1998/99: Lazio leave it late

Wednesday 19 May 1999
Lazio were the final winners of the competitionLazio were the final winners of the competition (©Getty Images)

RCD Mallorca 1-2 S.S. Lazio
Villa Park, Birmingham

Pavel Nedvěd's late strike clinched S.S. Lazio their first European trophy as the Italian side overcame RCD Mallorca to win the last final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 2-1 at Villa Park, Birmingham. With extra time looming, the Czech midfielder hammered in a superb volley nine minutes from time to give the big-spending Roman team the silverware and finally break the deadlock against a battling RCD Mallorca side.

Nostalgic occasion
The final was a nostalgic occasion in the wake of UEFA's decision to end the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, which had kicked off in 1960/61. This 39th climax to the competition was a hard-fought affair, and gave Lazio ample compensation for their 3-0 defeat against FC Internazionale Milano in the previous season's UEFA Cup final in Paris. Mallorca, enjoying considerable success at the time in the Spanish championship, were certainly not disgraced in losing their first European final.

Hard work
Lazio very nearly went of the competition at the first hurdle against Swiss side Lausanne-Sports, but advanced on the away-goals' thanks to a 2-2 draw in the second leg in Lausanne. Belgrade's FK Partizan also proved to be durable opponents in the second round, Lazio finally squeezing through 3-2 aggregate, all of the goals coming in an action-packed second leg in Rome. Greek side Panionios NFC proved less of a problem in the quarter-finals, Lazio easing through 7-0 on aggregate, before the Rome side again used their ability to strike away from home in the semi-final, drawing 1-1 with FC Lokomotiv Moskva in Moscow before battling out a goalless draw at home to reach the final.

Genk defeated
Mallorca edged past Scottish side Heart of Midlothian FC 2-1 on aggregate in the first round, and then narrowly eliminated KRC Genk thanks to a 1-1 draw in Belgium followed by a goalless draw at home. Croatian side NK Varteks proved stubborn opposition in the quarter-finals, but Mallorca hit form in front of their own fans after a 0-0 first-leg draw, winning 3-1 to reach the final four. A place in the final was assured by defeating Chelsea FC. Mallorca dug out a 1-1 draw in London, before a single goal sent them into their assignment with Lazio

Vieri goal
The final began promisingly. Dangerous spearhead Christian Vieri, who had played in Spain for Club Atlético de Madrid, gave Lazio the lead after only seven minutes with a looping header from a Giuseppe Pancaro cross that evaded Mallorca goalkeeper Carlos Ángel Roa. Mallorca fought back and pulled level just four minutes later. Jovan Stankovic stole down the left and crossed to an unmarked Dani who steered the ball beyond Lazio goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani from close range. Mallorca gained the upper-hand after the goal and pressed with a man advantage when Vieri was taken off the pitch for treatment to a head wound after a collision with Roa. Both clubs had further chances before the interval, but the defences took over after the break - until Nedvěd's late intervention.

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