Let’s relive Christian Abbiati’s Rossoneri debut from the 1st minute: dated January 24th, 1999
20 YEARS AGO: FROM THIRD TO FIRST CHOICE
The early season hierarchy was very clear initially: the first-choice goalkeeper was Jens Lehmann, followed by Sebastiano Rossi, third-choice, the young Christian Abbiati. Lehmann was the first choice from mid-September to mid-October. But, the great German goalkeeper seems dazed, he struggles to fit in and is out of the starting eleven in mid-October after some alternating performances. Cagliari is where it all happened: after he is sent-off, in comes the veteran, Sebastiano Rossi, who saves the penalty kick and then becomes the first-choice keeper. But, that January of 1999 proves to be fatal even for Seba. Getting a taste of his own medicine … Rossi was in turn sent-off in AC Milan vs Perugia, for having grabbed Bucchi by the neck after a penalty kick. This is precisely the moment when the prominent career of Christian Abbiati begins.
BOLOGNA: THE SENIORS APPROVE OF ABBIATI
January 24, 1999, exactly twenty years ago. Bologna vs AC Milan was the next fixture. The Rossoneri had won 3-0 at San Siro in the first away leg of the season. But in the meantime, Mazzone’s Bologna team had improved a lot and the Dall’Ara game would prove to be much more than a walk in the park for AC Milan. So much so that the Bologna would go into the lead twice, in both cases with Signori, but the Rossoneri equalized on both occasions. Maldini, Costacurta and Albertini repeatedly congratulate Christian who makes some crucial saves to prevent Bologna from taking the lead once again. Until when destiny struck for the umpteenth time in that 1998/99 season of the 16th Scudetto. Two substitutes came on from the bench, not the protagonists of a memorable performance up till that point of the season, namely, the young Aliyu and N’Gotty who cook up the victorious 3-2 goal for the Rossoneri in the dine minute. Also thanks to Abbiati, the debutant.
BOLOGNA 2-3 AC MILAN
BOLOGNA: Antonioli, Rinaldi, Boselli, Mangone, Tarantino (21′ Magoni), Binotto (70′ Paganin), Maini (70′ Cappioli), Ingesson, Fontolan, Andersson, Signori. Coach: Mazzone.
AC MILAN: Abbiati, Sala, Costacurta, P. Maldini, Guglielminpietro, Albertini, Ambrosini (86′ N’Gotty), Ziege, Leonardo (77′ Aliyu), Bierhoff, Morfeo. Coach: Zaccheroni.
Goals: 15′ Signori (B), 21′ Guglielminpietro (M), 44′ Signori (B), 63′ OG. Magoni (M), 90′ N’Gotty (M).