Almost a quarter of a century has passed since an heroic Parma side, containing the likes of Veron, Crespo and Asprilla, ended one of football’s longest unbeaten runs.
In the early 1990s, the AC Milan XI was an immovable object. It was an absolutely colossal force of nature which was feared not only across Italy, but the entire continent. By the time they met Parma in the spring of 1993, the reigning champions were on course for a domestic and European double.
La Rossoneri also boasted a staggering unbeaten streak of 58 games at this time. With the champions further aided by a raucous San Siro bear pit, only the certifiably insane believed that Parma would receive anything other than a biblical thrashing.
San Siro hero
Nobody counted on the diminutive Faustino Asprilla to steal the show, but that is exactly what he did. The Colombian international Asprilla was unplayable from the first whistle. On 58 minutes, the referee awarded a free-kick to Parma with the score still at 0-0. At 27 yards out, nobody believed that it would trouble a defence that had previously shut out far better teams than Parma.
That complacency cost Milan their unbeaten run.
With a confidence that defied his tender years, Asprilla curled the ball over a wall containing icons such as Maldini and Costacurta, past Sebastiano Rossi and into the net.
In one resounding moment, against all the odds, a boy who once kicked a soda can around the mean crime-ridden streets of Tulua had felled a titan of European football.
It was a dream result for Parma fans and neutrals alike. However, the fifteen years that followed this encounter meeting brought very different fates to the two clubs.
AC Milan vs Parma – a tale of two clubs
Both clubs would go on to win silverware that year. AC Milan were comfortable Serie A winners, while Parma beat Royal Antwerp 3-1 in the Cup Winners Cup final at Wembley. The following year AC Milan also lifted the Champions League, and the European Super Cup.
For their part, Parma remained a strong force for several years. But, as this gallery will show, the good times never last unless you are among the true elite.
Today and beyond forever
Within the past ten years, AC Milan have endured a mini-crisis, failing to qualify for Europe on several occasions. Silverware, however, has not been lacking.
After an immediate promotion in 2009, Parma held their own in Serie A. But in 2015, with bankruptcy now more than a reality, Parma were automatically relegated to Serie D and folded, re-forming as S.S.D. Parma Calcio 1913.
Can smaller clubs ever breach the glass ceiling without money, and stay there, avoiding Parma’s fate? Let us know in the comments, or take a look at why 1993 was also a bad year for an unbeaten run in Germany