Brazilian defender Juan capitalised on some poor defending to fire the Italians in front and level the tie at 1-1 on aggregate after just 10 minutes. The Gunners grew in stature as the match went on, but could not find a way through as extra-time passed – with Roma’s Max Tonetto missing a crucial sudden-death spot-kick.
Roma had started the better, and it was no surprise when they took the lead.
Arsenal failed to clear their lines, as Francesco Totti swept a low cross into the penalty area, which was completely missed by both William Gallas and Kolo Toure and went through the legs of Rodrigo Taddei. The ball rolled all the way to Juan at the far post, and the Brazilian defender thumped his shot past Manuel Almunia.
Afterward Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said the win will silence the critics who claim his side lack the mental strength to win trophies.
“We needed to show our nerve tonight and determination,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “We were a bit nervous at the start and gave a goal away more by nerves than them creating the chance. “I must pay tribute to the nerves of my team. There is something in there that comes out, that is huge mental strength. “Our character has been questioned many times. I’ve said many times that this team is very strong.”