Torino vs Juventus Throwback: Maresca Won the Battle of the Horns

The name of Enzo Maresca probably won’t ring any bell to most Juventus fans, especially the younger ones. After all, this journeyman midfielder collected only 37 caps for the Bianconeri across 4 seasons. Still, Maresca is mostly remembered at Juventus for his famous celebration after scoring in a Derby della Mole against cross-town rivals Torino – a game which we could rightfully dub as the “Battle of the Horns.”

It was a celebration that truly symbolized the essence of bantering in football, especially in a hotly-contested game like a city derby. Some said it was controversial or inappropriate. We say it was just calcio at its best. Read on and judge by yourself.

As an introduction, for those who wouldn’t know: Torino’s symbol is a bull. The bull is emblazoned on the city of Turin’s coat of arms, and the Granata club chose it as their mascot from the very day of their foundation. Torino are also known as Il Toro, which means exactly “The Bull.” The Bianconeri, on the other hand, have been historically nicknamed the Zebras due to their black-and-white striped jersey.

On February 14, 2002, Juventus faced Torino in the second Derby della Mole of the season. The first one, played in October of 2001, had already been a match to remember: It was the game of “Maspero’s hole,” with Torino coming back from 0-3 and holding Juve to a draw as Riccardo Maspero sabotaged the penalty kick spot to prevent Marcelo Salas from scoring Juventus’ fourth.

Now, it was time for revenge. When the Bianconeri met Torino at the Stadio Delle Alpi, they were battling with Inter and Roma for the Italian title – a title they would eventually win in the infamous day of Inter’s Cinque Maggio. The Granata, on the other hand, were comfortably far from the drop zone.

But the Derby of Turin is never an ordinary game and this one made no exception. In one of the few occasions when the Delle Alpi was filled with supporters from both sides, a lob cross by Edgar Davids found David Trezeguet in the middle of Torino’s box, right where the French hitman could not fail. Trezeguet’s header drew first blood for Juventus.

Gianluigi Buffon cared to remember everyone why he was considered the best keeper in the world back in the days with two brilliant saves to deny Antonino Asta and Luca Mezzano. But then, from a long-range free-kick, Marco Ferrante took advantage of Lilian Thuram’s poor defending to beat Juventus’ keeper with a right-foot shot.

Ferrante run to celebrate in an iconic Torino way: Running across the athletics track of the Delle Alpi mimicking some bull-horns with his hands and moving through a garnet-colored cape (the color of Torino) held by a team staff mimicking a bullfighting event.

Torino even put their heads ahead as Benoit Cauet caught a pass from the right by Cristiano Lucarelli and surprised Buffon on his near post – catching the Gigi Nazionale unprepared this time. The Granata fans went wild as back in the days it was no easy fit for them to overcome the much-stronger Bianconeri.

Emotions were not over, though. Juventus hit the crossbar from a corner kick and then Torino goalkeeper Luca Bucci saved from Enzo Maresca from point-blank range. But Maresca was just warming up, it would seem.

With just one minute to go, the Campania-born midfielder lifted himself up to turn a long-range cross by Lilian Thuram into a beautiful, perfectly-timed header which left no chance to Bucci this time. Then, in the blink of an eye, he let himself go to a wild celebration that made him famous among the Juve fans.

Just like Ferrante had done earlier in the game, Maresca run across the pitch mimicking the bull-horns, just as if to mock his opponents. The bull was killed. The corrida was over. Needless to say, Torino players didn’t like it one bit and, when referee Gianluca Paparesta blew the final whistle, they promptly began the manhunt, looking for the disrespectful opponent to tell him a thing or two.

Maresca had to leave the pitch at once as players from both Juventus and Torino had to be restrained from confronting each other. Some police officers also had to get involved to cool things down. Fair enough. It was just another day in the Derby of Turin, you know.


February 24, 2002 – Serie A 2001-02 Round 24

SCORERS: 10’ Trezeguet (J), 64’ Ferrante (T), 80’ Cauet (T), 89′ Maresca (J)

TORINO (3-5-2): Bucci; Galanta, Fattori, Delli Carri; Comotto, Asta (46′ De Ascentis), Scarchilli (62′ Maspero), Vergassola, Mezzano; Ferrante (74′ Cauet), C. Lucarelli (Sorrentino, Martinelli, Brambilla, P. Rossi) Coach: Camolese
JUVENTUS (3-4-1-2): Buffon; Thuram, Ferrara, Iuliano; Zambrotta (64′ Tacchinardi), Conte, Davids (76′ Maresca), Pessotto (76′ D. Zenoni); Nedved; Trezeguet, Del Piero (Carini, Birindelli, Montero, Zalayeta) Coach: Lippi

REFEREE: Mr. Paparesta from Bari
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Comotto, Vergassola, C. Lucarelli, De Ascentis (T), Ferrara, Zambrotta (J)