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Nine-man Arsenal draw in Eindhoven


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Henry's equalizer means nine-man Arsenal are still on course to progress

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (Reuters) -- PSV Eindhoven reached the Champions League knockout stage with a 1-1 home draw against Arsenal who had Lauren and skipper Patrick Vieira sent off Wednesday.

PSV, who lost 1-0 at Arsenal in their Group E opener in September, took an eighth minute lead through defender Andre Ooijer but were pegged back by Thierry Henry's 31st minute equalizer.

However, the point earned by PSV put them into the last 16 on 10 points, courtesy of a 2-2 draw for Panathinaikos in their game at Rosenborg Trondheim.

Arsenal's poor disciplinary record then returned with a vengeance as Cameroon defender Lauren got a red card in the 65th minute and Vieira was dismissed in the 78th.

It was the 10th dismissal of Frenchman Vieira's Arsenal career.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted that neither player could complain about their sending-offs but declined an invitation to criticize their poor discipline.

"I thought we played well. I felt if we had been able to finish with 11 men on the field we would have won the game but the ref decided the other way.

"But I am pleased with the spirit of my team. Even down to nine men we battled through."

The decisive final matches for the other qualifying slot from Group E will pitch Arsenal against Rosenborg at Highbury and Panathinaikos against PSV in Athens on December 7.

Wenger said he was confident even a depleted Arsenal could secure the required three points against Rosenborg.

"We showed great strength tonight and now it is in our hands," the Frenchman said. "We don't expect any favours from PSV -- if we don't beat Rosenborg we can not complain about anything."

PSV coach Guus Hiddink voiced his delight at how the evening had turned out.

"It was tough when Panathanaikos were leading 2-1 in the other match and there was still a chance we could lose but we have made it and I can't praise my players highly enough."

PSV, thrashed 4-0 at home by Arsenal four years ago, created the first danger after seven minutes when Jefferson Farfan's shot was blocked.

Mark van Bommel took the resulting corner and Ooijer nodded home totally unmarked at the near post.

Despite a nagging Achilles tendon problem, Henry came close to levelling after full back Wilfred Bouma failed to clear the ball in his own area, but the France international could only find the side netting.

However, he made no mistake minutes later, working a one-two with Fredrik Ljungberg and firing home a deft back-heel from the Sweden midfielder as he drifted in from the right flank.

The game tilted PSV's way three minutes later, though, when Lauren collected his second yellow card for a bad challenge on Lee Young-Pyo.

And after Alex wasted PSV's best chance of the second half from close range, Vieira was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence -- the 56th red card of manager Arsene Wenger's eight-year reign.

It could have been worse as Lehmann prevented a late Dutch win with a fingertip save to a shot from Park Ji-sung.

Helstad double

Substitute midfielder Thorstein Helstad scored his second goal in the 76th minute to give Rosenborg a 2-2 draw with Panathinaikos.

The Norwegian side, playing in Europe's premier club competition for the ninth time in the past 10 years, are certain to finish last in the four-team group and will thus miss the consolation of a UEFA cup spot.

Helstad came on in the 56th minute for Oyvind Storflor and scored his first goal 12 minutes later, matching Michael Konstantinou's goal for the Greek side in the 16th.

Just three minutes after Helstad's goal, Rudolf Scacel made it 2-1 for Panathinaikos.

The game lured a near-capacity crowd of 20,591 at Lerkendal Stadium, the northernmost Champions League venue.


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