Parma, 17 September 2021 – A league fixture against Cremonese at the Stadio Ennio Tardini in the month of September.

When we see these words, our minds inevitably run back to 1994 or, more precisely, Sunday 4 September 1994. This is the date we’re focusing on in our latest Crociati History column ahead of our next league fixture against the Grigiorossi, which will kick off at 20:30 CEST on Sunday 19 September on matchday four in Serie B.

But why is 4 September 1994 so memorable? Because it was the day Fernando Couto played his first game for Parma and, on top of that, scored his first goal.

It happened in front of the Curva Nord, for whom he would quickly become an idol.

It was the first of two goals that afternoon, with the Crociati running out 2-0 winners.

It certainly didn’t take long for the Portuguese defender to settle into Italian football and Coach Nevio Scala’s tactical system.

In the 20th minute, he dived to meet Gianfranco Zola’s free kick from the right flank, brilliantly directing it into the net to make it 1-0.

Following his perfect assist, Parma’s No.10 doubled the Crociati’s lead on the hour mark, displaying all of his technical ability in the process.

After controlling the ball in the opposition box, Zola shifted it onto his left and let fly with a strike that was a mix of both class and power (2-0).

It was matchday one of the 1994/95 Serie A season, a campaign which saw Parma finish third in the Italian top flight (level on points with Lazio) and win their first UEFA Cup following victory over Juventus in the final.

Header: Couto on the day of his debut. Below: Crociati fans during Parma vs. Cremonese on 4 September 1994.