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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 21:45 GMT
Arsenal thump Inter
Thierry Henry
Inter Milan 1- 5 Arsenal

Thierry Henry inspired Arsenal to a rout of Inter Milan at the San Siro that puts them one win away from the Champions League second round.

Henry put Arsenal in front midway through the first half before Inter equalised through a Christian Vieri shot that took a horrible deflection.

The Gunners went back in front through Freddie Ljungberg before Henry ensured the win with a fabulous individual effort.

Edu then side-footed a fourth with two minutes left and there was still time for Robert Pires to fire a fifth with the Inter backline run ragged.

When Arsenal played host to the Italians in the first group encounter the game was effectively over by half-time.

But the Gunners finally managed to transfer their Premiership form into Europe to avenge the 3-0 defeat at Highbury.

Not in my wildest dreams could we have predicted that sort of result
Arsene Wenger
The Gunners took the lead midway through the first half when Henry exchanged passes with Ashley Cole before picking his spot and side-footing into the bottom corner of the net.

It took Inter just eight minutes to equalise from a complete fluke of a goal.

There looked to be little danger when Vieri received a pass on the edge of the area.

But his first-time shot took a wicked deflection off Sol Campbell that looped over Jens Lehmann and in off the bar.

Milan could have gone in front but Marco Materazzi's free-kick was well kept out by Lehmann, but it would have been rough justice after Arsenal had enjoyed the better of the 45 minutes.

KEY MOMENTS
25 mins: Henry's side-footer gives Arsenal the lead
33 mins: Inter equalise after Vieri's shot is deflected past Lehmann
49 mins: Ljungberg puts Arsenal back in front from Henry's cross
81 mins: Henry's solo special gives them a two-goal cushion
87 mins: Arsenal pile forward and Edu slots home the fourth
89 mins: Pires wraps things up by slotting in the fifth
The second half got even better for Arsenal with Ljungberg putting them back ahead inside four minutes.

Henry was the provider with his cross from the left finding the Swede unmarked in the box and he tapped home from close range.

Henry should have got a third for Arsenal but with just Francesco Toldo to beat he opted to try and square for a team-mate when he should have shot.

Arsenal had to endure some nervy moments as Milan finally found some urgency.

Lehmann had to be alert to gather Fabio Cannavaro's header and Andy van der Meyde flashed a free-kick just over the bar

But as Milan poured forward more room appeared at the back for Arsenal to expose.

Henry had a shot of his own kept out by Toldo and from the corner Ljungberg miscued a volley with the goal gaping.

Obafemi Martins threatened in the closing stages and Cole had to come to Arsenal's rescue with a last-ditch tackle.

With Arsenal looking headed for a nervy finish Henry raced away, beat Javier Zanetti before firing past Toldo from a narrow angle.

Inter were forced to throw men forward and Edu and Pires took advantage to slot home two late goals that puts Arsenal above their opponents and on track for a place in the knockout stages.

Their Champions League campaign looked all but over at the midway stage but they know a win in their final home game against Lokomotiv Moscow will put them through.


Inter Milan: Toldo, Cordoba, Javier Zanetti, Cannavaro (Pasquale 59), Materazzi, Brechet, Cristiano Zanetti, Lamouchi (Almeyda 57), Van der Meyde (Cruz 69), Martins, Vieri.
Subs not used: Fontana, Luciano, Adani, Gonzalez.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Cole, Campbell, Toure, Cygan, Ljungberg, Parlour, Edu, Pires, Kanu (Silva 73), Henry (Aliadiere 89).
Subs not used: Stack, Keown, Clichy, Papadopulos, Hoyte.

Booked: Cygan, Edu.

Attendance: 50,000.

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson
"A result to send shockwaves through Europe"


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"This result shows you how fragile team sports are and how things can change"




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