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Lokomotiv and Arsenal off the mark

Published: Tuesday 30 September 2003, 22.00CET
FC Lokomotiv Moskva 0-0 Arsenal FC Honours even as both teams pick up first points in Group B.
Published: Tuesday 30 September 2003, 22.00CET

Lokomotiv and Arsenal off the mark

FC Lokomotiv Moskva 0-0 Arsenal FC Honours even as both teams pick up first points in Group B.

Arsenal FC ended a run of four successive defeats in Moscow but could not break down a stubborn FC Lokomotiv Moskva side as both teams picked up their first UEFA Champions League points of the season in a tense Group B fixture.

Winless runs
The point will not be that welcome for either team, who have both gone a long time without a victory in this competition. Lokomotiv have not won in their last eight matches while Arsenal's winless run now extends to seven. The visitors had the two best efforts of the game but Lokomotiv had more possession - which is why a draw was the fairest outcome.

Profligate Henry
Arsenal began the game brightly and striker Thierry Henry had two early chances: he saw one effort from distance saved before he shot over the bar from 13 metres out with just goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov to beat. But the visitors seemed to slump after those misses and Lokomotiv dominated the rest of the first period.

Skipper goes close
Influential captain Dmitri Loskov showed why he is joint-top scorer in Russia's Premier League with constant runs from midfield that Arsenal struggled to pick up. He angled Sergei Gurenko's whipped cross away from goal when unmarked on the penalty spot and then curled a free-kick a few centimetres too high with Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann rooted to his line.

Loskov the creator
When Loskov was not missing chances, he was creating them for others: one through-ball curled around the back of the Arsenal defence but Mikheil Ashvetia, in the side in place of the ill Maksim Buznikin, failed to control the ball and the chance went begging.

Touré goes wide
Arsenal almost broke the deadlock against the run of play, just before the interval, when Ray Parlour's fizzing shot was pushed to safety by Ovchinnikov. From the resulting corner, Kolo Touré beat his marker but glanced his header beyond the far post.

Pires in one-on-one
Arsenal had more opportunities in an even second period in which both sides pushed forward seeking a winner. Henry came into the game after he dropped back into a more withdrawn role: first he headed a Gilberto cross wide and then played through Robert Pires, who shot weakly when presented with a one-on-one chance against Ovchinnikov.

Cole snapshot blocked
The Russian international was required again when Parlour's low cross caused havoc in the area. He blocked Pires's shot and watched as the rebound fell to Ashley Cole, whose snapshot on the turn was blocked by the chest of Oleg Pachinine.

Visitors improved
Arsenal were a different side in the second half – they were more aggressive and showed no signs of missing key players Patrick Vieira, Fredrik Ljungberg and Sol Campbell. In defence, Touré was the hero. He dived in to save the day after a quickly-taken free-kick caught his team-mates napping and sent Loskov clear.

Fair result
But Lokomotiv's efforts on goal soon dried up and as the game petered out, Arsenal redressed the balance after the first half and looked the most likely to score. Both sides now have one point from their first two games. In three weeks, Arsenal travel to FC Dynamo Kyiv while Lokomotiv welcome Internazionale FC to Moscow as the hunt for that long-awaited win continues.


 

Last updated: 01/10/03 0.07CET

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