On October 27, 1996, Hernan Crespo introduced himself to the Serie A as he scored his first goal in the Italian top-flight. He did it in the best possible way, with a stunning right-foot volley from a Zé Maria cross to put his Parma ahead of Inter at the San Siro.
The day didn’t end well for Parma as the Nerazzurri, coached by Roy Hodgson, came from behind with an Ivan Zamorano brace and a Javier Zanetti goal to set the score at 3-1.
Crespo’s first goal came in his second Serie A game. He had made his debut one week earlier in a Parma side coached by Carlo Ancelotti in his maiden top-flight season in the dugout. However, his debut couldn’t prevent the Crociati from losing to Perugia at home.
After his exploit at the San Siro, Crespo experienced a shocking performance drop which led many to wonder why the club was putting so much trust in this 21-year-old striker from River Plate – to the point of getting rid of an icon like Gianfranco Zola to make room for him.
But Crespo eventually bounced back and repaid the trust put in him. He broke his scoring drought in March with a brace to Cagliari, then ended the season with 11 goals in the last 13 games, which pushed Parma to the second place in the table and an unprecedented qualification to the Champions League.
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