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banner Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 14:54 GMT
Sweet revenge for Arsenal
Dennis Bergkamp scores for Arsenal against Liverpool
Bergkamp scored the only goal of a compelling cup tie
Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

A headed goal from Dennis Bergkamp gained Arsenal a measure of revenge for last season's FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool.

The Dutchman finished a flowing move that involved Thierry Henry and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, but later became one of three players sent off in a heated second half.

Having played out a turgid 1-1 draw in a January league game, Liverpool and Arsenal served up far more entertaining cup fare at a wet Highbury.

It was a real cup tie, but not a dirty game - we were outstanding mentally
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager

Both teams lined up with three natural strikers, although Emile Heskey found himself withdrawn to the Liverpool flank for long periods.

In midfield, battle-tested Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira locked horns as early as the second minute, sending each other sprawling in a heavy 50-50 challenge.

But their contest remained firm and fair.

The first chance fell to Liverpool on 12 minutes.

A clever ball from Highbury old boy Nicolas Anelka sent Michael Owen clear, but his shot was well saved by Richard Wright in the Arsenal goal.

Moments later, the versatile John Arne Riise - who was heavily involved from set pieces and down the left flank - clipped in a teasing cross that almost teed up Heskey.

Ashley Cole battles Emile Heskey at Highbury
Cole (right) had an outstanding game

Arsenal lost influential playmaker Robert Pires, who limped off after a challenge with Sami Hyypia, but lifted their game in his absence.

A cross from Ashley Cole was almost converted by Sylvain Wiltord and the Gunners poured forward.

Their opening goal was excellently taken.

Henry broke down the left, played a one-two with Van Bronckorst and whipped in a cross that Bergkamp headed home.

Liverpool might have equalised immediately when Anelka's miss-hit shot struck the bar.

But Arsenal continued to dominate and Bergkamp should have doubled their lead from another precise Cole cross.

Striker Jari Litmanen came on for Anelka at half-time, but it fell to his defensive colleague Stephane Henchoz to make the first telling contributions of the second period.

  Key Highbury action
20: Pires limps off
27: Bergkamp scores from Henry cross
66: Keown sent off
73: Double red card for Bergkamp and Carragher

The Swiss made lunging tackles to deny Henry and Arsenal twice.

Gerrard tried his luck from long range a couple of times, but that was as close as Liverpool came until Martin Keown was sent off for a professional foul on Owen after 66 minutes.

It was the cue for the vistors to press on.

Riise forced a sharp save from the resulting free-kick and Owen - for once - failed to tuck away the rebound.

Sensational scenes followed when Bergkamp and Jamie Carragher were both sent off for an ugly incident that followed the Arsenal player's late challenge.

An object was thrown from the crowd and Carragher appeared to throw it back, an offense that Mike Riley deemed worthy of a red card.

The thing that worries me greatly is the number of incidents where objects are thrown on to the pitch
Phil Thompson
Liverpool manager

As the game turned angry, Cole stood out at left back, making timely interceptions to keep the Gunners' goal intact.

But he was powerless to defend Gerrard's pin-point cross on 83 minutes that should have been headed home by Dietmar Hamann.

Arsenal's Cup final tormentor Owen almost snatched an equaliser at the death, but an outstretched arm from Wright tipped his effort wide.

In the end, the home team did just enough.

On the day they picked up their ninth and 10th sending offs of the season, one of those red-carded booked their place in round five.

Arsenal: Wright, Luzhny, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Pires (Parlour 20), Vieira, van Bronckhorst (Grimandi 84), Wiltord (Upson 68), Bergkamp, Henry.

Subs Not Used: Dixon, Stack.

Sent Off: Keown (67), Bergkamp (71).

Booked: Cole.

Goals: Bergkamp 28.

Liverpool: Dudek, Riise, Hyypia, Henchoz, Wright (Murphy 80), Carragher, Hamann, Gerrard, Heskey, Anelka (Litmanen 45), Owen.

Subs Not Used: Berger, Arphexad, McAllister.

Sent Off: Carragher (72).

Booked: Heskey, Wright, Gerrard, Henchoz.

Att: 38,092.

Ref: M Riley (Leeds).

BBC Sport's Alan Green
"Arsenal deserved to win"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"This team has unbelievable spirit"
Liverpool assistant boss Phil Thompson
"The incident with Jamie Carragher was disappointing"
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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