FC Dynamo Kyiv


FC Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 Arsenal
UEFA Champions League - October 21, 2003

Goals Shatskikh 27, Belkevich 64 (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Henry 80 (Arsenal)

By Richard Clarke in Kyiv

Arsenal face a steep uphill struggle to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League after slumping to a 2-1 defeat at FC Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday night.

The key moment came in the 64th minute with Arsenal already trailling 1-0 to Maksim Shatskikh's first-half volley.

Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann came out of his area to clear his lines but he hacked the ball straight to the feet of Valentin Belkevich. The midfielder unleashed a 45-yard shot in a bid to catch out the keeper before he recovered his ground.

Lehmann, still out of his area, chested the ball down but his control was poor and Shatskikh beat him to the ball and pushed it wide. Belkevich pounced on the loose ball and steered it into the empty net from an acute angle.

The game was far from over however. Henry's goal 11 minutes from time made for a tense finale and Arsenal spent injury time camped in the Kyiv penalty area.

Kolo Toure thumped a shot against the bar from inside the six yards box in the dying seconds.

You could make a strong case that Arsenal deserved a draw. However they did not, they lost and this result, combined with Lokomotiv's shock 3-0 victory against Inter, means Arsenal are playing catch-up in Group B.

Qualification is not impossible but they will need a hefty slice of the luck they were lacking tonight.

In his pre-game press conference, Wenger had said that Patrick Vieira and Freddie Ljungberg were fit after their respective thigh and ankle injuries. However they lacked match practice and he feared needing to substitute both players as the game went on. In the end he decided to leave both on the bench.

But the side he put out did have one important badge of honour - it was the one that had beaten Premiership leaders Chelsea on Saturday. However, there was a formation change with Robert Pires pushed forward behind the front two. It was the Frenchman who had the first chance of the game in the eighth minute, nodding Henry's corner onto the cross bar at the near post.

That was a stolen chance but Kyiv's reply a minute later was carved out. Shatskikh weaved inside his defender to get a clear sight of the Arsenal goal only for Lehmann to make an athletic one-handed save to his right.

Oleg Husyev worried Lehmann a few minutes later with an overhead kick but Arsenal responded well with Pires to the fore. He was involved in the move that saw Lauren burst into the area and exchange passes with Henry, but the full back's shot was blocked.

So it was against the run of play when Kyiv went ahead a minute later. Jerko Lejko's shot hit Shatskikh and bounced up kindly for him to hammer home a volley at the near post.

Arsenal were rattled and it showed. The sliding Shakskikh nearly got a toe to Valentin Belkevich's low pass across the face of the area then Tiberiu Ghioane's dipping drive from distance forced Lehmann to backtrack and tip over.

Kyiv continued to pile on the pressure but Arsenal looked lively on the break. One such foray in the 38th minute saw Wiltord win a corner. Henry took it, Pires flicked on and Toure, up front from defence, just failed to convert at the far post.

Just before half time, Edu met Pires' free-kick with a firm downward header. However Kyiv keeper Oleksander Shovkovski stretched to save.

The start of the second half was full of chances. Ashley Cole broke through into the area after two minutes but hacked his shot wildly over the bar.

The home side replied by forcing a corner from Belkevich that bobbled across the face of goal narrowly missing the flailing limbs of the Kyiv forwards.

Then Pires swung a free-kick to the far post which was met by the leaping Henry. His towering header was batted behind for a corner by Shovkovski.

On the hour, Vieira rose from his seat, stripped off and prepared to come on. The sight obviously inspired Arsenal, Parlour and Wiltord combined for Pires to poke a shot just wide of the post. Probably Arsenal's best worked move of the match.

The captain then came on to replace Edu. However, he had no time to influence the game before Kyiv scored again.

Arsenal now had to gamble. It was no surprise that centre back Kolo Toure found his way forward. Four minutes after Kyiv's second he combined with Henry to feed Wiltord on the right of the area. His vicious, low drive was stabbed behind by the leg of Shovkovski.

Inevitably, Wenger threw on Kanu and Ljungberg then asked his side to throw everything forward. It paid off with 11 minutes left when Pires' pass found Henry free in the six-yard box. He prodded his shot past Shovkovski and then collected the ball to race back to the centre circle. Time was of the essence.

If anything Kyiv then had the better chances. Diogo Rincon blazed over the bar with eight minutes left then Shatskikh steer a swerving shot inches wide of the far post.

But how Arsenal rallied. The forced a succession of corners and Kanu forced a fine low save from Shovkovski.

Lehmann had joined the attack by the time Henry shot was spilled by the keeper and Toure hacked a shot against the bar from six yards out. The defender sat with his head in his hands in the area as the ball was cleared.

It was that sort of night.

Arsenal Lehmann, Ashley Cole, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Edu (Vieira 61), Silva (Kanu 74), Parlour (Ljungberg 74), Pires, Henry, Wiltord. Subs not used Stack, Cygan, Clichy, Hoyte.

FC Dynamo Kyiv Shovkovskiy, Fedorov, Dmytrulin (Sablic 33), Belkevich, Peev, Shatskikh, Ghioane (Khatskevitch 79), Husev (Rincon 64), Nesmachniy, Gavrancic, Jerko, Leko. Subs not used Reva, El Kaddouri, Nanni, Milevski.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
10 Sep 2008