On 20 April 1995, Arsenal beat Serie A side Sampdoria via penalties to proceed to the UEFA Cup Winners Cup Final. With the Italian supporters painting the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa with shades of green, white and red to signify their support for the home team; Arsenal had a huge mountain to climb considering they had only 3000 away supporters among the 35,000 that attended.
Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini – who was then the forward for the Blucerchiati – scored the opener 14 minutes into the match. Arsenal were not able to marshal an attack until after the interval when Ian Wright levelled the score. However, two quick goals by Claudio Bellucci in the 82nd and 85th minute put the result beyond doubt for the Italians.
Then came the twist, Swedish international Stefan Schwarz scored for the Gunners with two minutes left on the clock, making it 3-2. Although the score line read 3-2 in favor of Sampdoria, the aggregate score was 5-5, pushing the game into extra time.
Arsenal clinically converted three of their five penalties to win the match and reach the Final as they looked set to defend the much coveted European title. Unfortunately, Spanish side Real Zaragoza beat the Premier League side 2-1 in the Final to lift the Cup Winners Cup for the very first time.
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