Tuesday, May 17, 2016

17 May 2000 - Turkish Delight

On 17 May 2000, Galatasaray won their first European trophy, defeating Arsenal on penalties to win the UEFA Cup Final.

Despite the presence of several prolific goalscorers--including three-time Süper Lig golden boot winner Hakan Şükür and Arsenal's Thierry Henry--and gifted playmakers like Gheorghe Hagi and Dennis Bergkamp, the first half was a dour affair that saw the referee issue four yellow cards (two to each team). The second half was little better, as both sides squandered chances and the referee issued four more cautions (three to Galatasaray and one to Arsenal).

Arsenal gained an advantage in extra time as Hagi received a straight red card for punching Tony Adams. The Gunners pressed forward for the match-winner and almost got it, but Galatasaray's Brazilian keeper Taffarel denied Henry's point-blank header.

In penalties, Galatasaray's first three shooters converted, while two of Arsenal's shots were denied by the woodwork. With the Turks leading the shootout 3-1, center back Gheorghe Popescu's kick beat David Seaman for the win.

Galatasaray went on to beat Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup that summer. Arsenal, meanwhile, returned to a European cup final exactly six years later, losing to Barcelona in the Champions League.

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