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  Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 21:39 GMT
Deportivo out-gun Arsenal
Deportivo's Juan Carlos Valeron
Deportivo scorer Valeron goes around Patrick Vieira
Arsenal 0-2 Deportivo La Coruna
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Deportivo La Coruna qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a convincing 2-0 victory over Arsenal at Highbury.

First-half goals from Juan Carlos Valeron and Nourredine Naybet brought the Gunners to their knees after a sublime first 45 minutes from the Spaniards.

After the interval Arsenal had chances, but Thierry Henry had a weak penalty easily saved after substitute Freddie Ljungberg was brought down by Deportivo stopper Jose Molina.

  Key moments
5 mins: Pires shot is pushed away
30 mins: Valeron puts Deportivo ahead
40 mins: Naybet doubles Deportivo's lead
62 mins: Tristan free-kick hits bar
65 mins: Henry penalty miss

The Spanish goalkeeper probably should not have been on the pitch at the time, but Arsenal and boss Arsene Wenger could have no complaints.

As a result, the Gunners lost their three-month home unbeaten record and their European unbeaten run at Highbury during Wenger's tenure.

That said, the home side started the game brightly.


We are in a situation that we can lose the game next week and go through or win it and go out
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
The Deportivo defence was scythed open in the fifth minute and Sylvain Wiltord smuggled the ball to Henry.

Robert Pires was overlapping his French compatriot and Jose Molina superbly pushed his well-directed left-foot shot around the post.

Moments later Deportivo's Fran stung David Seaman's fingertips with a rasping drive.

After Dennis Bergkamp had clicked the bar and Deportivo had two penalty appeals rejected the Spanish side forged ahead on the half-hour mark.

Fran found space on the left after a Wiltord mistake and fed Enrique Romero accelerating past the Arsenal defence.

Romero expertly picked out Valeron who simply side-footed past Seaman from six yards.

Seven minutes later the goalscorer had an excellent chance to double his and Deportivo's lead.

However, this time he struck the ball straight at the Arsenal keeper who batted the ball away from goal.

In the 40th minute the Spaniards did put two goals between the sides after some intricate passing football had carved the Arsenal defence open.
Deportivo's Naybet and Mauro Silva
Naybet and Mauro Silva celebrate Depor's second

Deportivo superbly exchanged passes on the edge of the Gunners box before the ball fell at the feet of the unmarked Naybet.

The Moroccan's deflected shot looped over Seaman and in, to leave Arsenal with a mountain to climb.

Twelve minutes after the break Arsenal were kept in the game once more by England goalkeeper Seaman.

The veteran was out smartly to block Victor's goalbound effort and his defence finally cleared the danger.


Of course, I think Arsenal can win in Turin
Deportivo boss Javier Irureta
Wenger brought on Kanu and Ljungberg just after the hour mark and immediately the Swede was brought down by Molina.

Henry hit the resulting penalty too close to the Spanish keeper and Kanu's shot from the rebound ricocheted over.

From the corner the Nigerian bundled the ball into the net but was rightly adjudged to have been backing into Molina.

Arsenal kept on pressing for a first goal but to no avail as Deportivo hung on for a fine win.


Arsenal: Seaman, Luzhny, Stepanovs, Campbell, Lauren, Wiltord (Kanu 64), Vieira, Grimandi (Ljungberg 64), Pires, Henry, Bergkamp. Subs Not Used: Wright, Dixon, Edu, Inamoto, Tavlaridis.

Booked: Vieira.

D Coruna: Molina, Scaloni, Cesar, Naybet, Romero, Sergio, Mauro Silva, Victor, Valeron (Duscher 79), Fran (Capdevila 71), Tristan (Makaay 85). Subs Not Used: Nuno, Djalminha, Helder, Hector.

Booked: Victor, Sergio, Scaloni, Molina, Naybet.

Attendance: 35,392.

Referee: Urs Meier (Switzerland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Simon Brotherton
"Arsenal were left chasing shadows"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We showed lots of character to try and battle back"
Links to more Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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