Football: French duo seal Arsenal's advance

Nantes 3 Arsenal 3 Arsenal win 6-3 on aggregate
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The Independent Online
TWO OF Arsenal's French contingent, Gilles Grimandi and Thierry Henry, scored as the London club survived an early scare in this third- round second-leg game before easing through to the last 16 of the Uefa Cup.

The Gunners took a 3-0 lead from the first leg at Highbury into the game, but Arsene Wenger's team looked in trouble as Nantes made the early breakthrough when Antoine Sibierski scored in the 12th minute. Salomon Olembe had already forced a brilliant save from Alex Manninger before Sibierski received a short free- kick and fired in from 25 yards.

Arsenal had a stroke of fortune in the 24th minute to level the scores and effectively end the tie. The ball fell kindly to Grimandi, the ex- Monaco defender, and he went round the Nantes goalkeeper Mickael Landreau before tucking it in.

Arsenal went 5-1 ahead on aggregate after 31 minutes when Nwankwo Kanu picked out Henry, who hit home his fourth goal in four games. Nantes were committed to attack and Marc Overmars punished them with a clinical strike three minutes before the break.

Some of Arsenal's work was still far from convincing and Sibierski struck again in the 57th minute with a powerful shot from a pass by Frederic da Rocha. Sibierski then produced a fierce long-range drive that flew past a post before Marama Vahirua levelled the score on the night after 77 minutes. A relieved Wenger said: "They could have been three goals up after 15 minutes and then in the second half we just stopped playing and they got on top."

Nantes: Landreau, Olembe, Gillet, Savinaud, Leroy, Carriere, Berson (Fenillat, 68), Sibierski (Vahirua, 77), Bustos, Toure, Da Rocha. Substitutes not used: Lievre, Grondin (gk), Mace, Aristouy, Rubil.

Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Adams, Grimandi, Winterburn, Ljungberg (Vivas, 80), Vieira, Petit, Overmars (Silvinho, 64), Kanu, Henry (Suker, 70). Substitutes not used: Hughes, Luzhny, Barrett, Lukic (gk).

Referee: J Wengeref (Netherlands).

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