On This Day – October 31, 2004: Messina Win First Derby dello Stretto

The Derby dello Stretto puts against each other Messina and Reggina, the clubs from the two cities lying on each side of the infamous Strait of Messina.

Like all cross-town rivalries in the Belpaese, it’s a fiery and passionate confrontation that has been played several times in the lower divisions of the Italian football pyramid. However, for a short golden age, the Derby dello Stretto was also played in Serie A.

Messina and Reggina shared top-flight rights together from 2004 to 2007, facing each other six times. The first occurrence, played on October 31, 2004 at the San Filippo Stadium in Messina, saw the Peloritani come from behind to beat the visiting Amaranto 2-1 with goals from their strikers Riccardo Zampagna and Arturo “King Arthur” Di Napoli. Emiliano Bonazzoli had temporarily put the Reggio Calabria side ahead.

Oddly enough, this typical Southern-Italian confrontation featured two Japanese players on the pitch, one for each side. Shunsuke Nakamura was a starter for Reggina, while Atsushi Yanagisawa came in as a substitute for Messina around the one-hour mark.

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