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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Hamburg 1-2 Arsenal
By John Sinnott

Gilberto and Tomas Rosicky of Arsenal
Arsenal's two goalscorers Gilberto and Rosicky celebrate
Arsenal recorded a morale-boosting win in their opening Champions League Group G fixture against 10-man Hamburg.

The German side lost goalkeeper Sascha Kirschstein early on after he was sent off for bringing down Robin van Persie.

Kirchstein was replaced by Stefan Wachter, who was unable to save Gilberto's expertly taken penalty.

Tomas Rosicky's superb strike made it 2-0, before Hamburg mounted a late comeback with Piotr Trochowski hitting the bar and Boubacar Sanogo tapping in.

In reaching the Champions League final last season Arsenal prospered in Europe in a manner they found difficult to replicate in the Premiership.

This season might only be a month old for Arsenal but already there are parallels between their European and domestic performances.

This was Arsenal's third win in Europe and yet they have still to record a victory in the Premiership.

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Admittedly they were playing a side with only 10 men for most of the match, but there was a freedom to Arsenal's football - as well as a cutting edge - that they have yet to display in the league.

If Van Persie provided the thrust for Arsenal in attack, Cesc Fabregas and Rosicky did their utmost to provide the Dutchman with plenty of possession.

Van Persie's astute runs caused Hamburg all sorts of problems throughout the game.

In the opening minutes the former Feyenoord forward emerged from the right wing to volley wide from a tight angle.

And it was the fleet-footed Van Persie who won that early penalty, after he was picked out by Emmanuel Adebayor's pass.

Kirchstein came out quickly to close down the danger, but Van Persie was quicker, deftly manoeuvring the ball round the Hamburg keeper, who tripped the Arsenal forward with his hand.

Substitute goalkeeper Wachter guessed correctly the direction of Gilberto's spot-kick but the Brazilian's swept shot had too much power.

In the game's closing stages Gilberto might have had a second only for his header to go narrowly wide from a corner.

At a numerical disadvantage, Hamburg never really tested Arsenal's defence.

Before the penalty award Danijel Ljuboja left Jens Lehmann's flat-footed with a low shot and later in the half another effort from the Serbian forward drew an agile save from the Arsenal goalkeeper.

Early in the second-half some clever ball juggling skills from Sanogo set up a good chance for Joris Mathijsen but the Dutch defender's volley went wide.

Soon afterwards Rosicky picked up the ball just outside the box before he unleashed a shot that dipped at the last moment.

In the game's closing stages Hamburg finally pierced the Arsenal defence when David Jarolim skips pulled the ball back for Sanogo to finish easily

The only downside for Arsenal was the loss of central defender Kolo Toure, who went off with a thigh injury in the first-half.


Hamburg: Kirschstein, Demel (Mahdavikia 55), Reinhardt, Kompany, Mathijsen, Jarolim, De Jong, Wicky (Wachter 11), Trochowski, Sanogo, Ljuboja (Guerrero 82).
Subs Not Used: Fillinger, Berisha, Laas, Benjamin.

Sent Off: Kirschstein (10).

Goals: Sanogo 90.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure (Hoyte 28), Djourou, Gallas, Hleb (Flamini 70), Fabregas, Silva, Rosicky, Van Persie (Julio Baptista 69), Adebayor.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Ljungberg, Song Billong, Walcott.

Goals: Silva 12 pen, Rosicky 53.

Att: 51,258.

Ref: Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden).

SEE ALSO
Champions League photos
13 Sep 06 |  Football


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