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BBC Sport's Mike Ingham
"Arsenal take a slender lead to Spain"
 real 14k

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"We won the game but it should have been by three or four"
 real 14k

Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour
"It was disappointing not to keep a clean sheet"
 real 14k

banner Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Arsenal comeback thwarts Valencia
Thierry Henry, right, scored while Gaizka Mendieta set up a goal
Henry, right, scored while Mendieta set up a goal
Arsenal 2-1 Valencia

Two goals in three minutes saw Arsenal wrestle the initiative off Valencia in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Thierry Henry and Ray Parlour struck in the second-half in response to Roberto Ayala's opener prior to the interval for Valencia.

Ayala struck to give the Spanish team what could prove to be a crucial away goal after the visitors had weathered Arsenal's early threat.

Patrick Vieira heads against the Valencia crossbar
Vieira heads against the Valencia crossbar

The goal arrived as a reward for Valencia's increasing pressure on the home goal.

Winger Kily Gonzalez spread a pass wide to Spanish playmaker Gaizka Mendieta and he whipped in a cross into the home box.

Arsenal defender Lee Dixon and Valencia's Pablo Aimar challenged for the ball which was inadvertently steered into the path of Ayala.

He made sure of the finish with a well-struck close range shot into the top corner.

Patrick Vieira struck a header from Robert Pires' corner against the opposition's crossbar as Arsenal started in promising fashion.

Expose

But that was the closest they came before their challenge faded and Valencia, last year's beaten Champions League finalists, took advantage.

Arsenal looked to have an uphill struggle from there on with the Spanish outfit holding the best defensive record in the Champions League before the game.

They had determindley held the English side at bay and almost extended their lead through John Carew.

The tall striker beat the Arsenal's off-side trap when he latched onto Aimar's incisive pass.

Carew's first attempt was blocked by out-rushing goalkeeper David Seaman and from the rebound he struck his angled shot against the foot of the post.

Arsenal's most threatening moments came went they attacked down their left flank.

The Highbury team seemed set on exposing French defender Jocelyn Angloma.

That avenue proved the path to Henry's equaliser.

Ray Parlour, centre, and Robert Pires
Parlour, centre, scored with a stunning strike

Vieira found substitute Sylvain Wiltord on the left and he cut-back a cross to Kanu.

The Nigerian failed to control the ball but Pires latched onto the loose ball and played a clever back-heel which decieved the Valencia back line.

Henry turned and shot home from six yards.

With the crowd brought to life, Ray Parlour was spurred on to score a spectacular second.

He thumped in a 22-yard shot to give Arsenal the lead.

The home side maintained their pressure during the second-half and Henry will be disappointed he did not add Arsenal's third of the night.

He was put through onto the Valencia goal by Vieira.

He rounded goalkeeper Santiago Canizares but could not get his shot in because of the back-tracking Angloma's tackle.

But, Wenger's side travel to Spain in two weeks' time for the second leg with slightly the upper hand.


Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Parlour, Pires, Henry, Kanu. Subs: Manninger, Wiltord, Lauren, Silvinho, Edu, Luzhny, Vivas.

Valencia: Canizares, Angloma, Pellegrino, Ayala, Carboni, Kily Gonzalez, Mendieta, Aimar, Baraja, Carew, Sanchez. Subs: Palop, Djukic, Zahovic, Angulo, Vicente, Aurelio, Milla.

Referee: Dick Jol (Holland)

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