Wednesday, May 29, 2013

29 May 1991 - Red Star Rises Over Europe

On 29 May 1991, Red Star Belgrade won their first major European trophy, beating Marseille on penalties in the European Cup final.

It was the first time in the final for both teams, who reached it by virtue of their prolific offenses. Marseille forward and captain Jean-Pierre Papin was the tournament's leading scorer with six goals, while midfielder Phillippe Vercruysse, with five, was a substitute for the final. Red Star, meanwhile, relied primarily on the pairing of striker Darko Pančev (5 goals) and midfielder Robert Prosinečki (4).

It was the defenses, however, who shined in the final, held at the Stadio San Nicola in Bari. A crowd of 58,000 watched as both teams struggled to create chances against each other and played to a scoreless draw through extra time.

Red Star went first in the ensuing penalty shootout, with Prosinečki scoring the opening goal. Right back Manuel Amoros then stepped up to take Marseille's first attempt. He tried sending the ball to the right of keeper Stevan Stojanović, but Stojanović guessed correctly and knocked it away. That turned out to be the decisive stop, as the players for both sides all converted their next attempts until Red Star's final shot, taken by Pančev, secured the win, 0-0 (5-3).

It remains Red Star's only appearance in the final, though they went on to win the Intercontinental Cup later that year, beating Colo Colo 3-0. Marseille returned to the final in 1993 and beat Milan 1-0.

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