Hope of an all London final

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The Independent Online
The prospect of the first all-English European final for 23 years moved closer yesterday as Arsenal and Chelsea were kept apart in the semi-final draw for the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

Arsenal are paired with Sampdoria, while Chelsea play Real Zaragoza, the surprise team of the Spanish season.

If they both get through it will be the first final in 40 seasons of European competition between two clubs from the same city. It could even be moved to London as well: the prospect of a Wembley sell-out should appeal considerably more attractive to Uefa than 50,000 English football fans wandering around Paris, the scheduled venue, on 10 May.

But before they can dream of the first all-English final since Tottenham beat Wolves over two legs in the 1972 Uefa Cup, both clubs must beat strong opposition. Sampdoria have been a leading team in Italy's Serie A for some years. However, they will be without the Cup-tied Ruud Gullit and, for the first leg at least, David Platt.

The England captain was sent off near the end of extra time for committing two bookable offences during Sampdoria's quarter-final win away to Porto on Thursday night. A one-match ban is automatic but Uefa may impose a more severe one after seeing the referee's report next week. Sampdoria won 1-0 on the night and 5-3 on penalties. Bobby Robson, Porto's manager, was forced to relive the torment of England's 1990 World Cup semi-final exit after Russel Latapy had his penalty saved by Walter Zenga.

Zaragoza went through after beating Feyenoord 2-0 for a 2-1 aggregate win. Feyenoord, who had a player dismissed in the first leg, went one worse as they finish with nine men.

Chelsea are away in the first leg, which pleased Glenn Hoddle, their manager. "Any sort of half-decent result will leave us well set up for the second leg at Stamford Bridge," he said, "especially if our crowd repeat the marvellous support of Tuesday [when Chelsea beat Bruges].

"But neither Stewart Houston [the Arsenal manager] or myself can start thinking about an all-London final. We both need too many points for Premier League safety to concentrate on anything else."

Houston, whose team beat Auxerre on Thursday, was probably not thinking of Tottenham fans when he said: "I think everybody in the country will be hoping for an all English European final. It may be just what is needed to boost the image of the game."

EUROPEAN CUP-WINNERS' CUP Semi-final draw: Arsenal v Sampdoria (It); Real Zaragoza (Sp) v Chelsea (First leg to be played 6 April; second leg 20 April).

UEFA CUP Semi-final draw: Group A: Bayer Leverkusen (Ger) v Parma (It). Group B: Juventus (It) v Borussia Dortmund (Ger) (First leg to be played 4 April; second leg 18 April. Winner of Group A at home in first leg of two-leg final on 3 May; second leg on 17 May).

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