As Athletic Bilbao prepare to take on Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final we look at five of the best showpieces in the competition under its former guise as the UEFA Cup.
Last Updated: May 9, 2012 3:55pm
A memorable night in Dortmund as Liverpool edge a nine-goal thriller
Athletic Bilbao take on Atletico Madrid in what promises to be an exciting Europa League final in Bucharest on Wednesday. Here, we look at five of the best finals in the competition under its former guise as the UEFA Cup. There have been some memorable finals over the years, with this year's showpiece whetting the appetite nicely. Both sides are capable of playing fantastic football, with Manchester United, for one, well aware of how devastating Bilbao can be when on song. It has all the potential to be another classic.
1981: Ipswich 5 AZ Alkmaar 4 (on aggregate)
In the days when the final was played over two legs, Sir Bobby Robson's Ipswich looked to have done all required of them in the first leg at Portman Road, where they ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from John Wark, Frans Thijssen and Paul Mariner. Thijssen made it 4-0 on aggregate when he opened the scoring in the return leg before the Dutch team hit back through Johnny Metgod and Kurt Welzl.
Wark made it 2-2 on the night before goals from Pier Tol and Jos Jonker ensured that the Tractor Boys had to endure a nervous final 20 minutes before lifting their first European trophy.
1998, Paris: Inter Milan 3 Lazio 0
Inter put in a brutal masterclass of solid defending and clinical finishing as they ran out convincing winners over a Lazio team blessed with the likes of a young Alessandro Nesta, plus Roberto Mancini and Pierluigi Casiraghi. Ivan Zamorano set the Nerazzurri on their way with a fifth-minute strike before Javier Zanetti hit the sweetest of half-volleys that flew in off the crossbar.
Sven-Goran Eriksson then saw his dreams of lifting the trophy dashed when Ronaldo burst through and sent goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani the wrong way with a step-over before slotting home into an empty net to complete the rout.
2001, Dortmund: Liverpool 5 Alaves 4 (after extra-time)
The match that brought Liverpool their third trophy of the season. The first half ended with Gerard Houllier's men 3-1 up thanks to goals from Markus Babbel, Steven Gerrard and Gary McAllister (penalty), with Ivan Alonso replying for the Spaniards. Javi Moreno's double brought Alaves level before substitute Robbie Fowler put Liverpool 4-3 ahead. With less than two minutes remaining, however, poor defending allowed Jordi Cruyff to nod home an equaliser. Alaves resorted to bully-boy tactics, with two of their team sent off in extra-time. The numerical advantage paid off three minutes before the end as Delfi Geli flicked McAllister's cross into his own net to give the Merseysiders the Golden Goal they needed for victory.
2003, Seville: Porto 3 Celtic 2 (after extra-time)
Martin O'Neill's training top may not have matched the classy suit his counterpart Jose Mourinho was wearing in the Estadio Olimpico, but the Ulsterman's Celtic team matched Porto almost all the way in Andalucia. Derlei and Dmitri Alenitchev had put the Dragons up on two occasions, but Henrik Larsson hit back each time with powerful headers to set up a tense extra-time period. Bobo Balde's reckless challenge earned him a red card and Porto made the numerical advantage pay, with Derlei grabbing his second goal five minutes before the end to clinch Mourinho's first European trophy.
2007, Glasgow: Espanyol 2 Sevilla 2 (after extra time, Sevilla won 3-1 on penalties)
Sevilla, managed by Juande Ramos, became the second team to successfully defend the UEFA Cup. Having reached the Hampden Park final thanks partly to goalkeeper Andres Palop's injury-time last-16 equaliser against Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla looked set for victory after Adriano's strike went unanswered until Albert Riera's 80th-minute equaliser. Fredi Kanoute scored for Sevilla 15 minutes into extra-time but Jonatas levelled five minutes from the end to force penalties.
Dani Alves missed for Sevilla, but Jonatan, Luis Garcia and Marc Torrejon all failed from 12 yards for Espanyol.