Parma, 17 September 2020 – September, matchday one of the Serie A season at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Napoli as our opponents, a new Coach in the dugout after replacing someone who helped make Crociati History.

Although times and objectives have changed since then, some elements are the same.

By ‘then’, we mean the year 1996. Nevio Scala, who had led Parma Calcio to the Club’s first major triumphs (a promotion to Serie A, Coppa Italia success, a European Cup Winners’ Cup, a European Super Cup and a UEFA Cup), was no longer the Crociati’s Coach.

Instead, this title was held by the promising Carlo Ancelotti, a former Parma player, who led us to Champions League qualification during his first season.

With just a few days to go until we begin our 2020/21 Serie A TIM campaign (12:30 CEST on Sunday 20 September) against Napoli, it’s only natural for us to relive our opening day fixture against the Partenopei 24 years ago.

On that Saturday evening on 8 September, Parma began in thunderous fashion, sweeping aside Gigi Simoni’s team 3-0 in front of 24,000 spectators. Given what the Crociati produced that day, it could, and perhaps should, have been a bigger scoreline.

Dino Baggio gave Parma the lead on the 14-minute mark, taking full advantage of a mistake made by the Brazilian defender Andrè Cruz and using his right foot to finish off Enrico Chiesa’s ball forward. The talented midfielder, a firm fan favourite, then dropped to his knees in front of the Curva Nord in celebration.

The Crociati soon struck a second blow eight minutes later. It was a wonderful goal too, with Chiesa, who had joined the Club in the summer, scoring his first Parma goal in his first competitive appearance. Our number 20 raced forward, entered the box and, despite Roberto Ayala being in hot pursuit, managed to fire across the goalkeeper, Pino Taglialatela, to make it 2-0.

Equally impressive was Gianfranco Zola’s finish to seal it. The former Napoli man collected the ball on the edge of the box in the 87th minute and curled it into the top corner with aplomb, leaving the visiting goalkeeper with no chance.

Photos: (Above) Enrico Chiesa’s celebration; (below) the Parma fans that evening.