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Wednesday, September 29, 1999 Published at 20:42 GMT


Gunners late yet again

Kanu eventually got the better of Frank de Boer and his Barca team-mates

Barcelona 1-1 Arsenal

Arsenal's knack of scoring late goals saved them yet again despite the London side having just gone down to ten men in the Nou Camp.


The BBC's Ian Brown: "The Arsenal comeback owed much to the Barcelona reticence"
Gilles Grimandi had barely left the pitch after his red card for elbowing Josep Guardiola when Kanu struck in the 81st minute.

It was the fourth time in successive matches that a late strike has earned Arsenal reward for their efforts.

The previous three - against Southampton, AIK Solna and Watford had all ensured wins, but this result will feel as good as a victory considering the cricumstances.


[ image: Winterburn is suitably unimpressed by the defending of Viera and Manninger]
Winterburn is suitably unimpressed by the defending of Viera and Manninger
Luis Enrique had put the home side ahead after a defensive nightmare in which keeper Alex Manninger and Patrick Vieira made crucial mistakes.

The visitors started well with Marc Overmars forcing fellow Dutchman Frank de Boer to scythe him down and earn a yellow card.

But Arsenal also defended poorly in the early stages, with no less than three free headers being wasted by Barca before the goal in the 16th minute.

Not for the first time, Manninger spilt a shot, but Vieira still had time to clear the ball away for a corner.

Instead the Frenchman tried to juggle and control, only for Luis Enrique to steal in and walk the ball into the net.

Dennis Bergkamp showed his frustration with a petulant hack at Rivaldo, for which he was given a yellow card, one of seven on the night along with Grimandi's red.

The home side dominated the first half with Rivaldo giving Dixon and Ray Parlour a difficult night.

One extravagant flick deflected into Manninger's arms and a shot from the Brazilian might have taken the Austrian into the goal had it not flown just over.

The fightback begins

Arsenal improved enormously after the break, making life uncomfortable for the home side with a series of testing corners.

Bergkamp almost set up Kanu on the hour, and the Nigerian had a shot saved 10 minutes late after Vieira's accurate ball behind Frank de Boer.

But it took the arrival of new striking talent to bring the equaliser.

A week before, Arsene Wenger had put four forwards on the pitch in search of a Wembley winner.

Here he stuck to three, with Bergkamp withdrawn after a long overland drive for 73 minutes of football.

Suker's crucial role

Former Real Madrid star Davor Suker was booed and booked before his 81st-minute shot proved too hot for Ruud Hesp to handle in the home side's goal.

Kanu had laid the ball off to the Croatian, and ran towards goal to slot home the rebound first time.

Had Arsenal had 11 on the pitch they might have gone for an unlikely win, but when they scored Grimandi had already been dismissed for a foolish elbow on Guardiola as the pair lay on the ground.

Wenger's men appeared happy to hang on for the point, and the home side failed to show the potency required to get a late winner themselves.

The result, and Fiorentina's 0-0 draw with AIK Solna in Sweden, leaves Barca two points ahead of second-placed Arsenal at the halfway stage of Group B.

Barcelona: Hesp, Reiziger, F. De Boer, Sergi, Bogarde, Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Figo, Rivaldo, Dani, Cocu. Subs: Arnau, Abelardo, R. De Boer, Kluivert, Litmanen, Xavi.

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

Referee: M Merk (Germany)



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