The finest finals from 40 years of the UEFA Cup - with video!
A dire warning for Fulham about the dangers of losing focus. Like the Cottagers, Middlesbrough enjoyed a remarkable European campaign, with surprising and thrilling wins and some top-class scalps.
Like Fulham, in the final they were underdogs against Spanish opposition, but held their own for much of the contest. Only 1-0 down with 15 minutes left, they had a penalty appeal controversially turned down, and Sevilla immediately sought to punish their angry opponents’ lack of concentration.
Enzo Maresca netted just two minutes later, and he and Freddi Kanoute each struck in the last five minutes to turn a tight game into a 4-0 rout. The rest, as they say, is history. Middlesbrough haven’t been the same since and just four years on find themselves preparing for a second successive season in the Championship. Beware, Fulham!
The 1990s saw Italy stamp its authority on European football. The European Cup had an Italian finalist every year from 1992 to 1998, while the nine UEFA Cup finals prior to this had brought six Italian winners. And Inter were the stand-out team, beating Roma in 1991 and Salzburg in 1994 and only succumbing to Schalke on penalties in 1997.
With French schemer Youri Djorkaeff pulling the strings behind Ivan ‘Bam-Bam’ Zamorano and world record signing Ronaldo, even Sven-Göran Eriksson’s impressive Lazio side stood little chance in the first one-legged final. The Aquile were torn apart.
Zamorano’s close-range volley put Inter in front after five minutes, before a stunning 20-yard half volley from Javier Zanetti flew in off the bar to extend their lead on the hour. The win was sealed 10 minutes later when Ronaldo burst clear, dazzling the goalkeeper with step-overs before coolly finishing. The Nerazzurri had won their third UEFA Cup title.
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