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).

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect