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Arsenal hang on for top spot

Published: Tuesday 12 November 2002, 22.00CET
Arsenal FC 0-0 PSV Eindhoven Kolo Touré sent off as ten-man Arsenal hold PSV.
Published: Tuesday 12 November 2002, 22.00CET

Arsenal hang on for top spot

Arsenal FC 0-0 PSV Eindhoven Kolo Touré sent off as ten-man Arsenal hold PSV.

Ten-man Arsenal FC held off PSV Eindhoven for almost an hour at Highbury to collect the point they needed to finish top of Champions League Group A and send the Dutch side crashing out of Europe.

PSV crash out
PSV looked on course for third spot and a place in the UEFA Cup following the first-half dismissal of Arsenal's Kolo Touré, but were unable to make the advantage count and finished bottom after AJ Auxerre won 1-0 against BV Borussia Dortmund in tonight's other Group A game.

Seven changes
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger made seven changes from the side that had lost to Dortmund on Matchday Five, but his new-look team started brightly, with Thierry Henry and Robert Pires in outstanding form.

Jeffers off target
After just three minutes Henry picked out an unmarked Francis Jeffers in the area, but the striker failed to find the target with his header. Six minutes later, Jeffers was presented with an even better opportunity when played through by Pires, but the former Everton FC striker was let down by his first touch, giving PSV keeper Ronald Waterreus the time to race off his line and save his low shot.

Shaaban debut
Arsenal were camped in the PSV half for much of the opening period, but could not turn possession into chances. At the other end, Rami Shaaban, who was making his first start for Arsenal in place of the injured David Seaman, was rarely called into action.

Touré sent off
PSV's sole threat came through the pace of Dennis Rommedahl down the right and it was the winger who turned the game in favour of the Dutch side. On 29 minutes he outstripped Touré, playing out of position at left-back in place of Ashley Cole, and Touré was booked for obstruction. Six minutes later the Ivory Coast player was again beaten by the winger and sent off after pulling him down.

PSV miss out
PSV came close to making their numerical advantage count early in the second half. First on 53 minutes Mateja Kezman cut into the box and shot low only for Shaaban to save bravely with his feet, then moments later the ball broke to Arjen Robben who jinked his way past two defenders before blazing over from seven metres.

Bergkamp and Wiltord impress
Those misses brought Arsenal to life and, following the introduction of Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord, the home side took the game to PSV. On 77 minutes the pair combined to set up Wiltord with a shooting chance but the French international flashed his shot low across goal.

Pride restored
As the news came through that Auxerre had taken the lead over Dortmund, PSV were finally spurred into life, but despite a late flurry they were unable to find their way through. For Arsenal, the draw brought an end to a run of two successive Champions League defeats and left them top of Group A with pride restored.

Last updated: 13/11/02 5.24CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=0/matches/round=1636/match=1036512/postmatch/report/index.html#arsenal+hang+spot

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