HENRY GUARANTEES ARSENAL PROGRESSION
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp had grabbed two goals in as many second-half minutes to break a one-sided deadlock, but nervous defending conceded a goal to Alvaro Novo before Henry broke clear and guaranteed passage into the next group stage.
Pires grabbed the breakthrough goal with an hour of the match gone, and the first signs of frustration just beginning to creep into the voices of the crowd.
Freddie Ljungberg, lively throughout, broke down the right and tried to pick out Henry with a looping cross.
The Frenchman watched in vain as the ball flew over his head, but his French international team-mate was following up well and his well controlled shot on the half volley flew into the back of the net.
With the crowd rejoicing and the tension bursting like a balloon a second was soon forthcoming, and if the first owed something to fortune the second was a treasure of break-away football.
The pace of Giovanni van Bronkhorst earned a crossing chance and the Dutch star did not disappoint laying on a perfect ball for fellow countryman Bergkamp to head home superbly leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
Two clear goals had been the target, but rather than shutting up shop Arsenal then conceded, when poor marking and a great through ball from Alejandro Campano left Alvaro Novo a fine chance which he took with aplomb, rounding the onrushing Richard Wright and slotting into the empty net.
As the Gunners pressed, substitute Kanu forced a defender to knock across his goal, only for Henry to miss the chance to slide in and convert.
Pires then thought he had grabbed the key goal, only to rightly be ruled offside from a Wiltord cross, but The Gunners were not to be denied and Henry was inevitably the man to score.
The Frenchman raced onto a loose ball and ambled into the box, before beating the keeper with a quite nonchalant low drive into the bottom left corner of the net.
A first half had seen Arsenal well on top of a poor Mallorca side, but lacking the cutting edge.
This was certainly not down to a lack of quality in the front two, with Bergkamp and Henry seeing plenty of the ball, and suggesting that a good final ball would provide the goal the Gunners so desperately needed.
As early as the fourth minute Bergkamp was an inch away from collecting a ball that evaded everyone but drifted out of play, and the lively Freddie Ljungberg volleyed over when a ball fell kindly for him eight minutes in.
Henry's pace finally unlocked the defence, but it was largely due to a well-timed tackle by the simply awesome Patrick Vieira and a clever through ball from Ljungberg.
Henry's lightning turn of speed saw him race onto the ball, but, not knowing that he had far more time, the Frenchman took his shot early and skewed it wide across the goal.
Five minutes before half-time Arsenal increased the pressure and Bergkamp was adamant he should have won a penalty or free-kick when he got in a tangle with a Boavista star on the edge of the box.
In truth the Dutchman's histrionics may have been over the top for what appeared to be an accidental collision, but it seemed to fire Bergkamp and he almost scored a wonderful opener just two minutes later.
Henry picked the pocket of a careless defender, and Bergkamp latched onto the loose ball and beat his man with effortless skill.
Knowing the keeper had peeled off his line, the former Holland international launched a sublime chip that sailed agonisingly past the post.
Arsenal now progress into the second group stage and ar joined by Panathinaikos who overcame Schalke by 2-0.
Panathinaikos opened the scoring when Polish international Emanuel Olisadebe was picked out from a wonderful flighted Giorgious Karagounis free-kick and made no mistake in dispatching a header past Oliver Reck in the Schalke goal.
The all-important second came in the second period, when the Shalke defenders backed off and backed off as Michael Konstantinou ran at them, and the Greek international made no mistake with a crisp twenty yard drive.
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