Friday, May 22, 2009

22 May 1996 - The Crowd Might Have Been Slightly In Juve's Favor

On 22 May 1996, Juventus defeated Ajax on penalties to win the 1996 UEFA Champions League Final before a crowd of 67,000 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Manager Marcello Lippi's Juventus side scored first when, in the 12th minute, forward Fabrizio Ravanelli collected a poorly headed ball from Ajax's central defender Frank de Boer, rounded the keeper, and slotted the ball into an empty net. Ajax equalized in the 41st minute, however, as Juventus goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi failed to secure de Boer's free kick from the edge of the box. The ball fell to the feet of Ajax's Finnish midfielder Jari Litmanen, who knocked it home from a yard out.

The teams played a physical second half, with the Bianconeri dominating, but unable to take the lead due to the brilliant play of Ajax keeper Edwin Van der Sar. The teams played through a scoreless second half and two periods of extra time before heading to penalty kicks.

It was Peruzzi who shined the brightest during the penalties, first saving the opening kick from Ajax midfielder Edgar Davids. Then, after Juventus scored on their first four kicks, he stretched out to his left to save the shot from Ajax defender Sonny Silooy, giving Juventus the win with the final score of 1-1 (4-2).

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