1992-93: A Season Review As Rossoneri Dominate Among The Goalfests
Fabio Capello guided AC Milan to a 13th Scudetto as the back-pass rule was introduced for the 1992-93 campaign, Vito Doria looks back at one of Serie A’s most entertaining seasons.
After FIFA introduced the back-pass rule to reduce defensive play, the 1992-93 season was filled with many high-scoring matches in Serie A.
AC Milan were dominant in the force, finishing the season unbeaten under the coaching of Fabio Capello. It was hard to see who could break their dominance on the Italian peninsula, much like trying to crack a code unlocking a big bonus; almost impossible.
Goalkeepers were no longer allowed to pick the ball up after a teammate had passed it to him with his feet and this caused the goal average in Serie A to improve dramatically.
In the previous season 695 goals were scored in 306 games, with an average of 2.27 a game. In 1992-93 the tally went up to 858 goals in 306 matches, with the average going up to 2.8 a game.
The Rossoneri were firing on all cylinders in the first nine rounds, which included a 5-4 win away to newly-promoted Pescara, beating Fiorentina 7-3 in Florence, winning 5-3 at home to Lazio and thrashing Napoli 5-1 in Naples.
While Milan looked fairly comfortable on the top, there was a battle for the best of the rest below them.
Torino had sold star winger Gianluigi Lentini to AC Milan for a world-record fee of €9.6 million before the start of the season, despite the loss the Granata were two points behind the Rossoneri after Week 4 and just four points behind them after Week 9. Eventually Lentini’s departure affected Torino and they finished 9th in the league despite winning the Coppa Italia, beating Roma in the final.
Inter took turns for second spot with Juventus, Torino and Fiorentina early on but the Nerazzurri earned that position for themselves by Week 14. New signings Igor Shalimov from Foggia and Ruben Sosa from Lazio were making an impact under coach Osvaldo Bagnoli. Sosa would finish with 20 goals in 28 games, his highest-ever tally in Serie A.
At the end of the first half of the season, Milan had collected 31 out of a possible 34 points from 17 rounds and Inter were eight points behind in second.
Surprisingly, Atalanta were in third place with 20 points at the halfway mark. The Orobici were still third by Week 24 before eventually finishing in eighth with 36 points under coach Marcello Lippi.
By Week 23 the Diavolo were 11 points ahead of Inter and had gone 58 matches unbeaten in Serie A since May 1991. A week later, Parma ended the run of the Invincibili (Invincibles) with a 1-0 victory in Milan. The Ducali eventually finished third in Serie A and they defeated Royal Antwerp from Belgium 3-1 in the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final.
Capello’s side started losing their grip in the title race and after losing 3-1 at home to Juventus in Week 28, their lead over Inter was cut to five points. AC Milan had to wait until Week 33 to seal back-to-back titles when they drew 1-1 with Brescia and Inter lost 2-0 to Parma.
The Rossoneri finished the season with 50 points and the Nerazzurri were four points behind in second. Milan went on to lose the UEFA Champions League Final 1-0 to French side Olympique Marseille, which sadly marked the end of Marco Van Basten’s career.
Lazio striker Giuseppe Signori was the Capocannoniere with 26 goals. Although Ruben Sosa left for Inter and midfielder Paul Gascoigne arrived from Tottenham Hotspur, Signori was signed from Foggia and carried Dino Zoff’s side into the UEFA Cup spots.
Juventus struggled in the league and finished fourth but won the UEFA Cup against Borussia Dortmund. Italian striker Roberto Baggio was at his peak, scoring 21 goals in Serie A and then winning the 1993 Ballon d’Or award.
Cagliari, who were under controversial new president Massimo Cellino, were as high as third in the league table at one point and finished a respectable sixth under Carlo Mazzone. The Isolani conceded just 33 goals, with Milan allowing one less goal, and registered huge wins such as their 5-0 away win against Torino and 4-0 home win against Pescara.
Roma had a disappointing season, losing the Coppa Italia Final to Torino and finishing 10th in Serie A. Their 2-0 win away to Brescia in March has become significant though because it was the debut of club legend Francesco Totti.
The relegation battle was a surprising one. Fiorentina were second in Week 13 but coach Luigi Radice was sacked a week later after a dispute with vice-president Vittorio Cecchi Gori. Twenty games and two coaches later the Gigliati were relegated despite beating Foggia 6-2 on the final day.
Udinese and Brescia finished on 30 points like Fiorentina but they had better head-to-head records. A play-off was required, which Udinese won 3-1 in Bologna.
Despite having the likes of Stefan Effenburg, Brian Laudrup and Gabriel Batistuta in their squad, there was no saving the Viola after Radice’s shock departure and they went to Serie B with Ancona, Pescara and the Rondinelle.