50 Legendary Matches: Paris beat Parma

As Paris Saint-Germain celebrates it's 50th birthday this year, PSG.FR takes a look back at 50 matches that shaped the history of Les Rouge et Bleu. Today, we look back on the day that Les Parisiens qualified for their fourth consecutive European semi-final beating Parma!

After the 1-0 defeat in Parma in the first leg, Luis Fernandez' side found themselves in a difficult position going into the second leg: They needed to score a goal against an Italian side at the Parc des Princes, the stadium in which Napoli (0-0), Juventus (0- 1) and AC Milan (0-1) had all managed to keep a clean sheet. Two weeks earlier at Émilie-Romagne, an incredible Bernard Lama kept his side in the match for a long time, but Hristo Stoichkov beat the French international on the hour mark.

Without Youri Djorkaeff and Vincent Guérin, Luis Fernandez started with an attacking line-up and a three-man attack (Nouma, Dely Valdes, Loko) for the match on 21 March 1996. Paris needed to score and quickly found the back of the net: after a cross from Patrick Colleter, Pascal Nouma was knocked over in the box. The resulting penalty was put away by Rai (1-0, 8'). The match then balanced out and the Italians looked dangerous. After a quick passage of play, Melli tried his luck and his rather anodyne effort slipped through the arms of Lama and sucked the life out of the Parc (1-1, 26').

For the following ten minutes, Les Parisiens seemed to be struggling to react to the surprise goal, but just before the break, Rai troubled the Parma defence with a sombrero flick and Loko picked up the ball and found the back of the net with a powerful effort under the bar (2-1, 38'). Lama showed his quality to deny a shot from Pin (45'), and there was just 45 minutes of football to go for Paris Saint-Germain to find the winning goal. The tension rose and both sides were looking for the chance to take the psychological advantage.

PSG driven on by an immense Daniel Bravo looked the more dangerous: the "Petit Prince du Parc" sent in a corner and it was barely cleared by the Italian defence. Laurent Fournier picked up the ball, beat several defenders who had pushed up to play the offside trap and was brought down in the box by Appolini. The cold-blooded Rai stepped up and buried his second penalty of the match and ensured the qualification for his side (3-1, 69'). Cheered on by the fans in the stadium, Paris defended the one goal lead. After a late warning sign from young Italian international 'Pippo' Inzaghi was blocked by Lama (85'), the referee brought the game to a close and the club from the capital qualified for a fourth consecutive European semi-final…

European Cup Winners Cup - Quarter Final, Second Leg 
Thursday 21 March 1996 - Parc des Princes - 43 686 spectators
Referee: Mr. Sundell (Sweden).
Goals: Rai (8' pen, 69' pen) and Loko (38') for Paris Saint-Germain, Melli (26') for Parma.
Yellow cards: Rai (70') and Dely Valdes (84') for Paris Saint-Germain, Melli (4') and Pin (60') for Parma.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN : Lama (c) - N’Gotty, Roche, Le Guen - Fournier (Mahé, 74'), Bravo, Colleter (Guérin, 67') - Raï - Loko, Dely Valdes, Nouma (Llacer, 70'). Coach: Fernandez.
PARMA: Bucci - Mussi (Di Chiara, 83'), Sensini, Appoloni (c), Cannavaro, Benarivo - Baggio, Brambilla, Pin (Crippa, 76') - Stoichkov (Inzaghi, 65'), Melli. Coach: Scala.