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1987-1988 Valletta vs Juventus
Valletta vs Juventus

The Citizens proved to be no match for their illustrious opponents, who simply dominated from start to finish. Juventus, after giving a scintillating performance in the first half, faded out almost completely in the second, partly due to the 3-0 result obtained in the first 45 minutes and also due to the excessive heat (around 34C).

The crowd, however, must have been satisfied with the performance of the Italians. Despite the absence of star striker Ian Rush, who was watching the match from the terraces, they still had more than enough talent to steal the limelight.

The Star of the day was no doubt Michael Laudrup. their young Danish international. who was always in the thick of the action and constituted himself as the liveliest and most dangerous player.

Another player who caught the eye and who also ruined City’s hopes of doing well. was outside right Mauro. who left his best form for this match. He did a lot of harm to the City defence on the right flank and was easily the best Italian on show. 

Even Brio and Cabrini found time enough to go up with their forwards. and although they both tried hard to get among the scorers. they failed to score although going near. 

It was an easy day for the bianconeri as Valetta’s intentions were quite clear from the outset. City never appeared too keen to attack. and one must say that they never constructed one single decent move which brought about some anxiety to the Juventus defence. so much so that Tacconi’s only work yesterday was from a Cremona feeble shot early in the second half and some passes from his own team-mates. 

Obviously. Valetta knew that they were not in the same class of their opponents. and coach Tony Formosa opted for a prudent plan based completely on defence. 

Until the 25th minute. the Citizens. despite suffering almost continuous pressure from Juventus. seemed to be containing their opponents quite well. although with some luck as well. but after the first goal. their morale slumped and that goal signalled the end of their challenge. 

From then onwards. Juventus started playing even better and it was no surprise that they increased their tally twice before the interval. In the third goal national player Chris Laferla was completely at fault. and must shoulder the blame for trying to be too clever when harassed by a player of the calibre of Laudrup. who robbed him of the ball and scored with great ease. It must be said that Laferla’s over-confidence in this action. not only provided Juventus with their third goal. but continued to dampen the morale of the City players and the crowd at the Stadium.

The second half had no story. Juventus appeared happy with the result. and were only seen in some flashes of brilliance mainly through Laudrup. who continued to wreak havoc in the City defence. although he failed to add a third goal. The Citizens certainly had nothing else to off er. They only hoped for a good result, but their own tactics might have proved them wrong as well. Suffice to say that throughout the 90 minutes. they rarely ventured or were given a chance to venture out of their own half. and only once was Tacconi called on to save a feeble shot from Cremona.

Otherwise, there was a great gap between one team and the other. and the disparity can be made clearer by saying that Valetta never lived in the same street as their opponents. There was nothing they could do to stop the onslaught, particularly in the first half. 

Before taking the lead, Juventus had already gone near on several occasions. Brio went close with a header from a Magrin freekick, while Alessio hit the crossbar following a Mauro corner. Then came a good Mifsud save off a Brio header and a Laudrup header which hit the post in the 23rd minute.

In the 26th minute, the inevitable happened as Juventus finally took the lead. Alessio and Laudrup combined well for the Dane to hit home in style from the edge of the area.

In the 39th minute, Laudrup returned the compliment and it was Alessio who made no mistake to make it 2-0. Immediately afterwards it was Mifsud City’s best player who denied De Agostini the third goal with a magnificent save.

But he could do nothing three minutes later, when Laferla tried to be too clever when faced by Laudrup; he was dispossessed of the ball and the Dane could advance easily all alone to hit home the third. 

Near the end, as Valetta seemed to be collapsing, Laudrup was involved in a mazy dribble in the Valetta area He even went round Mifsud and offered the ball on a plate to Alessio. The latter’s shot was. however, blocked by a City defender. 

In the second half. the rhythm died down almost completely. Juventus continued to dominate. but they did not press hard as they did in the first half. although on some occasions. it had to be Mifsud to deny them other goals with good saves off shots from Alessio and Magrin. 

Laudrup went very close after another mazy dribble. while substitute Vignola missed a great opportunity midway through. The fourth goal arrived in the 70th minute. Laferla missed a clearance in midfield and substitute Buso could advance unopposed to cross low for Alessio to flick into the net. 

11 minutes from time. Alessio also advanced alone. but Mifsud came out of the area to block in extremis.

Source: Times of Malta

Valletta 0 Juventus 4
First Round

Valletta: Mifsud, Briffa, Curmi, Grioli, Laferla, Fenech, Cremona (Gerada), Camilleri, Saliba, Taliana (Busuttil)
Juventus: Tacconi, Favero, Cabrini, Bonin, Brio, Tricella, Mauro (Buso), Magrin, Alessio, De Agostini (Vignola), Laudrup

Referee: Mr. J. Martin (England)
Scorers: 26′ 43′ Laudrup, 39′ 70′ Alessio
Attendance: 15, 000
Date: 16 September 1987
Competition: UEFA Cup
National Stadium Ta’ Qali