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The BBC's Steve Wilson
"A night for Arsenal fans to say: 'I was there'"
 real 28k

Thursday, 2 March, 2000, 22:45 GMT
Gunners blow away Deportivo

The Gunners dominated the entire match
Arsenal 5-1 Deportivo La Coruna

Arsenal are on the fast-track to the Uefa Cup quarter-finals after a comprehensive demolition of 10-man Deportivo La Coruna at Highbury.

The Gunners had never beaten a Spanish side in Europe before, but they broke their hoodoo in spectacular style with goals by Lee Dixon, Kanu, Dennis Bergkamp and two for Thierry Henry.

Match facts
5 Mins: Dixon heads in the first
30 mins: Henry makes it two
55 mins: Djalminha scores from the spot
59 mins: The Brazilian is sent off
67 mins: Henry bags his second
78 mins: Kanu gets on the sheet
83 mins: Bergkamp hits the fifth
But the game was marred by five yellow cards and the sending off of Deportivo's Brazilian frontman Djalminha in the second half.

For the Gunners, Martin Keown and Gilles Grimandi will miss the away leg of the tie after receiving a second booking in the competition, although the scoreline makes their absence easier to bear.

Arsenal produced some outstanding football from the outset to put the Spanish league leaders under heavy pressure.

The visitors looked confident and composed in attack, but their man-marking in defence was woeful and the Gunners took just five minutes to punish them for it.

Henry, back from suspension, chipped the ball into the Deportivo area where Dixon, unmarked, rose to power a header into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry: Two goal hero
Freddy Ljungberg exploited defensive lapses to cause frequent problems for the Spanish side, while Mark Overmars and Bergkamp began to link up smoothly.

Keown almost made it two with a miscued header that narrowly missed the top right corner, while Flavio - clearly frustrated at his lack of chances - earned himself a booking immediately afterwards for a bad challenge.

Deportivo's first real chance came on 24 minutes, when a Djalminha free-kick was deflected off the top of Emmanuel Petit's head, forcing a quality save from David Seaman.

But Arsenal had the answer, taking just four minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Bergkamp held the ball in attack and fed a perfectly weighted pass to the scampering Overmars wide on the right.

The Dutchman put in an inch-perfect cross, which Henry simply had to tap inside the right post from a few yards out.


Here at Highbury we have always shown we can score goals and beat anybody

Arsene Wenger
Bergkamp, who will also miss the away leg of this tie due to his fear of flying, produced some individual moments of brilliance to force some similarly inspired saves from Jacques Songo'o in the Spanish goal.

The restart after the interval was calm enough, with the Gunners clearly set on consolidating their lead, but quarter-of-an-hour into the second half all hell broke loose.

Keown had already been yellow carded for a rash tackle, meaning that he will not partner Tony Adams - on the bench for this match for "administrative purposes" only - in the away leg.

Then on 54 minutes, Ljungberg was ajudged to have tripped Flavio in the area, earning Deportivo a penalty. The Swede was understandably incensed, with video-replays suggesting the striker had dived.

The referee booked the Arsenal player for dissent and Djalminha stepped up to score from the spot.

But within five minutes, the hotheaded Brazilian ensured that he would take no further part in the match.

Kanu cheek

He was booked for diving almost immediately, then became embroiled in a flare up with Gilles Grimandi, barging the striker to the ground after a tackle from behind.

Djalminha was sent off and the Frenchman received a yellow card, also excluding him from the away leg.

The Gunners responded by effectively killing the tie off on the home leg with a third goal.

Kanu replaced Overmars and was immediately fouled on the edge of the Deportivo area. Petit put in the perfect place kick, finding Henry for the easy header at the far post to make it 3-1.

With the Spanish side sleepwalking, Kanu exploited a slack back pass, following the ball in from 30 yards out and cheekily slipping the ball past the keeper after he had dived the wrong way.

Replays showed that Kanu only touched the ball once - to score.

Bergkamp sealed the win on 82 minutes with a blistering free-kick that caught a deflection off a defender and sailed into the top right of Songo'o's net.

Teams

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Luzhny, Grimandi, Silvinho, Ljungberg, Petit, Overmars, Bergkamp, Henry.
Subs: Winterburn, Adams, Suker, Manninger, Parlour, Malz, Kanu.

D Coruna: Songo'o, Pablo, Naybet, Mauro Silva, Romero, Djalminha, Conceicao, Donato, Jokanovic, Makaay, Flores.
Subs: Schurrer, Pauleta, Fran, Scaloni, Kouba, Victor. Referee: Atanas Ouzounov (Bulgaria)
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