Dundee 1
Perugia 2
UEFA Cup (1st Round 1st Leg)

1 - 2

UEFA Cup (1st Round 1st Leg)
Wednesday, September 24th, 2003
Dens Park
Attendance: 9,911
7:05 PM Kick-off

Lee Wilkie (63)
Marco Di Loreto (50)
Massimiliano Fusani (84)

Team Managers
Jim Duffy
Serse Cosmi

Starting Eleven
1. Julian Speroni
16. Jonay Hernández
3. David Mackay
19. Lee Mair
2. Barry Smith
6. Lee Wilkie
10. Giorgi Nemsadze
8. Gavin Rae
25. Steve Lovell
17. Nacho Novo
9. Juan Sara
Zeljko Kalac .1
Jamal Alioui .17
Marco Di Loreto .22
Souleymane Diamoutene .14
José Marcelo Ferreira Ze Maria .2
Fabio Grosso .11
Massimiliano Fusani .20
Fabio Gatti .44
Giovanni Tedesco .4
Massimo Margiotta .29
Zisis Vryzas .15

12. Jamie Langfield
23. Tom Cowan
4. Tom Hutchinson
27. Callum MacDonald
18. Brent Sancho
26. Garry Brady
30. Mark Fotheringham
Konstantinos Loumpoutis .3
Emanuele Berrettoni .10
Guly Do Prado .7
Michele Tardioli .8
Giovanni Ignoffo .6
Juan Turchi .21
Christian Obodo. 27

Garry Brady for Steve Lovell (59)
Mark Fotheringham for Nacho Novo (86)
Tom Cowan for Jonay Hernández (86)
Konstantinos Loumpoutis for Fabio Grosso (69)
Guly Do Prado for Zisis Vryzas (86)
Emanuele Berrettoni for Massimo Margiotta (90)

None. Marco Di Loreto (69)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Zeljko Siric (Croatia) (Referee)
Darko Slivar (Croatia) & Zeljko Novosel (Croatia) (Assistants)
Miroslav Vitkovic (Croatia) (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Dundee will travel to Italy for the return leg of this UEFA Cup first round tie more in hope than expectation after losing out to a quality Perugia team at Dens Park last night.

A goal from Massimiliano Fusani five minutes from the end gave the Italians the edge after Lee Wilkie had replied to Marco Di Loreto's opener.

It was hard to see how the Dark Blues could have given more, with the likes of Gavin Rae and Nacho Novo running themselves into the ground, while skipper Barry Smith did a superb man-marking job on playmaker Giovanni Tedesco.

While there were plenty of home heroes, it was a bad night for Juan Sara, who missed a sitter minutes before di Loreto's goal then was guilty of negligence in the build-up to that counter.

Despite the result it was a wonderful night to be at Dens Park and there was a real sense of anticipation as the teams emerged. The Dundee fans welcomed them with one voice, drowning out the posse of Italians seated in the main stand.

The Dark Blues only partly lived up to their name, wearing light blue shorts to go with their normal tops, while Perugia were all in white.

In a surprise move, Dens boss Jim Duffy brought Jonay Hernan- dez back into the team in place of the unlucky Tom Cowan, who had performed so well against Aberdeen on Saturday.

There was no Fabian Caballero, who was serving the third of a three-match suspension, but the manager still adopted his usual attacking formation with strikers Sara, Steve Lovell and Novo all getting the chance to punish the Serie A stars.

Recent signings Fabrizio Ravanelli and Craig Burley were ineligible, while there was no Jay Bothroyd in the visiting line-up as, like Caballero, he was banned.

After a tentative opening few minutes from both teams, Dundee's Georgi Nemsadze showed he was in the mood by threading the ball through to Novo but the danger was mopped up.

The little Spaniard then turned provider for Sara, who beat the offside trap but could not get a foot on the ball on 10 minutes.

But there was a double scare for the Scots when first Tedesco nod- ded over from close range then Fabio Grosso's pinpoint delivery from the left was headed into the arms of keeper Julian Speroni by Zisis Vryzas.

Perugia were looking a class act and it was Brazilian right wing- back Ze Maria doing most of the damage with his precision passing.

Much of Dundee's good play was going through Nemsadze and there was promise in his run upfield on the half-hour mark but he was eventually surrounded by white jerseys.

