BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport: Football
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Wenger anger over shoot-out

The match was fiercely contested
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has criticised the penalty shoot-out that saw Galatasaray win the Uefa Cup.

Spanish referee Antonio Lopez Nieto decided the penalties should be taken in front of the massed ranks of Galatasaray's volatile Turkish fans.

We improved in the second half but really we could not find our true game today

Arsene Wenger

Wenger was told by Uefa officials that the toss to decide ends for extra-time would also count for where the penalties were taken.

But he said: "I can't agree with that. The referee may be saying that now but I don't believe it and I think it was unfair."

Arsenal captain Tony Adams was seen in heated discussion with referee Nieto when the Spaniard indicated the goalmouth into which the penalties would be taken.

Wenger said: "Nobody has seen this toss of the coin which is supposed to have happened. The referee just told Tony Adams that it was what he had decided."

But Wenger admitted that Arsenal under-achieved, failing to break down a Galatasaray side that had Gheorghe Hagi sent off four minutes into extra-time.

"It was not a huge advantage for us to have Hagi sent off," said Wenger. "Sometimes you defend better with 10 men because everybody is focused.

'Could not take advantage'

"We could not take advantage because at that stage we had tired legs and could not afford to go on all-out attack for fear that we could concede a golden goal and the match would be over.

"I had already taken Dennis Bergkamp off before the end of normal time and with Marc Overmars suffering from tight hamstrings we did not have enough offensive players.

"I put Suker on because I hoped he would get into the box for a chance and also knew he was a penalty-taker."

'Difficult to take'

But after only Ray Parlour hit the net for Arsenal in the shoot-out, Wenger conceded: "We had a not very good first half and in the end lost to a good Galatasaray side.

"We improved in the second half but really we could not find our true game today. It is very disappointing because this is the third cup we have missed this season through penalty shoot-outs.

"We lost in the FA Cup and the Worthington Cup in that way, too, and it is very difficult to take."

Arsenal fan Robin Green, a 57-year-old engineer from Rugby, Warwickshire, said: "It was one of those nights when we had them there for the taking, but we just didn't put it together. It is disappointing but that's all."

In Turkey, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the country, honking horns and waving red and yellow Galatasaray banners.

"I can not define my feelings by words" said Fatih Koylu, after the side made history by winning Turkey's first European football trophy. "I'll tell to my son about this night and he will tell his children. I still can't believe it."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Football Contents

See also:

17 May 00 | Football
Penalty heartbreak for Arsenal
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites