May 28, 1981, Turin – Stadio Comunale
Juventus 0-1 Roma
Coppa Italia, semi-final first leg
They were both missing that night, one suspended, the other injured. And it didn’t seem like a coincidence. Ramon Turone, scorer of the infamous disallowed goal which could have been the match-winner when Juventus hosted Roma for a decisive Serie A showdown a few weeks earlier; and Cesare Prandelli, the man who kept him onside in the eyes of everyone except the linesman.
The Scudetto had been on the line in that game; this time there was a place in the final. But it was more than ‘just’ a semi-final. At least it was for Roma and the Giallorossi fans who traveled back up to the scene of the crime with a sense of pride and the feeling they were better than Juventus. Because they were. And so they proved.
The lasting image of that second meeting at the Stadio Comunale is the face of the goalscorer, a kid by the name of Carlo Ancelotti. The joy on his face after beating Dino Zoff from Luca Birigozzi’s pass. There’s a photo of him smiling next to a scowling Sergio Brio which says it all.
Some critics immediately pointed to the fact that Juve had been missing several players, that Roberto Bettega had only just come back, that the Coppa Italia was not the Scudetto, that the Bianconeri were still celebrating the Serie A title. The answer to that was on the scoresheet. In Ancelotti’s smile. And in the 80,000 odd who turned up at the Olimpico for the return leg a week later. The return leg of a tie whose real ‘first leg’ had been played several weeks and a few centimeters earlier. A return leg which ended 1-1 and enabled the Giallorossi to take their place in the final against Torino, emerging victorious two legs and a penalty shootout later to claim the club’s fourth Coppa Italia crown.
That cup triumph couldn’t bring Turone’s goal back, but at least the scoreline was right this time: Juventus 0-1 Roma.