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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 21:34 GMT
Arsenal win group
Arsenal 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Robert Pires celebrates scoring
Arsenal comfortably defeated Lokomotiv Moscow at Highbury to complete their remarkable Champions League comeback.

Arsene Wenger's side had just one point at the half-way stage in Group B, but won their last three games to seal top spot.

Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg scored on an evening when the first-half dismissal of Lokomotiv defender Jacob Lekgetho allowed Arsenal to pass their opponents off the park.

But with Dynamo Kiev and Inter Milan drawing, Lokomotiv qualify from the group in second place and join Arsenal in Friday's draw for the last 16.

Arsenal had stated before the game they wanted an early goal to help them settle.

Wenger's team started at a frantic pace, testing the Lokomotiv defence with a series of probing passes and scoring with their first real opening.

I am very proud of the way my boys have turned round a situation that no one expected them to turn round
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Henry played a superbly weighted square ball from the right touchline that Pires took beyond two Lokomotiv defenders with a deft first touch before slipping the ball beyond Sergei Ovchinnikov.

The striker should have doubled Arsenal's lead after Dennis Bergkamp flicked Ljungberg's deep cross into his path after 29 minutes, but the French striker missed the target with the keeper beaten.

Henry went close again shortly before half-time with a curling free-kick, but Ovchinnikov clumsily palmed the striker's shot wide of his goal and Patrick Vieira horribly sliced the rebound.

Lokomotiv hinted at their capabilities on the break with a couple of half chances falling to Dmitry Khokhlov.

KEY MOMENTS
12 mins: Pires opens the scoring for Arsenal
29 mins: Henry shoots inches wide
67 mins: Ljungberg doubles Arsenal's tally
But the match swung decisively in Arsenal's favour when Lekgetho was dismissed a minute before the break.

He had been booked earlier in the half for a foul on Ljungberg and received his second yellow after another crude lunge at the Arsenal midfielder.

Kolo Toure struck a thunderous drive straight at Ovchinnikov after 49 minutes, which the Russian goalkeeper just managed to save.

And the Gunners right-back spurned a much better opportunity a minute later, blasting high and wide from six yards.

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Lokomotiv substitute Winston Parks then broke down the right after an error from Ashley Cole, but Jens Lehaann narrowed the angle well and saved.

Lehmann's counterpart Ovchinnikov however remained the busier of the two goalkeepers, saving from Ljungberg and then watching Bergkamp head limply wide from a good position as Arsenal pressed for a second goal.

It finally arrived after precise passing from Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry created space for Ljungberg to lift the ball over the advancing Ovchinnikov from eight yards.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Toure, Cygan, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Silva, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp (Kanu 74).
Subs Not Used: Stack, Keown, Wiltord, Parlour, Edu, Aliadiere.

Booked: Vieira.

Lokomotiv Moscow: Sergei I. Ovchinnikov, Pashinin, Sennikov, Ignashevich, Evseev, Leksetho, Khokhlov, Maminov, Loskov, Buznikin (Gurenko 45), Ashvetia (Parks 45).
Subs Not Used: Nigmatullin, Nizhegorodov, Asatiani, Leandro, Wagner.

Sent Off: Leksetho (45).
Booked: Leksetho, Evseev.

Attendance: 35,343

Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia).






WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"This has been an amazing recovery by Arsenal"


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"I feel we've shown a lot of mental strength"




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