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Arsenal conquer Spanish jinx

Published: Wednesday 25 February 2004, 0.20CET
RC Celta de Vigo 2-3 Arsenal FC Robert Pires gives Arsenal their first win in seven attempts in Spain.

Match statistics

CeltaArsenal

Goals scored2
 
3
Attempts on target7
 
7
Attempts off target1
 
2
Corners5
 
3
Offsides8
 
4
Fouls committed19
 
22
Yellow cards1
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 25 February 2004, 0.20CET

Arsenal conquer Spanish jinx

RC Celta de Vigo 2-3 Arsenal FC Robert Pires gives Arsenal their first win in seven attempts in Spain.

By Graham Hunter at the Balaídos

Arsenal moved within touching distance of place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final with an inspirational 3-2 win in Spain against RC Celta de Vigo, their first success in seven attempts on Spanish soil.

Pires pounces
With the game seemingly heading for a draw, Arsenal's Robert Pires exchanged passes with Thierry Henry on the edge of the Celta penalty area and slid the ball beyond goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero to give the London side the edge. With three away goals, the Premiership leaders will be confident of progressing in the second leg on 10 March.

Defenders under pressure
Radomir Antic's tactics were clear from the kick-off, as Celta looked to stretch Arsenal's back four. With Peter Luccin winning good central midfield possession, pass after pass was threaded wide to Edu on the left and Ángel López on the right. Initially Arsenal's full-backs, Lauren and Gael Clichy - the latter making his Champions League debut - were stretched. However, Arsène Wenger's side resisted stoutly and waited patiently for the storm to abate.

First chance
In fact the English team created the game's first good opportunity when instinctive link-up play between Thierry Henry and new signing José Antonio Reyes left the Spanish striker with a clear sight of goal. Pablo Cavallero saved easily from Reyes' weak effort but moments later he was retrieving the ball from the net.

Arsenal break
Celta had just created their first chance, with a combination of two fine tackles from Clichy and Sol Campbell preventing Savo Milosevic from getting a shot in from ten metres out, when Arsenal broke upfield and scored. José Ignacio Sáenz, scorer of Celta's winning goal in Milan in the group stage, conceded a needless free-kick on the right touchline.

Second attempt
Robert Pires flighted it on to the head of Arsenal's Edu who took the rebound from his first effort and poked it past Cavallero. In doing so his knee slid on and connected with the goalkeeper's face, leaving Cavallero needing five minutes of treatment before he was able to continue.

Powerful header
Just as Arsenal looked like taking control of the game, they were pegged back nine minutes later. Patrick Vieira brought down José Ignacio and from Silvinho's expertly flighted free-kick Celta's Edu leapt gracefully and powered a terrific header beyond Jens Lehmann.

Blushes spared
The German goalkeeper saved Arsenal from going a goal down eight minutes before the break. His own clearance was weak, José Ignacio fed Edu's run and after the Spanish midfield player cut across two defenders it took an excellent full-length dive from Lehmann to keep the scores level.

Much Edu
Celta began the second half in positive fashion, with Edu regularly beating Clichy down the left, and from one of his crosses Aleksandr Mostovoi's header rebounded off the crossbar with Lehmann beaten. It took a perfectly judged tackle from Campbell to prevent the Russian from scoring the rebound.

Spectacular strike
At the other end, Arsenal should have taken the lead when Henry and Reyes combined for the Spaniard's shot to be spilled by Cavallero, only for Henry to slice the follow-up wide. Yet the visitors seized control of the tie with their second away goal when Edu danced round two tackles, changed his stance elegantly and bent a wonderful right foot shot past Cavallero and into the top corner.

Instant response
However, Celta fought back immediately when Sergio Fernández's downward header from a corner fell neatly to José Ignacio who controlled and instinctively stabbed the ball past Lehmann for 2-2. Arsenal would doubtless have been satisfied with that, but Pires's late effort put them firmly in control of the tie.

Last updated: 25/02/04 12.14CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2003/matches/round=1713/match=1059558/postmatch/report/index.html#arsenal+conquer+spanish+jinx

Lineups

celta

Celta

arsenal

Arsenal

1
CavalleroPablo Cavallero (GK)
1
LehmannJens Lehmann (GK)
2
VelascoJuan Velasco
4
VieiraPatrick Vieira (C)
3
SylvinhoSylvinho
Yellow Card45
7
PirèsRobert Pirès
Goal80
6
BerizzoEduardo Berizzo
8
LjungbergFredrik Ljungberg
Substitution89
8
Ángel LópezÁngel López
Substitution64
9
ReyesJosé Antonio Reyes
Substitution78
9
MiloševićSavo Milošević
12
LaurenLauren
10
MostovoiAleksandr Mostovoi (C)
14
HenryThierry Henry
Yellow Card88
16
José IgnacioSáenz José Ignacio
Goal64
17
EduEdu
Goal18
Goal58
Yellow Card87
19
EduEdu
Goal27
Substitution75
22
ClichyGaël Clichy
Substitution89
22
LuccinPeter Luccin
23
CampbellSol Campbell
23
Sergio FernándezSergio Fernández
28
K. TouréKolo Touré

Substitutes

13
PintoJosé Manuel Pinto (GK)
33
StackGraham Stack (GK)
4
CáceresFernando Cáceres
5
KeownMartin Keown
7
VagnerVagner
Substitution64
18
CyganPascal Cygan
Substitution89
15
ContrerasPablo Contreras
25
KanuNwankwo Kanu
Substitution78
17
MéndezSebastián Méndez
37
BentleyDavid Bentley
Substitution89
18
PinillaMauricio Pinilla
Substitution75
45
HoyteJustin Hoyte
21
JandroJandro
57
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas

Coach

Radomir Antić (SRB) Arsène Wenger (FRA)

Referee

Anders Frisk (SWE)

Assistant referees

Kenneth Petersson (SWE), Peter Ekström (SWE)

Fourth official

Jonas Eriksson (SWE)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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