Football: Winterburn thunderbolt caps Arsenal late show

Arsenal 3 Nantes 0

ARSENAL WENT home for European competition last night, only to find London N5 almost as frustrating for much of the time as Wembley, Middlesex had been. In the Uefa Cup - hereinafter the European Cup-Losers' Cup - victory is not everything and even against 10 men they had nothing more than a penalty by Marc Overmars to encourage them until the last eight minutes. Then goals by Nigel Winterburn and Dennis Bergkamp provided a more comfortable cushion for the second leg of this third-round tie in Brittany.

Not that Arsenal should take either armchairs or deckchairs with them. A young Nantes side described by Arsene Wenger as the best technical team in France, though they are 12th in the table, certainly have enough skill, if not the power, to make life difficult on their own territory. Until having the defender Jean-Marc Chanelet unnecessarily sent off after an hour, they kept three men in advanced positions, interchanging cleverly and occasionally threatening an away goal.

Wenger said: "It was a weird game. You could see our minds were not completely focused on this competition yet."

Although giving a rare opportunity to Patrick Vieira, who is in the middle of a long domestic suspension, the tie also brought a recurrence of the knee injury that has bugged his countryman and midfield partner Emmanuel Petit for much of the season. Petit hobbled off before half-time and is highly unlikely to appear against Derby County on Sunday, when Fredrik Ljungberg, as well as Vieira, will be banned. Thus the incompatibility of domestic and modern drawn-out European campaigns continues to be illustrated.

It was Petit who made the initial breakthrough possible after 15 minutes in which Arsenal had achieved little. His astute pass for Nwankwo Kanu was dangerous enough for Medhi Leroy to lunge in with a tackle that sent the Nigerian crashing painfully to the ground. Overmars's kick allowed the Nantes captain, Mickael Landreau, to get both hands to the ball without being able to keep it out of his net.

The Dutchman, scorer of a hat-trick against Middlesbrough last Saturday, might have had a second goal within minutes. He was set up beautifully by Vieira, drawing the goalkeeper and then lobbing over a defender's head, but Nicolas Savinaud was able to clear off the line.

Hassan Ahamada, sent away by Eric Carriere for a shot that fizzed past the far post, then failing to hit the target from an even better opportunity, might have punished Arsenal's casualness. It was the striker's last contribution, for soon afterwards he felt the full weight of a Winterburn tackle and disappeared on a stretcher.

Nantes also paid a heavy penalty for a foul by Chanelet on Overmars after 60 minutes. Having already received one yellow card, for time-wasting at a throw-in, he was dismissed and their objective thereafter was simply to hold out.

After Nicolas Gillet's goal-line clearance from Davor Suker, they looked like doing so until Winterburn thrashed a 25-yard shot past Landreau and Bergkamp slipped on to Overmars's pass to complete a flattering final margin.

The ghosts of two unsuccessful Wembley campaigns have not yet been laid.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Seaman; Vivas, Grimandi, Adams, Winterburn; Ljungberg (Henry, 70), Vieira, Petit (Parlour, 38), Overmars; Bergkamp, Kanu (Suker, 70). Substitutes not used: Malz, Luzhny, Upson, Manninger (gk).

Nantes (4-3-1-2): Landreau; Deroff (Olembre, 42), Savinaud, Chanelet, Gillet; Carriere, Piocelle, Leroy; Sibierski; Ahamada (Toure, 53), Monterrubio (Gope-Fenepej, 70). Substitutes not used: Devineau, Mace, Aristouy, Grondin (gk).

Referee: D Koren (Israel).

n Benfica suffered their record European defeat when they were thrashed 7-0 by Celta Vigo in their Uefa Cup third-round first-leg game in Spain. Before last night the Portuguese club's biggest defeat in Europe was a 5-0 beating at Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup in 1963-64.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'