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UEFA Champions League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 35,155) 2nd November 2005 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: A Sars

Arsenal Arsenal vs Sparta Prague Sp Prague


Sp Prague 0

Van the man to see off Sparta

By Rob Lancaster.   Last Updated: 02/11/05 9:35pm

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Arsenal booked their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a 3-0 win over Sparta Prague at Highbury.

The returning Thierry Henry grabbed the first before substitute Robin van Persie's late double wrapped up the victory as The Gunners cruised through to the last 16 with two group games still to be played.

Sparta certainly seem to bring out the best in Henry as he set his side on their way with another great goal to add to his collection.

After scoring twice against the Czech side two weeks ago on his return to injury, the Frenchman perfectly curled the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards out to bring the crowd to life on a miserable night in North London.

However, the captain was outdone by his replacement as van Persie sealed Arsenal's place in the knockout stages with a brace that will further his reputation as Arsenal's 'super-sub'.

The Dutchman, who impressed as a replacement against Tottenham at the weekend, had already gone close with a free kick before he grabbed two goals in the space of four minutes to kill the game off.

The forward curled in his first from the edge of the area as Sparta were caught out on the break and then followed that up by tucking home Emmanuel Eboue's pass.

Van Persie's fine performance from the bench gave the final scoreline a flattering look after Arsenal had failed to build on Henry's strike against a Sparta team rarely interested in getting out of their own half.

Dennis Bergkamp had come close to opening Arsenal's account when he smacked a shot against the crossbar from close range, while Jose Antonio Reyes' attempt to follow Henry's lead with a curling effort that had to be turned away by Blazek.

With only one up front the visitors were forced to try and beat Manuel Almunia from distance, although the majority of their shots were only dangerous to the crowd behind the custodian's goal.

Martin Hasek did manage to make the Spaniard work with one long-range drive through a crowded penalty area that the keeper palmed away to safety.

But, with Arsenal unable to find their rhythm after the interval, Sparta began to grow in confidence as they finally managed to put some pressure on a defensive unit that looked far-from convincing at times.

Adam Petrous had their best chance to equalise but he was unable to get his header on target with Almunia, continuing in the starting line-up in place of the injured Jens Lehmann, left in no-man's land.

The keeper was also indebted to the woodwork for his clean sheet when Martin Petras' header rattled against the crossbar shortly after van Persie had already doubled Arsenal's lead with a sublime curler with his left foot.

The former Feyenoord front-man then added a third before full-time when he combined well with fellow sub Eboue to beat poor Blazek, who had little chance to stop any of the goals.

Arsenal v Sparta Prague player ratings

ArsenalTeam StatisticsSparta Prague
11st Half Goals0
9Shots on Target1
7Shots off Target9
1Blocked Shots2
0Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
84.2Passing Success66.6
68.2Tackles Success85.7
53.9Territorial Advantage46.1



UEFA Champions League Group A

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Atletico Madrid 6 13
2 Juventus 6 10
3 Olympiakos FC 6 9
4 Malmo FF 6 3

UEFA Champions League Group B

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Real Madrid 6 18
2 Basel 6 7
3 Liverpool 6 5
4 Ludogorets 6 4

UEFA Champions League Group C

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Monaco 6 11
2 Bayer Leverkusen 6 10
3 Zenit St. Petersburg 6 7
4 Benfica 6 5

UEFA Champions League Group D

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Borussia Dortmund 6 13
2 Arsenal 6 13
3 Anderlecht 6 6
4 Galatasaray 6 1

UEFA Champions League Group E

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bayern Munich 6 15
2 Manchester City 6 8
3 Roma 6 5
4 CSKA Moscow 6 5

UEFA Champions League Group F

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Barcelona 6 15
2 Paris St Germain 6 13
3 Ajax 6 5
4 Apoel Nicosia 6 1

UEFA Champions League Group G

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 6 14
2 Schalke 6 8
3 Sporting Lisbon 6 7
4 Maribor 6 3

UEFA Champions League Group H

UEFA Champions League
Pos Team P Pts
1 FC Porto 6 14
2 Shakhtar Donetsk 6 9
3 Athletic Bilbao 6 7
4 BATE Borisov 6 3


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