Gunners through despite defeat
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
It was The Gunners fourth consecutive defeat - all by the same margin - but the setback in Germany was compensated by Auxerre's loss to PSV Eindhoven.
Thierry Henry's free-kick fired the visitors ahead but a Gilberto Silva own-goal and Tomas Rosicky penalty earned Dortmund the points, and the German champions are now favourites to top Group A.
Arsenal were living on the edge in the first half, despite Gunners chief Arsene Wenger handing Robert Pires his first start since recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.
The French maestro had barely stretched his legs by the time Dortmund could have been in front after just 70 seconds.
The visiting defence was split wide open enabling Lars Ricken to scamper clear but the German's shot rattled back off the post.
The woodwork again rescued Arsenal on 14 minutes when Jan Koller's glancing header rebounded off the inside of the post with David Seaman stranded.
But minutes later, The Gunners had poked their noses in front with Henry's expertly curled free-kick, although question marks will be raised against Dortmund keeper Jens Lehmann's positioning.
Ricken then dragged wide while Ewerthon audaciously attempted to chip Seaman. At the opposite end Patrick Vieira's effort skewed wide off the outside of his boot.
On 38 minutes, Dortmund deservedly drew level via a goal reminiscent of Gianfranco Zola's for Chelsea against Arsenal earlier in the season.
Rosicky's wicked free-kick clipped the head of Gilberto Silva and by the time Seaman reacted, the ball had crept in off the post.
Arsenal responded with Sylvain Wiltord twice coming close to sticking his side back in front, as first, he curled wide and then unleashed a stinging drive which Lehmann clasped to his body.
After the interval, the game remained open with neither side seemingly content to settle for the point that would secure their passage into the second round, given events in Eindhoven.
Just past the hour mark came the turning point as giant striker Koller showed a deceptive turn of pace to beat Seaman to the ball.
The Czech forward poked the ball past the veteran keeper, who caught Koller with his trailing leg, although the Dortmund man made an almighty meal of the challenge.
The referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Koller's compatriot Rosicky dispatched the perfect penalty.
Arsenal responded immediately with Henry's downward header pounced on by Lehmann.
Gunners boss Wenger chucked on Kolo Toure, Nwankwo Kanu and Edu at sporadic intervals in the second half in search of an equaliser but to no avail confirming Arsenal's fourth defeat in a row - their worst run in almost 20 years.
Elsewhere in the group, PSV Eindhoven crushed Auxerre's prospects of sneaking into the second round with a convincing 3-0 triumph against nine men.
Auxerre's highly-rated defender Philippe Mexes was sent off after just 26 minutes for two bookable offences and eight minutes later, Arnold Bruggink slotted PSV into the lead.
Just moments after the interval, PSV extended their advantage when Dennis Rommedahl converted Mateja Kezman's cross and on 51 minutes Olivier Kapo received his marching orders.
Midway through the half, Arjan Robben grabbed a deserved goal, curling the ball inside the post, handing PSV the incentive to claim third spot in the group and a Uefa Cup berth.
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