Highbury hosts three Cup Winners' Cup Semi-Finals 1980, 1994, 1995
Highbury has seen some fantastic European nights over the years. Three of the most epic came in the form of European Cup Winners Cup Semi-Finals.
The first of these on April 9, 1980 saw Arsenal host Italian giants Juventus in the first leg. The visitors took the lead in controversial circumstances with a twice-taken penalty and Roberto Bettega put David O’Leary out of the game.
Justice was done later though, when Bettega’s own-goal gave Arsenal a valuable equaliser. The Gunners went on to win 1-0 in the second leg in Turin, but were beaten on penalties in the final by Valencia.
Paris St Germain were the opponents 14 years later for George Graham’s team in the second leg after a 1-1 draw in France.
A fine defensive display saw Arsenal through to the final after an early strike from Kevin Campbell, but Ian Wright picked up a yellow card which ruled him out of the showpiece occasion. Alan Smith's goal secured a battling 1-0 win over Parma and a place in the following season's Cup Winners' Cup.
The Gunners came agonisingly close to lifting the trophy again in 1995. They fell at the final hurdle but not before Highbury played host to another Semi-Final.
This time Sampdoria, managed by Sven Goran Eriksson, travelled to north London. The Italian side were missing some key players but they still pushed Arsenal all the way.
Tony Adams thought he had put his side in front after half-an-hour but his effort was ruled out for an infringement on the keeper. His defensive partner Steve Bould did steer home a low drive to put them ahead a few minutes later.
He doubled Arsenal's lead two minutes later with a looping near-post header but Vladimir Jugovic pulled one back for Sampdoria in the second half. Wright thought that he had done enough when he put Arsenal 3-1 up but Jugovic struck again to set up a tense second leg.
Arsenal went through after David Seaman's penalty shoot-out heroics in the second leg but Nayim denied Graham's team a second straight Cup Winners' Cup triumph with a goal that most people won’t need reminding of.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.