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banner Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Henry sees off Greeks
Thierry Henry scores from the penalty spot
Henry scores Arsenal's crucial second goal from the spot
Arsenal 2-1 Panathinaikos

Thierry Henry led Arsenal to a vital victory in the Champions League on Tuesday, beating Greek side Panathinaikos in a closely-fought, end-to-end encounter at Highbury.

The French international scored both goals - one of them a penalty immediately after Arsenal had lost their lead - to secure an exciting game.

The win revives Arsenal's hopes of qualifying for the second group stages, by doubling their points total in Group C to six.

Arsenal are now third, three points behind Panathinaikos and level on points with Real Mallorca after the Spanish side lost to Schalke 04.

Patrick Vieira rides a Panathinaikos challenge
Vieira laid on the pass for Henry's first goal

Arsenal had to weather some edgy moments in the second half as Panathinaikos looked for the equaliser that would have secured their progression.

There was plenty of evidence of the ill-feeling that had overtaken the two sides at the end of Arsenal's defeat in Greece last month.

Henry had accused the Greek side of diving, and neither team had forgotten - there were a number of angry, eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations after crunching tackles.

Several players were booked, including Patrick Vieira and Paulo Sousa, who spent the game battling hard for midfield supremacy.

Arsenal started brightly, with Panathinaikos looking dangerous on the break, but it was Arsenal who made the crucial breakthrough after 23 minutes.

Vieira won the ball in midfield and played a quick, perfect pass forward to Henry, who had no trouble beating Panathinaikos goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis.

Close call for Campbell

It looked as if Arsenal had thrown away their hard-won advantage five minutes later when Matthew Upson brought down Emmanuel Olisadebe in the penalty area.

But Richard Wright, replacing the injured David Seaman, kept out Angelos Basinas' well-taken penalty with a diving save to his right.

Arsenal could have gone two up after 36 minutes, when the ball broke to Sol Campbell from a corner, but the England defender blasted inches wide from 12 yards.

Campbell had reason to rue that miss terribly within five minutes of the start of the second half when he failed to clear a cross and the ball fell to Olisadebe.

The Nigerian-born Pole beat Lauren on the right-hand side of the Arsenal penalty area and slotted into the back of the net past a diving challenge from Campbell.

But Arsenal re-established their advantage straight from the re-start.

Sylvain Wiltord won a penalty when he was caught in a sandwich between Sousa and Kyrgiakos. Henry calmly converted.


Arsenal: Wright, Lauren, Campbell, Upson, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Van Bronckhorst, Pires, Wiltord, Henry. Subs: Taylor, Keown, Bergkamp, Parlour, Grimandi, Luzhny, Kanu.

Panathinaikos: Nikopolidis, Henriksen, Vokolos, Kyrgiakos, Fissas, Michaelsen, Karagounis, Basinas, Sousa, Olisadebe, Konstantinou. Subs: Kotsolis, Seitaridis, Vlaovic, Boateng, Kolkka, Saric, Liberopoulos.

Referee: U Meier (Switzerland).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's John Murray
"It was a pulsating Champions' League night at Highbury"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We never gave in and did very well"
Links to more Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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