No.5: UEFA Cup Final – 17th May 2000
– Galatasaray v Arsenal
- Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
Unlike ’94, when Arsenal fans had ruled the Parken stadium, this time it was the mad, intimidating atmosphere of Istanbul that dominated. It did not boost my confidence before kick off. Like us, Galatasaray had started the season in the Champions League, but failed to qualify from their group.
We did not play well on the night but created chances that on another occasion we would have put away. Inevitably the Galatasaray goalkeeper, the Brazilian Taffarel, was outstanding. With the score level at 0–0 after 90 minutes we entered the stressful extra 30 minutes, with a twist. UEFA were using the short-lived ‘Golden Goal’ rule – the game would end after the first goal. Almost immediately the advantage seemed to swing to us as Hagi, one of their best players, was red-carded after he thumped Tony Adams. We created three clear chances after that but couldn’t break the deadlock. And so it was penalties again.
What a disaster. In front of a hostile, smouldering, baying wall of their own fans Galatasaray scored their first four, they didn’t need to take the fifth. Davor Suker smacked our first against the foot of the post, Ray Parlour scored but then Vieira cracked his against the crossbar. Unbelievably depressing; knocked out of the League Cup, FA Cup and defeated in the UEFA Cup Final all by penalties in the same season. Surely no team deserves so much pain. Here, in the city where Hans Christian Anderson wrote many of his fairy tales, I found no happy ending.