Friday, May 20, 2016

20 May 1992 - The Iceman Koeman

On 20 May 1992, Barcelona won their first European Cup, beating Sampdoria with an extra-time free kick from center back Ronald Koeman.

Koeman had won the Cup before with his previous club, PSV, beating Benfica on penalties in 1988 after holding them scoreless through extra time. Koeman himself had converted PSV's opening kick in the shootout. (And Barcelona's road to the 1992 Final included a draw and a win against Benfica in the third-round group stage.)

In the Final, Barcelona met Sampdoria who were looking to salvage a disappointing season. After winning Serie A in 1991, they had slumped to sixth place in 1992 and would not be returning to European competition the next season. Barcelona, meanwhile, were in the process of claiming their second consecutive league title under manager Johan Cruyff, who himself had won three European Cups as a player with Ajax.

Playing before a crowd of 70,827 at Wembley, the match was closer than anyone expected. Scoreless deep into extra time, Koeman's opportunity came in the 111th minute as Sampdoria substitute Giovanni Invernizzi fouled Barcelona winger Eusebio Sacristán just outside the box. Koeman converted the ensuing kick, blasting the ball past the keeper. Although he had contributed 16 league goals that season, the one in the Final was his first in 11 appearances in the tournament.

Sampdoria have never returned to the final, while Barcelona were runners-up in 1994 and won the tournament  in 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2015.

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