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Padovano the unlikely hero

Traditionally, little in football is settled in January but in the days before the UEFA Super Cup became the season's curtain-raiser in Monaco, it was often played early in the year. Five years ago this week, Juventus FC all but sealed their triumph in the penultimate Super Cup played over two legs, with a 6-1 defeat of Paris Saint-Germain FC which set the tone for a 9-2 aggregate triumph.

Unlikely hero
The Italian side were missing Alen Bokšic and Christian Vieri and had offloaded Fabrizio Ravanelli and Gianluca Vialli since the UEFA Champions League triumph of the previous May, but they still had Alessandro del Piero to call upon. However, the unlikely hero in the Juventus triumph - labelled a PSG humiliation by the French press - was the well-travelled striker Michele Padovano.

Purple patch
Padovano, enjoying a purple patch in his short spell in Turin, struck in the 22nd and 40th minutes as Juventus raced into a 4-0 interval lead. PSG morale had hardly been helped by the announcement not long before kick off that their teenage striking prodigy, Nicolas Anelka, would be heading to Arsenal FC on a free transfer at the end of the season. Anelka, who again moved from PSG to England - to Liverpool FC - last month, was promptly dropped with Julio Cesar Dely Valdes filling in.

Zidane the provider
Juventus opened the scoring after four minutes when Sergio Porrini capitalised on an error from Vincent Guerin to shoot home left-footed. Padovano doubled the lead 18 minutes later when he headed in Zinedine Zidane's corner. Zidane was the provider again eleven minutes later as his pinpoint cross was superbly met by defender Ciro Ferrara, and his close-range header made it 3-0. Padovano promptly added the fourth, showing impressive sharpness when Bernard Lama was unable to fully gather a shot.

'I was delighted by my team'
PSG restored some pride when Brazilian international Rai converted a penalty on 51 minutes after Moreno Torricelli had handled in the penalty area. But, reduced to ten men following Laurent Fournier's dismissal ten minutes later, PSG were rocked by a fifth from Attilio Lombardo after 83 minutes. Nicola Amoruso completed the rout five minutes later. Marcello Lippi, the then Juventus coach who is back in charge at the Delle Alpi stadium, was pleased with his side's superb display, saying: "I don't know if Paris played to their usual level tonight but I was delighted by my team's performance."

National team bow
Vieri returned for the second leg the following month and he and Del Piero scored the goals in a 3-1 victory. Padovano started but did not impress - the two legs typical of his erratic Juventus career. His form the previous season had seen him score in the penalty shoot-out in the Champions League final success against AFC Ajax, while two months after the Super Cup he made his first and only appearance for the Italian national team, as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Moldova.

Forgettable experience
His Juventus career came to an end in November 1997 when he joined Lombardo at English side Crystal Palace FC. Unfortunately, it was to prove a forgettable experience for the Turin-born player. He played just 12 games and earned the opprobrium of the Observer newspaper which voted him the fourth worst foreign signing of all time in England in August 2000. Undaunted, Padovano moved on to FC Metz in France, where he was again beset by injuries, and played for Como Calcio in Serie C up until last season.

Trophy-laden seasons
Fellow Super Cup scorer Lombardo's recovery from the Crystal Palace debacle proved more rewarding. Lombardo, who ended up as Palace manager after two seasons and 48 first-team appearances for the south London club, returned to Italy. He spent three seasons with S.S. Lazio, in which he won the Serie A title, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and, two-and-a-half years after his Paris success, another Super Cup.

This article is entitled from "Trezeguet optimistic on every front", taken from UEFA Magazine.