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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 21:39 GMT
Celta Vigo 2-3 Arsenal
Edu scores for Arsenal
Two goals from Edu and a third from Robert Pires gave Arsenal their first ever Champions League win in Spain in a pulsating game at Celta Vigo.

Edu bundled in his first from a Pires free-kick only for it to be cancelled out by a header from Celta's own Edu.

Arsenal's Edu added a second after the break with a brilliant strike from the edge of the area, but Celta's Jose Ignacio equalised from close range.

However, Pires scored a sublime third after combining with Thierry Henry.

Arsenal went into the game in search of their first win on Spanish soil under manager Arsene Wenger.

And the Gunners made a bright start in their quest for that elusive victory.

They were slick in attack and should have taken the lead on 12 minutes when Henry brilliantly backheeled the ball into Jose Antonio Reyes' path.

KEY MOMENTS
18 mins: Edu bundles in Arsenal's opener
27 mins: Edu heads home an equaliser for Celta Vigo
58 mins: Edu scores a scorching second for Arsenal
64 mins: Ignacio levels for Celta
80 mins: Pires nets the winner for Arsenal

The young Spaniard controlled well, but his shot lacked conviction and power and was easily gathered by Pablo Cavallero.

However, Arsenal were not to be denied the opener and took the lead when Edu scrambled home Pires' free-kick from the right.

It was not the prettiest Arsenal goal, and Cavallero had to receive lengthy treatment to a facial injury after diving at Edu's feet, but Wenger's men have shown of late that they can play ugly to get results.

Yet Celta were not deterred and they hit back soon after courtesy of their own Edu, who rose highest to meet former Arsenal defender Silvinho's perfectly delivered free-kick on the edge of the area.

The goal gave the Spanish side a major boost and they went close to taking the lead when, after a poor clearance by Jens Lehmann, Edu unleashed a rasping drive that Arsenal's German goalkeeper did well to save.

After the break, Celta were denied their second goal of the evening by the width of a crossbar when Alexander Mostovoi crashed his header from Edu's cross against the woodwork.

For Arsenal, Reyes and Henry combined well and the young Spaniard struck a shot that Cavallero could only palm away.

Henry reached the loose ball first, but inexplicably fired wide with the goal gaping at his mercy.

If Arsenal's opener lacked beauty, then their second oozed sheer quality.

Edu picked up the ball on the edge of the Celta area and switched from left foot to right before curling home a peach of a strike into the top right-hand corner.

But Arsenal could only hold on to their advantage for six minutes and Celta equalised after Ignacio turned home Sergio's knockdown from Mostovoi's corner.

But despite their sloppy defending Arsenal were soon back in front as Henry and Pires combined quite brilliantly to add a third for the visitors.

Henry picked out Pires with aplomb after a clever one-two, and the French winger steered the ball into the back of the net from inside the area.

That goal secured Wenger's men's first win in Spain and provided a fitting finale to an enthralling encounter.


Celta Vigo: Cavallero, Velasco, Sergio, Berizzo, Silvinho, Luccin, Jose Ignacio, Angel (Vagner 64), Mostovoi, Edu (Pinilla 75), Milosevic.
Subs Not Used: Pinto, Caceres, Contreras, Mendez, Jandro.

Booked: Silvinho.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Clichy (Bentley 89), Ljungberg (Cygan 90), Vieira, Edu, Pires, Henry, Reyes (Kanu 78). Subs Not Used: Stack, Keown, Hoyte, Fabregas Soler.

Booked: Edu, Henry.

Attendance: 21,000.

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden).






WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"A below-par performance from Arsenal"


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"Doing well in the league gave us confidence to score goals"



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