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Chelsea Wins European Soccer Title

May 13, 1998 GMT

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Gianfranco Zola scored 18 seconds after entering the game late in the second half, and Chelsea beat Vfb Stuttgart 1-0 Wednesday night to win the European Cup Winners Cup.

Zola replaced Andre Flo in the 70th minute, then picked up a loose ball in midfield, broke in between two defenders and beat goalkeeper Franz Wohlfahrt from the edge of the penalty area.

``It was quite incredible for me,″ Zola said. ``I couldn’t contain myself. This is one of the best moments of my career.″

Chelsea player-coach Gianluca Vialli decided not to start Zola after the forward missed three games because of groin trouble.

``I want to thank the masseur who treated me,″ Zola said. ``He (Mimmo Pezza) did a fantastic job. You must imagine my situation. Eighteen days ago, my dream turned into nothing. Then after treatment, suddenly I’m in the match. I came in ... scored and we won the cup.″

Zola’s goal was his fourth in this year’s Cup Winners Cup and his 12th of the season.

``We’re very happy to win, but we do not want to stop here,″ Vialli said. ``We want to keep improving and next season, we will start trying to win the Premier League, which is our aim now.″

Chelsea won its second European title in as many finals. In 1971, the London team won 1971 Cup Winners Cup after a replay against Real Madrid.

Both teams finished Wednesday’s game with 10 players after two late ejections. Chelsea’s Dan Petrescu was sent off in the 84th after a rough tackle on Murat Yakin, and Gerhard Poschner of Stuttgart was ejected in the last minute after protesting a yellow card.