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Henry back with a bang

Published: Wednesday 19 October 2005, 0.57CET
AC Sparta Praha 0-2 Arsenal FC
Captain Thierry Henry made an inspirational return for the visitors, scoring twice in a third Group B win.
by Sam Beckwith
from Sparta stadium

Match statistics

Sparta PrahaArsenal

Goals scored0
2
Attempts on target5
 
5
Attempts off target8
 
3
Corners8
 
3
Offsides6
 
3
Fouls committed15
 
12
Yellow cards1
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 19 October 2005, 0.57CET

Henry back with a bang

AC Sparta Praha 0-2 Arsenal FC
Captain Thierry Henry made an inspirational return for the visitors, scoring twice in a third Group B win.

Thierry Henry made a spectacular return from injury to score both goals as Arsenal FC recorded a third successive victory in UEFA Champions League Group B, defeating AC Sparta Praha 2-0 in Prague.

Spectacular return
The French international had not played since hitting France's winner in the FIFA World Cup Group 4 qualifier in the Republic of Ireland on 7 September, suffering a groin problem in the same game. He made an early comeback here as a 15th-minute substitute, however, and struck a spectacular opener within six minutes of his arrival before adding a second in the closing stages - making him Arsenal's record scorer with 186 goals in all competitions - to leave the Londoners with a five-point lead in the section, and Sparta ruing missed opportunities.

Three changes
Sparta coach Stanislav Griga made two changes to the team that beat FK Chmel Blšany 5-2 at the weekend, bringing in a defender and a forward in Pavel Pergl and Miroslav Slepička. For their part, Arsenal FC made three alterations having lost 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion FC on Saturday, with Philippe Senderos, Fredrik Ljungberg and Dennis Bergkamp making way for Pascal Cygan, Gilberto - who also took over as captain - and Robin van Persie.

Early introduction
Despite sections of Sparta's stadium being closed as a punishment for racist chanting during the Matchday 1 game against AFC Ajax, both sets of fans were in good voice. Within ten minutes, Zdeněk Pospěch had gone close for the home side, connecting with a cross in the area but failing to get any power in his shot. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger had surprisingly included Henry on the bench, announcing his intention to introduce the striker for the final half-hour. In the event, José Antonio Reyes was forced off on the quarter-hour after two heavy tackles, allowing Henry to come on to the delight of Arsenal's travelling support.

Quick reminder
His pace and vision soon began to unsettle the home defence, and he quickly reminded everyone of his undoubted class, deftly controlling a long pass from Kolo Touré, turning and curving the ball beyond Sparta goalkeeper Jaromír Blažek from the edge of the area with the outside of his right foot.

Sparta threat
The visitors then started to drop deeper, but despite some well-organised Arsenal defending, Sparta's pressure occasionally looked like paying off. Pospěch connected with another left-wing cross but failed to find the target. Slepička tested Jens Lehmann - returning from a two-match suspension - with a clever back-flick from Lukáš Zelenka's corner, but the Arsenal No1 dealt easily with the threat.

Counterattack chance
Sparta continued to push for an equaliser as the second period kicked off, Slovakian international Karol Kisel forcing Lehmann to tip a long-range effort over the crossbar. As the half unfolded, though, Griga's men were increasingly frustrated while remaining vulnerable on the break thanks to the pace and stealth of Henry. Arsenal's occasional forays into opposition territory carried an air of genuine menace, Henry's incisive ball into the Sparta area setting up Cesc Fabregas for a shot Blažek did well to block.

Clinical second
Attempting to reinvigorate his attack, Griga withdrew defender Pergl in favour of the more attack-minded Miroslav Matušovič. Almost immediately, though, Henry effectively settled the contest, latching on to a sweeping Robert Pirès pass and shooting nervelessly past Blažek. Wenger will be delighted his gamble was so handsomely rewarded, while Sparta remain bottom of the table.

Last updated: 19/10/05 10.16CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2201/match=1100285/postmatch/report/index.html#henry+back+with+bang

Lineups

sparta praha

Sparta Praha

arsenal

Arsenal

29
BlažekJaromír Blažek (GK)
1
LehmannJens Lehmann (GK)
4
PerglPavel Pergl
Substitution70
7
PirèsRobert Pirès
7
ZelenkaLukáš Zelenka
9
ReyesJosé Antonio Reyes
Substitution15
10
SlepičkaMiroslav Slepička
Substitution77
11
Van PersieRobin van Persie
Yellow Card45
Substitution73
11
PetroušAdam Petrouš
12
LaurenLauren
15
LukášPetr Lukáš
Yellow Card25
15
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas
Substitution89
18
KiselKarol Kisel
16
FlaminiMathieu Flamini
19
M. PetrášMartin Petráš (C)
18
CyganPascal Cygan
20
PospěchZdeněk Pospěch
19
Gilberto SilvaGilberto Silva (C)
21
PoláčekTomáš Poláček
22
ClichyGaël Clichy
Yellow Card58
23
KadlecMichal Kadlec
28
K. TouréKolo Touré

Substitutes

30
BičíkDavid Bičík (GK)
24
AlmuniaManuel Almunia (GK)
2
HašekMartin Hašek
14
HenryThierry Henry
Substitution15
Goal21
Goal74
9
DošekLibor Došek
Substitution77
17
SongAlex Song
12
HerzánOndřej Herzán
20
SenderosPhilippe Senderos
14
LoučkaLuboš Loučka
26
Owusu-AbeyieQuincy Owusu-Abeyie
Substitution89
26
JeslínekJiří Jeslínek
27
EbouéEmmanuel Eboué
Substitution73
28
MatušovičMiroslav Matušovič
Substitution70
29
S. LarssonSebastian Larsson

Coach

Stanislav Griga (SVK) Arsène Wenger (FRA)

Referee

Wolfgang Stark (GER)

Assistant referees

Markus Scheibel (GER), Thorsten Schiffner (GER)

Fourth official

Thorsten Kinhöfer (GER)

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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