Football / European Cup-Winners Cup: Smith's strike brings Arsenal European glory: Battling Londoners make light of the loss of Wright and Jensen

Arsenal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Parma. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

'ONE-NIL to the Arsenal' they had sung all night - a prophetic as well as inspiriational anthem. They may not be everyone's cup of char but these far from boring Gunners did England proud again last night, rescuing a season of disappointment at home by adding the Cup-Winners' Cup to the impressive array of silverware collected under George Graham's no-frills management.

The first European trophy of his eight-year tenure completes a full set for the single-minded Scot, who has won everything the game has to offer on the domestic front.

Parma, the holders, were favourites to retain the cup, but Arsenal raised their game to compensate for the absence of Ian Wright and John Jensen, and upset the odds courtesy of what was only Alan Smith's seventh goal of the season.

It was hard work, but Arsenal revel in that, and there could be no quibbling with a deserved result which further brightens the new dawn the advent of Terry Venables has given English football.

Graham had spoken of his confidence, yet beneath the veneer of assurance he knew what was always going to be a hard task, against one of the most accomplished teams in Europe, had been exacerbated by the loss of Wright, Jensen, David Hillier and Martin Keown to injury and suspension.

What Wright calls 'the bulldog spirit, man' was needed more than ever. It was there in abundant, admirable supply.

Without their principal goalscorer and ball-winning grafters Arsenal regrouped in 4-5-1 formation with Smith ploughing a lone furrow in attack. It was a role he performed to crafty, economical perfection.

It was a night when there were heroes everywhere, but the colossal influence Tony Adams has come to extend on his team was apparent even before the start when, to the appropriate accompaniment of 'Simply the Best' he helped to supervise the warm-up, and could be seen shaking clenched fists at all and sundry, ensuring that everyone was properly motivated.

The atmosphere helped. Arsenal enjoyed a pronounced advantage in terms of support, the battle flags indicating that the Gooners had gathered from as far afield as Warrington and the Lord Nelson, Dover. One-eyed fanatics, to a man.

The strains of 'one-nil' rang out from the start, but subsided, temporarily, when Parma threatened to win the game in the first five minutes.

Faustino Asprilla, played in by Thomas Brolin, must have scored but for Steve Bould's marvellous saving tackle, and when the Italians came surging back, Brolin turned his hand to finishing and was too close for comfort when he got his head to Antonio Benarrivo's right- wing cross.

Those of us who expected a tight, cat-and-mouse game were pleasantly surprised with half-a-dozen chances created in the first 13 minutes. Parma carved out four of them, and were unlucky when Brolin, serviced by Gianfranco Zola's penetrative run and pass, shot firmly against the base of David Seaman's right-hand post.

Not that Arsenal were playing exclusively on the back foot. Far from it. Kevin Campbell was not far away with a header from Paul Merson's corner, Adams met a Paul Davis free- kick with a firm nod of the forehead which required a last-ditch clearance from Luigi Apolloni and then, after 20 minutes, the Highbury legions were in full voice again.

One-nil was right, Smith fastening on to an extravagant, failed attempt at an overhead clearance by Lorenzo Minotti and running on to shoot past Luca Bucci via his left- hand upright.

Parma passed it around nicely, as we always knew they would, but Arsenal marked and chased assiduously to keep their clever opponents at bay.

Few teams do it better when it comes to defending a lead, and they slipped comfortably into what we have, we hold mode.

When the Italians did manage to break through, Asprilla evading Bould and Zola side-stepping Lee Dixon, England's goalkeeper was equal to the task, touching over Zola's crisp finish.

Arsenal were closest to adding to the score before half-time, the near post header with which Campbell met Davis's corner embarrassing Bucci, who was grateful for Gabriele Pin's goal-line intervention.

Adams, Campbell and Ian Selley were all booked when the going got tough, but Arsenal shrugged off these minor inconveniences and maintained their concentration throughout, Dixon distinguishing himself with a tackle which bordered on the heroic to dispossess Asprilla at shooting range.

Parma were frustrated. Adams and Bould were colossal in defence, the work rate of the midfield reserves was such that Jensen was never missed. It was Arsenal at their bristling best.

Asprilla, always the greatest threat, had English fingers grasping the edge of their seats with a shot which ran tantalisingly wide of Seaman's left-hand post, but the red line held without too much trouble in the face of what was never more than intermittent pressure.

'We shall not be moved' boomed down from the end of the Parken stadium that had become the North Bank for the night. They weren't.

English football has its pride back - at club as well as international level.

Arsenal (4-5-1): Seaman; Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn; Campbell, Selley Morrow, Davis, Merson (McGoldrick, 87); Smith.

Parma (3-4-1-2): Bucci; Sensini, Apolloni, Minotti; Benarrivo, Pin (Melli, 70), Crippa, di Chiara; Brolin; Asprilla, Zola.

Referee: V Krondl (RCS).

(Photograph omitted)

More football, page 43

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup