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Gallas late show saves Arsenal in Kiev

Published: Thursday 18 September 2008, 0.37CET
FC Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 Arsenal FC
William Gallas equalised with two minutes left to earn Arsenal a point and extend Dynamo's winless run in the UEFA Champions League to 14 games.
by Paul Saffer
Gallas late show saves Arsenal in Kiev
William Gallas celebrates his late strike ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 18 September 2008, 0.37CET

Gallas late show saves Arsenal in Kiev

FC Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 Arsenal FC
William Gallas equalised with two minutes left to earn Arsenal a point and extend Dynamo's winless run in the UEFA Champions League to 14 games.

William Gallas equalised with two minutes left to give Arsenal FC a first UEFA Champions League point in four trips to Ukraine and extend FC Dynamo Kyiv's run without a group-stage win to 14 matches.

Parity
Dynamo lost all six of their group games last season and managed only two draws the year before, but they looked like ending that frustration when Ismaël Bangoura converted a 64th-minute penalty. However, Arsenal kept plugging away and Gallas found a way through with time running out to ensure a share of the Group G spoils.

Adebayor close
Arsenal may have lost on their three previous visits here, including two to Dynamo, but they began the Matchday 1 encounter with confidence. In the third minute Theo Walcott played through Robin van Persie, back from an ankle problem, yet goalkeeper Stanislav Bogush blocked his angled shot. Dynamo, by contrast, were having plenty of possession without creating chances. Instead, they inadvertently carved out an opening for the visitors when Emmanuel Adebayor pounced on an ill-judged Roman Eremenko pass, advanced into the box, but with only Bogush to beat, chipped over.

Bangoura effort
The majority of the play continued to unfold in the Arsenal half, if not in their penalty area. Bangoura, the lone striker in home coach Yuri Semin's 4-2-3-1 formation because of Artem Milevskiy's ankle injury, carried a threat when he shot wide from distance on the half-hour. Otherwise, the Gunners' back line were able to soak up whatever pressure Dynamo could put on them. For their part, Arsenal showed their ability to move forward at pace when Alexandre Song and Bacary Sagna combined on the right to feed Van Persie, whose strike hit the side-netting. A link-up between Walcott and Song then resulted in Cesc Fàbregas driving straight at Bogush, continuing to justify his selection over the more experienced Olexandr Shovkovskiy.

Off the woodwork
Last season's Ukrainian Premier League runners-up kept their heads up and, four minutes into the second period, they rattled Arsène Wenger's men – and the frame of Manuel Almunia's goal. Bangoura found Eremenko on the edge of the box and the midfielder, who is on loan from Udinese Calcio, jinked in and shot against the upright, with Almunia gratefully pouncing on the rebound. Bogush was also working hard, however, punching a Van Persie cross off the head of Adebayor and stopping a deflected long-range attempt from Fàbregas.

Breakthrough
But what moves Dynamo were putting together were starting to bite, and when a cross came in from the right towards the 64-minute mark, Sagna wrestled Ognjen Vukojević to the ground to concede a spot-kick. Up stepped Bangoura to roll his penalty calmly past the wrong-footed Almunia. With the English club stung into action, Nicklas Bendtner replaced Song as Arsenal went on the attack, yet it was the Gunners goal that was in danger again as Bangoura let fly a swerving shot and then ruffled the side-netting.

Equaliser
As full time approached, though, so the nerves set in for Dynamo. Bendtner hinted at an equaliser when his header from Van Persie's centre was well saved by Bogush. And when a Dynamo counterattack broke down deep in Arsenal territory, the hosts were made to pay the price of two dropped points. Wenger's men drove down-field and when Walcott eventually sent a low ball across the face of goal, visiting captain Gallas – a defender – was in the right place to apply the finishing touch. The Kiev side will continue their bid for a first UEFA Champions League victory since November 2004 at Fenerbahçe SK on 30 September, when Arsenal welcome FC Porto.

Last updated: 18/09/08 3.32CET

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