Arsenal 2 Thun 1

Bergkamp robs Thun to seal win for 10-man Arsenal

Arsenal's part in their fairytale was a collective, mind-numbing nightmare until Dennis Bergkamp, on as a late substitute, forced the winning goal deep into added time. Extraordinarily it was his first goal in the Champions' League for three years. The relief flared throughout the stadium.

Before that Arsenal had looked simply bewildered, running out of ideas against a team whose 1,000-strong travelling support were reduced to numbed silence by what they witnessed. To lose was an unnecessary cruelty to Thun even if the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger was wholly ungracious in saying they did not "come out [and play] because they are Thun".

He also brushed aside remarks that their manager Urs Schonenberger had called him his role model by saying "next question" and brutally said that the visitors had missed the opportunity of a "big upset".

Nevertheless, Wenger was remarkably sanguine. "I would not have panicked if it had been 1-1 because we are capable of winning in Thun," he said.

Of course they are. They should be. After all, the budget for Thun, the club from the shores of the lake Thunersee, is Sfr5.1m (£2.2m). That is for every player, member of staff, running cost - and amounts to half of Thierry Henry's annual wages.

But Wenger's relaxed post-match mood contrasted sharply to the image of him on the touchline - after one chance went astray he sat slumped, headed bowed, rubbing his brow.

There was justice in Wenger's sense of indignation over Van Persie's dismissal, just before half-time, as he raised his foot high to collect a lofted pass and caught Alen Orman in the face. The defender later had several stitches put in the wound. It appeared inadvertent, and surely was, but the Polish referee Grzegorz Gilewski instantly showed the red card.

Arsenal were apoplectic. Wenger said that they would appeal against the three-game ban - but the Uefa rules do not allow that. "It was an unpleasant surprise and the wrong decision," the manager said.

It could also be argued that Gilewski made the wrong decision as early as the fourth minute, however, when only booking Kolo Touré for bringing down Mauro Lustrinelli, Thun's lone striker, as he ran through. Touré was the last man.

That came as Sol Campbell, captain in the absence of the injured Henry, and making his first start this season, strayed forward. Arsenal were out-of-sorts, edgy, over-eager to break the deadlock.

There was a Pires' curler, a poked shot from Van Persie, a thunder-strike of a free-kick from Touré. Cesc Fabregas slid one shot past a post and then Jose Antonio Reyes - who later limped off - sent in a powerful drive which slithered through the legs of the jittery Thun goalkeeper, Eldin Jakupovic. He recovered to grasp the ball before Fredrik Ljungberg bundled him over the line.

But Thun - who have knocked out Dynamo Kiev and Malmo to get this far - were not serial defenders. Their defence was pack-thread but they also counter-attacked cleverly.

Arsenal finally broke through six minutes after the restart with Gilberto jumping brilliantly at the far post to plant the firmest of headers, from Reyes's corner, beyond Jakupovic.

The relief was short-lived. Amazingly back came Thun and Touré only half-cleared straight to Nelson Ferreira, who immediately hooked the ball over a bemused Manuel Almunia - a stand-in for the suspended Jens Lehmann - to equalise. As Arsenal rocked, Tiago Bernardi then ballooned over.

Wenger protested that Arsenal could not break through simply because they "lacked a man". As the minutes slipped by he threw on all his attackers and just as it seemed it would never come, in came a long ball, from Touré, and Bergkamp tussled with a Thun defender. As the ball squirmed free the Dutchman steered it joyously into the net.

"It was a goal full of class, fight, determination," said Wenger. They were qualities lacking during the evening.

"We came here and knew that we were playing against a top European team," said Schonenberger. "Our goal was to take a point and I can honestly say we deserved one point. We earned it." And he was right.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Almunia; Lauren, Campbell, Touré, Cole; Ljungberg (Hleb, 81), Fabregas (Bergkamp, 72), Gilberto, Pires; Van Persie, Reyes (Owusu-Abeyie, 81). Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), Song, Senderos, Clichy.

FC Thun (4-5-1): Jakupovic; Orman, Hodzic, Milicevic, Goncalves; Ferreira, Bernardi, Aegerter, Adriano (Gelson, 57), Gerber (Leandro, 72); Lustrinelli (Faye, 87). Substitutes not used: Portmann (gk), Duruz, Spadoto.

Referee: G Gilewski (Poland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory