Football: Rebrov rebuff for Arsenal

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The Independent Online
HAPPY HOUR at Wembley last night was from 6pm to 7, when food and drinks were served at half the national stadium's normal exorbitant prices. Arsenal then gave their supporters in the 73,256 crowd a distinctly unhappy hour-and-a-half in which they were utterly outplayed by the technically gifted Ukrainian champions.

Dennis Bergkamp headed a goal 17 minutes from the end, but in added time Dynamo scored an equaliser that was the very least they deserved. Combined with Lens' 1-0 victory over Panathinaikos, it took the French side level with Arsenal at the top of Group E in the Champions' League. Furthermore, all four teams are still in with a shout of qualifying, which makes Arsenal's trip to Kiev next month an even more daunting one.

They will certainly need the French midfielders Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira, badly missed last night as Stephen Hughes and Remi Garde struggled to hold the middle ground. Ray Parlour, Marc Overmars and the full-backs made little or no inroads down the flanks and Tony Adams and Martin Ke- own, goal-scorers in the previous Wembley game, were forced to concentrate on the day job, as defenders in search of a striker. Kiev kept their two forwards, Andriy Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov, out wide using midfielders to burst through the centre to great effect.

The outstanding Shev-chenko had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside at 0-0, and, despite the knee-jerk reaction of Arsenal's defenders, Rebrov was clearly on side when he equalised. Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger had no complaints about that decision but felt that a free-kick in the move leading up to the goal should not have been given. "There was no foul at all," he said.

"The linesman gave a throw-in and the referee changed it to a free-kick. The result was fair, even if Kiev were technically very good. If we'd won tonight, we'd be in a very good position in the group. Now everybody's still in it."

Whether tempted by the prospect of happy hour or not, the red hordes dutily filed up Wembley way rather earlier than on their previous visit, when Arsenal and Uefa had been embarrassed by having to delay the kick- off for 25 minutes. Once in the stadium they were treated to performers impersonating Red Stewart, Tina Turner and Freddie Mercury and then, when the match began, a team in red shirts looking nothing like the English Double winners.

It was 38 minutes before Arsenal won so much as a corner, by which time the crowds rumbling had turned to grumbling.

Within three minutes Shev-chenko had cut in from his post on the right, drifted past Garde and shot, fortunately for Arsenal, straight at David Seaman. Lee Dixon was forced to concede a corner which was collected by defender Vladislav Vashchyuk, who strode forward to hit a swerving 30- yarder that Seaman turned aside.

Andriy Gusin came forward to shoot over the bar; Adams twice had to make saving tackles to stop Shevchenko, Nigel Winterburn was left lunging at thin air as Oleh Luzhny sprinted down the right to threaten again.

Anelka raised London spirits as Olexander Shovkovsky dived at his feet but until well past the hour there was only one team in it - not the English champions.

In the 73rd minute Arsenal typically broke out to score. Parlour sent Dixon down the left and, from the first decent cross of the night, Bergkamp headed firmly in.

Silly yellow cards have been another unfortunate feature of those matches. Bergkamp, who will remain grounded when his colleagues fly to Ukraine, collected the latest of them for a deliberate handball.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn; Parlour, Garde, Hughes, Overmars; Bergkamp, Anelka (Vivas, 84). Substitutes not used: Manninger (gk), Bould, Wreh, Grimandi, Boa Morte, Mendez.

Dynamo Kiev (3-5-2): Shovkovsky; Luzhny, Golovko, Vashchyuk; Dmytrulin, Kaladze, Gusin (Kardash, 82), Kosovsky, Belkevich; Shevchenko, Rebrov. Substitutes not used: Kernozenko (gk), Gurerassimenko, Radchenko, Mikhailenko, Makouski, Kiriukhin.

Referee: R Wojcik (Poland).

Photograph, page 29