The official website for European football

Arsenal sweep into knockout stages

Published: Thursday 3 November 2005, 0.50CET
Arsenal FC 3-0 AC Sparta Praha
Thierry Henry's strike and a late Robin van Persie double took the English side through as Group B winners.
by Timothy Collings
from Highbury

Match statistics

ArsenalSparta Praha

Goals scored3
 
0
Attempts on target17
 
2
Attempts off target5
 
10
Corners11
 
4
Offsides1
 
4
Fouls committed4
 
18
Yellow cards0
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

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

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Thursday 3 November 2005, 0.50CET

Arsenal sweep into knockout stages

Arsenal FC 3-0 AC Sparta Praha
Thierry Henry's strike and a late Robin van Persie double took the English side through as Group B winners.

Arsenal FC secured their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a fourth successive Group B victory, Thierry Henry's goal and a late double from his second-half substitute Robin van Persie proving sufficient to defeat AC Sparta Praha.

Fine finishes
Henry, who played with great verve and invention for 66 minutes before being replaced, struck after 23 minutes with a swerving shot from just outside the penalty area. Arsène Wenger's side were always in command but did not wrap up the points - and their place in the last 16 - until eight minutes from time when Van Persie curled in a fine second, before adding gloss to the win with a third four minutes from time.

Slick surface
After several hours of steady rain, the surface at Highbury was invitingly fast and slippery. Arsenal, seeking victory to seal their progress, enjoyed all the early possession with Henry, recalled after missing last Saturday's English Premiership draw at Tottenham Hotspur FC, prominent with his running and energy.

Arsenal on top
Despite their dominance, however, Arsenal did not create a clear opening until the 15th minute when, after a slick combination between Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pirès crossed low from the right and the Dutchman guided a stabbed left-foot volley against the bar. Arsenal then began to flow forward freely, but Sparta showed their threat on the break when Lukáš Zelenka forced Manuel Almunia - playing in place of Jens Lehmann who was a late withdrawal with a back problem - to make a sprawling save.

Curling opener
The hosts continued to press and took the lead in the 23rd minute. A passing move involving several players swept from right to left, with José Antonio Reyes back-heeling into the path of Henry, who curled a beautiful 20-metre shot low beyond Jaromír Blažek and inside the left-hand post. The goal made Sparta open up and move forward; having played almost entirely in their own half until Henry's strike, they began to push their midfielders into more advanced positions and in one attack Martin Hašek fired in a solid shot from the edge of the area that Almunia could only parry.

Henry excellence
As play became more stretched, Arsenal sought to exploit the extra room on the counterattack. Bergkamp ran from his own half for 40 metres before releasing Reyes for a left-foot effort that was pushed away by the diving Sparta goalkeeper. The effervescent Henry was providing the perfect reminder of what the Highbury faithful missed during his recent absence, drawing another diving stop from Blažek with a free-kick as the second half unfolded. The Frenchman added incisiveness to Arsenal's midfield domination; Pirès and Reyes provided thrust on the flanks and in the centre Bergkamp offered guile, but only Henry had the pace and skill to cause real danger.

Van Persie salvo
Henry was finally withdrawn after 66 minutes, but Van Persie quickly announced his arrival with a well-taken set-piece that Blažek turned away. Arsenal survived an almighty scare moments later as Adam Petrouš beat Almunia to a cross, only to watch his header drop on to the roof of the net, but the points were finally guaranteed in the 82nd minute as Van Persie collected a beautiful Bergkamp pass and bent in a shot from the edge of the box. Four minutes later another substitute, Emmanuel Eboué, created the chance for the youngster to sweep in a crowning third.

Last updated: 03/11/05 10.56CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2201/match=1100301/postmatch/report/index.html#arsenal+sweep+into+knockout+stages

Lineups

arsenal

Arsenal

sparta praha

Sparta Praha

24
AlmuniaManuel Almunia (GK)
29
BlažekJaromír Blažek (GK)
7
PirèsRobert Pirès
Substitution73
2
HašekMartin Hašek
9
ReyesJosé Antonio Reyes
Substitution83
4
PerglPavel Pergl
10
BergkampDennis Bergkamp
7
ZelenkaLukáš Zelenka
12
LaurenLauren
11
PetroušAdam Petrouš
Substitution80
14
HenryThierry Henry (C)
Goal23
Substitution66
15
LukášPetr Lukáš
16
FlaminiMathieu Flamini
19
M. PetrášMartin Petráš (C)
Yellow Card74
19
Gilberto SilvaGilberto Silva
20
PospěchZdeněk Pospěch
22
ClichyGaël Clichy
21
PoláčekTomáš Poláček
Substitution59
23
CampbellSol Campbell
23
KadlecMichal Kadlec
28
K. TouréKolo Touré
28
MatušovičMiroslav Matušovič

Substitutes

21
PoomMart Poom (GK)
31
GrigarTomáš Grigar (GK)
11
Van PersieRobin van Persie
Substitution66
Goal82
Goal86
9
DošekLibor Došek
15
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas
Substitution73
10
SlepičkaMiroslav Slepička
Substitution59
17
SongAlex Song
12
HerzánOndřej Herzán
18
CyganPascal Cygan
14
LoučkaLuboš Loučka
20
SenderosPhilippe Senderos
26
JeslínekJiří Jeslínek
Substitution80
27
EbouéEmmanuel Eboué
Substitution83

Coach

Arsène Wenger (FRA) Stanislav Griga (SVK)

Referee

Alain Sars (FRA)

Assistant referees

Frédéric Arnault (FRA), Vincent Texier (FRA)

Fourth official

Tony Chapron (FRA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.