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).

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital