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Saturday, March 6, 1999 Published at 19:04 GMT


Kanu's cup delight

Nwankwo Kanu scores the vital goal

Arsenal 1-0 Derby County

Nwankwo Kanu put behind him the controversy of the FA Cup match that never was to score a late winner as the holders went through at Highbury.


BBC Radio 5 Live's John Murary reports from Highbury
It was harsh on a determined Derby side, whose tactical plan to restrict Arsenal's attacking options almost worked to perfection.

But it was also a dramatic turn of fortunes for Kanu, criticised for setting up Marc Overmars' "unsporting" goal against Sheffield United in the previous round, which led to an unprecedented replay.


[ image: Anelka finding it tough to break free]
Anelka finding it tough to break free
There was no question about his 89th minute goal in a fiercely fought quarter-final, despite Dean Sturridge's subsequent second booking and dismissal for dissent.

Before Kanu struck, the star of the show was Derby's Irish international Lee Carsley, who man-marked Dennis Bergkamp like the proverbial limpet.

Arsenal were missing the French engine room of their midfield while Derby had to do without defenders Tony Dorigo and Horacio Carbonari.

Carsley's intentions were clear early on when a tackle on Bergkamp left the Dutchman sprawled on the pitch, but the Irish international had got the ball.

Darryl Powell then had a shot deflected just wide and Deon Burton made a mess of a clear opportunity before Ljungberg wasted good posession at the other end.


[ image: Hard work for Marc Overmars against Jacob Laursen]
Hard work for Marc Overmars against Jacob Laursen
Martin Keown extricated himself from a rare misunderstanding with David Seaman before the home side finally threatened after 32 minutes.

Ray Parlour's long-range effort went just wide, as did a Stephen Hughes free-kick a minute later.

Bergkamp then almost broke free on two occasions, but with Carsley never far away he was unable to get a clear sight of goal.

Half-time arrived to a chorus of boos around Highbury - music to the ears of Derby boss Jim Smith, whose side might have had the interval lead.

Wenger's response was to introduce Nelson Vivas, the Argentinian replacing Hughes in midfield.

Overmars, who had scored in every round of the cup before this match, then began to threaten with a series of direct runs.

One almost resulted in the home side taking the lead after Seaman found him with a throw to the halfway line.


[ image: Kanu: Proved a threat after his introduction]
Kanu: Proved a threat after his introduction
The winger twisted and turned through the Derby half before curling a shot just past Hoult's left-hand post.

It was a clear that with Bergkamp shackled, the other Dutchman could be the focus of the Arsenal attack if necessary.

The holders began to assert themselves, but Paulo Wanchope still brought a full-stretch save out of Seaman, although the referee refused to give the England keeper credit and signalled a goal-kick.

Bergkamp then created a chance for himself, as for once he turned Carsley and got a shot in from the edge of the area.

The effort went just over but proved to Carsley that his concentration would have to be maintained if his day's work was to be totally successful.

And two minutes later, to prove the point, Bergkamp created a clear chance for Anelka, whose free header went straight at Hoult.

Kanu comes on

Wenger then introduced Kanu for Ljungberg and the Nigerian almost capitalised on a lofted through ball from Anelka.

Derby were holding on for all they were worth against a rising tide of pressure and had an amazing escape in the 74th minute.

Bergkamp held off Carsley long enough to slip the ball to Anelka whose stabbed shot from 12 yards came back off the foot of the post.


[ image: Lee Dixon celebrates the winner]
Lee Dixon celebrates the winner
Derby, drawn away in every round this year, looked capable of forcing a Pride Park replay, although Jim Smith was an agitated figure on the bench.

He was right to be worried, as Kanu struck to ruin the best laid plans of the veteran manager, the last English boss left in the FA Cup.

Keown's shot from a corner was charged down among a forest of arms and legs in the six-yard box.

The ball fell conveniently for the Nigerian to put his name into the cup records for the right reasons.

Derby appealed in vain for an offside decision, protests which led to Sturridge's dismissal for a second bookable offence.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn, Parlour, Ljungberg, Hughes, Overmars, Bergkamp, Anelka. Subs: Vivas, Manninger, Upson, Kanu, Diawara.

Derby: Hoult, Laursen, Stimac, Prior, Schnoor, Powell, Carsley, Burton, Eranio, Wanchope, Sturridge. Subs: Harper, Poom, Kozluk, Hunt, Baiano.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)



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