Stefan Effenberg and Andrzej Juskowiak put an end to an Arsenal comeback in Cologne last night, but not before the visitors, 3-2 down going into the second leg of their first-round Uefa Cup tie, threatened to pull off a memorable victory.
Arsenal had fallen a goal behind midway through the first period, but when Paul Merson put his side 2-1 ahead shortly after half-time the stage appeared set for an upset. It was not to be, but Pat Rice, the Arsenal caretaker manager in his penultimate game in charge, took heart from his team's performance. "We came here determined not to just lie down and die. We had a go at them and I don't think you can criticise anybody for that," Rice said.
Tony Adams returned to the Arsenal defence for his first start since two knee operations and showed much of his familiar authority until being substituted after Monchengladbach's second goal.
However, it had taken a splendid save by the England goalkeeper, David Seaman, to prevent Juskowiak giving Monchen-gladbach the lead 10 minutes before he actually did so. Seaman's outstretched leg kept out the shot from Jorgen Pettersson's pass, but he had no chance when Effenberg delivered a ball in behind the flat-footed Andy Linighan for Juskowiak.
Arsenal had shown only glimpses of their striking quality for much of the first half, but Ian Wright made no mistake three minutes from the break. John Hartson headed on Merson's free-kick for a close-range strike. It was Wright's 15th goal in 17 European ties and his eighth this season.
Four minutes into the second half Arsenal brought the aggregate scores level with a splendid goal. An impressive array of passes finished with Merson pumping home a cracking 25-yard drive into the top right-hand corner.
Arsenal then pushed for the third that would have clinched the tie, but having come so far their play lacked a cutting edge and they created few clear-cut chances. Perhaps inevitably, they were caught, and 15 minutes from the end Effenberg was picked out perfectly by substitute Christian Hochstatter, and his shot left Seaman stranded.
Arsenal responded with Ray Parlour's raking cross which somehow eluded Hartson five yards from the far post. With seconds left Effenberg went for the kill, sending Martin Schneider racing away down the left and pulling the ball back for Juskowiak to complete a double.
Arsene Wenger, who takes over as Arsenal manager after Saturday's game against Sunderland, was at the game, watching the first half from the stands, but joining Rice on the touchline at the beginning of the second. Afterwards Rice disclosed that Wenger had suggested "one or two changes".
"One of them was to go to a back four and add extra width to the attack, and of course I took his advice. We've come out of this with a lot of credit and will bounce back in typical Arsenal style."
"Today we saw just how important Stefan Effenberg is for us," Bernd Krauss, the Mon-chengladbach coach, said. "Arsenal never gave up and when we went 2-1 behind, I thought it was going to be very tight."
Borussia Monchengladbach: Kamps; Andersson, Neun, Juskowiak, Effenberg, Schneider, Nielson (Wynhoff, 74), Passlack, Lupescu, Fournier (Stadler, h-t), Pettersson (Hochstatter, 61). Substitutes not used: Kastenmaier, Kaessmann (gk).
Arsenal: Seaman; Keown, Adams (Helder, 76), Linighan (Parlour, 64), Bould, Winterburn, Platt, Vieira, Merson, Wright, Hartson. Substitutes not used: Rose, Shaw, Lukic (gk).
Referee: A Lopez Nieto (Sp).
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