Juventus FC 1-0 Arsenal FC
A low-key night in the Delle Alpi stadium saw Arsenal FC eliminated along with Juventus FC from the UEFA Champions League, despite the Italian side winning 1-0 through a second-half Marcelo Zalayeta strike.
The night had started with Juventus already out of the competition and the Italian club fielded a noticeably under-strength side. The visiting side, however, had a chance to go through depending on the result of the game between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and RC Deportivo La Coruña in the Riazor stadium in Spain. The most important thing for Arsenal was that they at least drew this game in Turin. However, that they lost it was only a contributory factor to their demise. Indeed it was possible, had Leverkusen lost in Spain, that Arsenal could also have been defeated and gone through.
So it was surprising that Arsenal started the game in the lacklustre fashion that they did. The famous arena in Turin was more than half empty and for the first half-hour both sides played as if it were an exhibition match. For all that, Arsenal probably had the better of the first-half, but they would later rue a wonderful chance missed by Thierry Henry and an excellent save from young goalkeeper Fabian Carini to deny Fredrik Ljungberg.
Carini on form
But as the game went into first-half injury-time, the sense emerged that it might be Carini's night after he was dispossessed by Henry in his own three-metre box but somehow retrieved the ball, before the French international had fully realised what had happened, to avert the danger.
Arsenal more purposeful
Arsenal came out in the second-half with a little more purpose about their play and in the 51st minute, Henry won a corner after Cristian Zenoni had hauled him down. The Frenchman put the ball down on the spot, despite his miss in the previous game against Deportivo at Highbury stadium. He struck the ball to the right of Carini, but the young Juventus keeper guessed right and palmed the ball onto the post.
Deportivo hit back
Arsenal continued to create chances as news came in from Spain that Deportivo had recovered from 2-0 down to 2-1. But just as things were looking up for Arsenal, Juventus dealt them a mortal blow. From a corner on the Arsenal left, Zalayeta rose high above the visitors' defence to head into the top-right corner of Arsenal's goal.
Back to the drawing board
Arsenal huffed and puffed but they were still toothless at the back while Carini was peerless. As the final whistle blew, the 2,600 fans who had travelled from London were already heading for the airport and all 22 players could not get off the pitch fast enough.
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