Galatasaray AŞ beat AC Milan to enter the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup and then knocked out clubs from Italy, Germany, Spain and England before a penalty shoot-out defeat of Arsenal FC gave them Turkey's first European honour.
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Galatasaray AŞ 0-0 Arsenal FC (aet)
(Galatasaray win 4-1 on penalties)
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen
"In the past, Turkish players watched finals on television. Now they have the chance to play the starring role." Galatasaray AŞ coach Fatih Terim was in no doubt as to the significance of his team's achievements in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup. Turkish football's dream factories were in overtime when Galatasaray met Arsenal FC in Copenhagen as their country's first European finalist - and history was the end product. Like many great enterprises, though, this one also had humble beginnings.
Galatasaray entered the competition through the back door - as one of the third-placed teams in the first group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Even then they had to beat AC Milan in their last game to qualify. But win they did, and that victory was the start of a run which took the Cim Bom from the UEFA Cup third round, past Bologna FC, BV Borussia Dortmund, RCD Mallorca and Leeds United AFC, to the final at the Parken stadium.
The theme of antagonism ran into the football, with Galatasaray captain Gheorghe Hagi sent off in extra time for striking his Arsenal counterpart Tony Adams. Yet the Gunners – so impressive in beating FC Nantes Atlantique, RC Deportivo La Coruña, Werder Bremen and RC Lens after their UEFA Champions League exit – could not make their advantage tell. The match finished 0-0. In the ensuing penalty shoot-out, Patrick Vieira and Davor Šüker missed for Arsenal to hand Galatasaray the trophy their tough but tricky football deserved.