Arsenal emphatic in thriller
Gunners claim memorable 5-2 victory at Fenerbahce
By James Dall. Last Updated: 22/10/08 9:10am
The Gunners: On fire
Arsenal were at their attacking best in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night as they recorded an emphatic 5-2 success over Fenerbahce to end the Turkish club's impressive home record.
Fenerbahce headed into the encounter unbeaten at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in 15 European games but found themselves two goals down after just 11 minutes, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott converting from Cesc Fabregas through-balls.
Going forward the Gunners were silky but at the back they often looked exposed, and Fener took advantage in the 19th minute when Daniel Guiza's volley across goal caught Mikael Silvestre to find its way past Manuel Almunia.
Arsene Wenger's side continued to throw bodies forward with gusto and extended their advantage through the impressive Abou Diaby before the break and then a close-range strike from Alexandre Song early in the second period.
Guiza reduced arrears 12 minutes from full-time as he latched onto a long pass to toe over Alumina, but, as Aaron Ramsey netted a late fifth, a dramatic comeback was not be as Arsenal ensured they are that step closer to reaching the knockout stages.
In only the fourth minute Gunners goalkeeper Almunia, captain for the night, made the first save, rushing out to block Ugur Boral's close-range shot from Claudio Maldonado's right-wing cross.
The famous Fenerbahce atmosphere was evident from the start with every Arsenal attack greeted with a cacophony of boos and whistles.
But the crowd were silenced in the 10th minute when Adebayor beat the offside trap to collect Fabregas' through-ball and coolly slot past Volkan Demirel for his third Champions League goal in as many matches.
A minute later it was 2-0 as Fabregas replicated his defence-splitting pass and Walcott rounded the goalkeeper, who got half a touch, before firing inside the near post.
Had Samir Nasri had the confidence to hit Diaby's right-wing cross first time with his left foot three minutes later it would have been a third but he cut it back on to his right at the far post and Volkan saved.
Fenerbahce should have pulled one back immediately when Guiza's shot was half-blocked by Gael Clichy and it fell to Semih Senturk, who fluffed his kick from just five yards.
However, the hosts were gifted a goal in the 19th minute when Alex floated in a free-kick and Guiza volleyed across the six-yard area where Silvestre stuck out a leg and diverted the ball past Almunia.
Within two minutes Arsenal restored their two-goal cushion when a long ball forward picked out Diaby, who held off the challenge of two defenders to fire left-footed across Volkan and into the far corner of the net.
The tall midfielder was booked for pulling his shirt over his head but it could not dampen his delight at scoring.
In the 31st minute later Guiza volleyed past Almunia from close range from Gokhan Gonul's pass but it was ruled out for offside.
The Spain striker then twice raced clear but narrowly shot wide and then ran the ball straight into the goalkeeper when he should have done better on both occasions.
Arsenal took less than four minutes to extend their lead, and once again it came from some poor defending.
Fabregas' left-wing free-kick was not even half-headed away and when the ball dropped to Song on the edge of the six-yard area he lashed home a volley.
Fenerbahce tried to respond but they found the Arsenal defence less generous than had been the case in the first half.
Alex's superb pass picked out charging full-back Roberto Carlos but having controlled the ball with his left foot in the penalty area he could not hit it with his right and the chance was lost.
Guiza missed another chance when he again caught the defence square but shot straight at Almunia and then Edu's follow-up was cleared off the line by Eboue.
With 17 minutes remaining Diaby was withdrawn and Ramsey sent on for his first proper taste of the Champions League having previously only played in the qualifying round.
In the 77th-minute Guiza finally atoned for his previous errors when he lobbed Alex's pass over Almunia but it appeared too little too late.
Seconds later he broke through again and fired at the goalkeeper, although he had already been flagged offside.
But in the fourth minute of injury time Ramsey fired in off a post to complete the rout.
|1||1st Half Goals||3|
|7||Shots on Target||6|
|8||Shots off Target||3|