Who could anyone forget almost thirty years ago when AS Monaco and Sampdoria of Genoa met in the semi-final of the Cup Winners’ Cup? How could one not remember first of the seven European semi-finals played by our team in spring 1990? Those new to the side may have never lived through this glory, but those with gray hairs will always remember.
Belenenses in the beginning
In September 1989, after losing to Marseille in one of the finest Coupe de France finals ever a few months earlier (a 4-3 defeat), the Rouge et Blanc took part in the Coupe Winners’ Cup against the Marseille side, who had achieved the double the previous season and thus taking part in the C1. The adventure began in the last 16 in Lisbon against Belenenses, where AS Monaco drew 1-1 (goal by Ramon Diaz). The return match is a formality. George Weah scores two early and Fabrice Mège scores a third time before half-time. The score does not move, the men of Arsene Wenger lead in the round of 16.
Ramon Diaz and the Berlin Wall
Faced with the rough East German training of Dynamo Berlin, the Red and White are held in check in the first leg played in the Principality (0-0). The return match is scheduled for November 1, 1989. No goal was scored during regulation, and the two teams compete for qualification during extra time. When Eike Küttner finally opened the scoring for Berlin in the 110th minute, Monegasque chances dwindled. But of a masterful free-kick, Ramon Diaz equalizes three minutes before the final whistle. The Argentinean beat the proverbial Berlin Wall, nine days before the fall of the real wall! Historical.
Word to the defense
Thanks to the goal scored outside Monaco, the squad reaches the quarter-finals against Real Valladolid, their obstacle to their first European semifinal. Like against Berlin, no goal is scored during the normal time of the first leg in Spain, prior to the return match in the Principality. Extra time does not change anything, as the Red and White rely on Jean-Luc Ettori for the only shootout European goal recorded in the continental competitions for our club. The goalkeeper meets the ball. The Iberians only score once as AS Monaco wins 3-1 and joins enters the last square of a European Cup for the first time!
20,000 spectators at Louis II!
On April 3, 1990, it is against Sampdoria of Genoa that AS Monaco plays their first final. The Italian squad led by Vujadin Boskov looks good with Gianluca Pagliuca in goal, Pietro Vierchowod in defense, Srecko Katanec and Attilio Lombardo in the middle, and an especially impressive offensive pair composed by Gianluca Viali and Roberto Mancini. The Red and White are clearly not favorites, but in a Louis-II with 20,000 spectators, a record, they clearly dominate the first act. The opening of the score of George Weah on corner in the 40th minute is the highlight of first Monegasque period.
Sampdoria woke up after the break, but AS Monaco managed to retain their advantage until the 75th minute, until a very generous penalty awarded to the Italians by the German referee, Mr. Kirschen. Incredulous in the face of this absurd decision, the Red and Whites watch helplessly on Gianluca Vialli’s equalization of a subtle “Panenka”. The Italian star realizes this has destabilized his opponents, as he took the opportunity to score a second time with a header at the 78th. In three minutes, the Monegasque dream has collapsed. And if the equalizer of Ramon Diaz in the 81st, on a deflected shot by a defender, somewhat revives the flame, everyone knows that with the prospect of the return match being in Marassi a qualification for the final would be a real feat.
Underdog status was quickly verified on April 18, 1990 in the lair of Samp’. Vierchowod opened the scoring in the 9th minute, and Lombardo widened the gap in the wake (12th). Trailing 2-0 before even the first fifteen minutes of play, the Red and White are well behind, despite making the first ten minutes promising. Without ever giving up, AS Monaco is still not be able to turn things around, leaving Sampdoria to reach the final.
By winning 2-0 against Anderlecht, the Genoese formation will lift the trophy in Goteborg a few weeks later, a year before lifting the Scudetto under the shadow of the great AC Milan (1991), and two years before the final of the C1 against FC Barcelona Johan Cruyff, while AS Monaco will do the same in C2 against the Werder Breme (1992). It was still early to say, but April 1990 saw one golden generation of a side against the same in the other. Thirty years later, we can see how this has marked the history of AS Monaco and Sampdoria of Genoa.
Semi-final first leg
April 3, 1990
Louis II Stadium
Spectators: 20 000
Referee: M. Kirschen
AS Monaco 2-2 Sampdoria
Goals: Weah (40th), Diaz (81st) for AS Monaco – Vialli (75th, 78th) for Sampdoria
AS Monaco: Ettori, Valery, Petit, Mendy, Sonor, Puel, Dib, Ferratge (Fofana 79th), Touré (Mège 79th), Weah, Diaz – Manager: A. Wenger
Sampdoria: Pagluica, Mannini, Vierchowod, Pari, Invernizzi, Muñoz (Salsana 69th), Katanec, Lombardo, Dossena, Mancini, Vialli – Manager: V. Boskov
Semi-Final second leg
April 18, 1990
Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris (Marassi)
Spectators: 35 577
Official: M. Rosa Dos Santos
Sampdoria 2-0 AS Monaco
Goals: Vierchowod (9th), Lombardo (12th) for Sampdoria
Sampdoria: Pagliuca, Lanna, Vierchowod, Pari, Invernizzi, Carboni, Katanec, Lombardo, Dossena, Mancini, Vialli – Manager V. Boskov
AS Monaco: Ettori, Valery, Petit, Mendy, Sonor, Blondeau (Fofana 46th), Dib, Ferratge, Mège (Clément 62th), Weah, Diaz – Manager: A. Wenger