Arsenal FC 3-1 Juventus FC. Arsenal FC got their UEFA Champions League campaign right back on track at Highbury stadium with a 3-1 victory over Juventus FC.
It was a performance of measured power and included a double strike from Fredrik Ljungberg and a Thierry Henry free-kick to get the better of an own goal induced by David Trezeguet at the start of the second half.
Juventus start well
It all looked so different at the start as Juventus came out of the blocks like an Olympic 100m finalist. For 15 minutes the home side could barely get hold of the ball but as they settled, it became clear that Arsenal were there to run the full 400m. They started to get a grip on the game and their possession bore fruit in the 21st minute.
Ljungberg opens scoring
Patrick Vieira threaded a low shot through from the edge of the area, after good work from Lauren to win the Arsenal captain his shooting opportunity. Vieira's effort was saved by Gianluigi Buffon, but as the ball bounced loose in front of the grounded goalkeeper, Ljungberg was on hand to push the rebound into the bottom corner. The goal seemed to knock all the wind out of a Juventus side who had been forced to play three games in six days including their rescheduled Champions League tie with Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Arsenal make hay
Arsenal quickly capitalised on the lack of morale amongst the visitors, with Henry making the score 2-0 in the 28th minute. It was a masterful free-kick which left the world’s most expensive goalkeeper rooted to the spot. Gianluca Zambrotta felled Robert Pires in a dangerous position as the Frenchman cut across the top of the penalty area to concede a set-piece in an almost central position. Henry stepped up to the ball and curled his right boot around it to bend his kick into the top right-hand corner of Buffon’s net.
Juventus hit back
Just minutes into the second half, however, Juventus were back in the game. It was unfortunate for Arsenal in truth and although the goal was initially attributed to Trezeguet, the final two touches were from Arsenal players. Zambrotta broke into the box past Ashley Cole and saw his shot well saved by the excellent Stuart Taylor in the Arsenal goal. The ball rebounded to Trezeguet who fired a shot in. Sol Campbell slid in to clear the ball off the line, but his clearance hit the grounded Taylor and crossed the Arsenal line to give the visitors hope.
Hosts in control
From there, Juventus huffed and puffed but were never going to blow down Arsenal’s house. The London side looked well in control and consistently threatened the Juventus goal. It was only a matter of time before they restored their two-goal cushion. In fact, it was a surprise that it took until the 88th minute for Arsenal to score again. It was no surprise, however, that Ljungberg was the man to score it.
Arsenal make it three
Juventus will claim they were unlucky, as a ‘tackle’ on a Juventus player from the referee had started the Arsenal counterattack. However, as Arsenal broke up the field, they still had a great deal to do and substitute Dennis Bergkamp did most of it. He held the ball wonderfully on the edge of the area, turning this way and that, before nicking the ball into Swedish international Ljungberg as he hit space at speed. Ljungberg lifted the ball over Buffon to send the home crowd into raptures.
Honours even in Group D
The result, along with Bayer O4 Leverkusen’s 3-0 defeat of RC Deportivo La Coruña leaves all the teams in Group D level on three points each. It promises to offer some interesting ties when the Champions League resumes on 19 February.
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