benfica had known a minor scare with an action a la Mozer-Castaneda of the 6th minute with Samuel (the substitute of Ricardo) who was near to cause the elimination of his team under the pressure of Papin... before to correct well his mistake by clearing the ball. Almost the lone chance in this second half for the two teams taken in account. Almost. There has been two.

A sum-up of the match with a 5 minutes-lenght video :


A Portuguese newspaper had entitled : "Castaneda, we count on you" (what the president of OM, for the anecdot,  found good to shown to his goalkeeper, in charge of the replacement of Huard, in order to motivate him). The miracle, if it's a miracle, came from an almost unknown Angolese striker that finally enters here in the history of the game by qualifying his club for its 7th Champions Cup Final after the victories of 1961 and 1962, and the runner-up places of 1963, '65, '68, and 1988.
As regards OM, it will take a little more time to compete with the best club in Europe and in the World, AC Milan, which beats Benfica in Wien on this so 1990 score of 1-0.

Atypical team, maybe OM should have attacked more in this second match as they knew how to do so well. But did they had all the means to do it?
Just after the match, the well-known president of OM (no need to introduce him again), like a volcano in erruption (his usual style) declares : "Some journalist treaten us of a little club. Now I know why OM is a little club. That's because we haven't knew how to make the difference. Because to our lack of luck [he said "réussite" which has also to do with the idea of success rate, at the offensive level] has been added decisions by the referee that were not always in our favor in the first leg match, openly against us in the second leg. Now I understood how to win the European Cup, I learn fast. It will not happen to us no more. We won't take a goal with the hand anymore".

This OM team looks very promising. But let's do a pause. 

The following of this second part on the "French clubs feats on the European stage" topic will be posted either in a new post which should be the "Part 2b" or added here, within the days to come. Unless it's weeks. The History acclerates. So it is more dense too.

Now, as we say, to be continued...


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