In the first UEFA Cup final played as a one-off game it was FC Internazionale Milano, beaten in the previous year's two-legged decider by FC Schalke 04, that got the better of Italian rivals S.S. Lazio in Paris.
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S.S. Lazio 0-3 FC Internazionale Milano
(Zamorano 5, Zanetti 60, Ronaldo 70)
Parc des Princes, Paris
The last time the previous Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final had been played as a one-off, an Italian team, Juventus, lost to a Hungarian one, Ferencvárosi TC. Another 33 years brought another Italian defeat in the first UEFA Cup final not to be over two legs. Here it was S.S. Lazio who missed their big opportunity after they were beaten by FC Internazionale Milano in Paris.
For Sven-Göran Eriksson's side it was the first reverse of an impressive campaign which had accounted for Vitória SC, SC Rotor Volgograd, SK Rapid Wien, AJ Auxerre and Club Atlético de Madrid. At the Parc des Princes, however, the outlook was bad from the fifth minute when Iván Zamorano put Inter ahead; worse when Lazio substitute Matias Almeyda got himself sent off; and grimmer still when Javier Zanetti and Ronaldo rounded off the scoring in Inter's favour. "They deserved to win," conceded Eriksson, "but not by 3-0." Not that the Nerazzurri were complaining.
Second best to Juventus in Serie A, they had rediscovered that winning feeling in a competition they had won twice before in the 1990s. Gigi Simoni's men had begun well enough with victories over Neuchâtel Xamax FC, Olympique Lyonnais and RC Strasbourg. They then avenged their defeat by FC Schalke 04 in the previous year's final, 2-1 on aggregate, before cruising past FC Spartak Moskva in the semi-finals. In all, not a bad consolation prize.