The Georgian raised the temper- ature again when his pass into the box was fought for by Sara, but with the home supporters shouting for a penalty referee Zeljko Siric correctly ruled he was legally tackled by Jamel Alioui.

Sara then played in Novo but Perugia's Australian goalie Zelko Kalac moved quickly to collect, then at the other end Speroni had to look even sharper to tip away a long-range strike from Ze Maria five minutes before the break.

One of the biggest cheers of the night came during the interval when new recruits Burley and Ravanelli were put on parade. The Italian was hailed by both the Dundee supporters and those who had travelled from his home town of Perugia.

But the roof would have been raised had Sara not squandered a golden chance just two minutes into the second period. He was found at the far post by a Nemsadze free-kick but he headed high and wide when it seemed impossible to miss.

Instead it caved in on the Dark Blues on 50 minutes when Di Loreto found the net-and it was another sorry tale for Sara. The ball was played to Di Loreto and instead of challenging him the Dundee striker turned his back on his opponent. That was to prove costly as the Perugia man kept his composure and as Rae tried desperately to cover he lifted the ball over Speroni and into the net.

But Dundee picked themselves off the floor to hit back in dramatic style on 63 minutes. Garry Brady, who had come on to replace Lovell, was making an impact and won then took a corner. Wilkie, playing in front of the watching Scotland coach Berti Vogts, rose to power a header past Kalac. Novo tried to help it on its way and was credited with the counter by the tannoy announcer-but it was Wilkie's goal.

The match was on a knife edge and the Dens men were battling ferociously but their bravehearts were to be broken on 85 minutes when Perugia clinched the winner.

Massimo Margiotta took posses- sion of the ball at the edge of the box then seemed to miskick. Fortunately for him, though, he succeeded in playing in Fusani, who placed his effort perfectly beyond the reach of Speroni.

It was harsh on the home side, who had given everything, but there was no disgrace in going down to a side who mix it with the likes of Juventus, Milan and Inter.

And surely the Dundee fans who have booked up for the return journey next month can take some pride in seeing their team look comfortable in company like this.

The only man booked was Perugia's Di Loreto, who kicked the ball away after Novo had won a free-kick.

Match report written by The Courier

Squad Statistics (as at September 24th, 2003)

2003-04 All Time
Julian Speroni (GK)24 9 - 76 -
Jonay Hernández24 7 - 441
David Mackay22 7 - 682
Lee Mair22 9 - 431
Barry Smith29 913193
Lee Wilkie23 92995
Giorgi Nemsadze31 9 - 925
Gavin Rae25 9223625
Steve Lovell22 914416
Nacho Novo24 975216
Juan Sara26 719835
Tom Cowan (sub) - 3131
Mark Fotheringham (sub)19 2 - 2 -
Garry Brady (sub)27 8 - 411

League Table (as at September 24th, 2003)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

After our first European joust against Vllaznia, this evening's tie against AC Perugia promises to be a fantastic occasion.

No matter that they may be one of the less well known sides in Italy, any side that plays in one of the top four leagues in Europe has got to be given the highest regard.

Perugia certainly present us with a massive challenge, but it is one that we are ready to respond to.

Many people undervalue our own league and this game affords us the opportunity to put Dundee FC on the map.

However, if we are going to enhance the reputation of the club and Scottish football, it will require a highly positive performance by us.

However, we readily accept that responsibility, although it would be nice to think that we can do it more often than once in 29 years!

Whilst it does put pressure on us, it is of a very welcome variety and I think that it gives us the chance to prove that we are a decent side. We may not play at the same level of European football as our opponents, but hopefully, we'll thrive on the occasion and get a good result to give everyone at the club a boost.

As you probably know I watched Perugia last week and they play three at the back with two very quick defenders on either side but perhaps untypical of what you might normally expect in Jay Bothroyd, they have a big target man which gives them a different aerial option.

They are also very dangerous from set pieces.

Although they didn't finish high enough the league to quality directly for the UEFA Cup, they fact that they came through three testing Intertoto ties and without losing a goal shows that have the typical Italian defensive mentality

And when you look at the ease with which Inter Milan accounted for Arsenal recently, think it says it all about the demands of playing in Serie A

Given that Perugia play in that kind of exalted company week in and week out, it immediately indicates the difficult task that lies ahead of us this evening.