Although Arsenal dominated possession they had to wait until three minutes arfter the interval to make the breakthrough. Gilberta Silva was the hero for the Gunners, bursting into the penalty area to receive Sylvain Wiltord’s pass and firing past Cool.
Thereafter. Arsene Wenger’s side controlled possession without ever really threatening to emulate last week’s 4-0 away success at PSV. Auxerre’s best chance came when Benjamin Mwaruwari suprised David Seaman with a long range shot which rebounded off the crossbar.
The win almost guarantees Arsenal a place in the next phase, while for Auxerre, a place in the UEFA Cup looks the summit of their European ambitions for this season. One minor concern for Weger was the sight of Thierry Henry limping off with a tight hamstring, which may rule the French striker out of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Sunderland.
In the Group’s other game, Borussia Dortmmund proiduced their best performance of the season to overcome a disappointing PSV side 3-1 in the Phillips Stadium.
Tomas Rosicky was at the heart of Borussia’s 3-1, setting up Jan Koller to open the scoring on 21 minutes. he Czech international turned from provider to scorer midway through the second half, embarking on a marvellous run from the half-way line before poking the ball past Waterreus.
Five minutes later, PSV dragged themselves back into the game courtesy of Remco van der Schaaf’s 30-yard piledriver. However, PSV’s hopes of a point were dashed in injury time when when substitute Amoroso added a third for Dortmund.
Valencia maintained their 100 per cent record with a 6-2 hammering of Basle. Two goals within the space of the opening 12 minutes from John Carew set Rafael Benitez’s side on their way, after which, it was just a matter of how many goals the Spanish league leaders would rack up.
Four more came through Fabio Aurelio, Ruben Baraja, Pablo Aimar and Mista, while Basle responded with two of their own through Julio Rossi and Hakan Yakin. The win virtually seals Valencia’s place in the last 16 while Basle battle it out with Liverpool for the coveted runners-up spot.
At Anfield, Liverpool returned to winning ways after a stuttering start to the competition. Following their opening day defeat to Valencia and last week’s draw with Basel, Gerard Houllier’s men knew they required a win at home to Spartak Moscow if their Champions League campaign was not to become derailed at the first hurdle. A 5-0 win over a disapppointing Spartak side was just reward for a sparkling display of attacking foootball from The Reds.
Emile Heskey opened the scoring with a composed finish after John Arne Riise’s defence-splitting ball. Bruno Cheyrou, with his first goal for the club, added a second after being put in by the impressive Danny Murphy and Sami Hyypia added a third midway through the first-half when he rose unchallenged to head home Murphy’s free-kick.
The second-half was something of a disappointment but Liverpool managed to extend their lead late on when Salif Diao headed home a Heskey cross and a fifth came in the closing minute when Owen found Heskey and the England striker fired past the hapless Cherchesov.
The much needed win takes Liverpool above Basle on goal difference and with their next fixture, a trip to Moscow in three weeks time, Houllier can look forward with a degree of optimism to a place in the second stage.
It could have been worse for Vicente del Bosque’s side as they trailed AEK 3-1 at one stage.
The Greek side went ahead on 6 minutes though the impressive Vassilis Tsartas who scored direct from a free-kick.
Zinedine Zidane drew Real level on 15 minutes with a well-struck left-foot shot from just inside the penalty area before Christos Maladenis headed AEK back in front on 25 minutes. Three minutes later when Tsartas’ free-kick was nodded in by Demis Nikolaidis. Real reduced the arrears six minutes before the break as an unmarked Zidane prodded home a Luis Figo corner. On the hour mark, Guti ensured a point for Real, but the plaudits, if not all three points went to the Greek side.
The other match in Group C was something of a disappointment, with Roma eventually running out 1-0 winners, courtesy of a late goal from Antonio Cassano.
he Italian side laboured to the win, especially sicne Genk were reduced to ten men early in the match when keeper Jan Moons was sent off for handling the ball outside his area.
The win lifts Roma to second place in the group but AEK’s point at home to Real Madrid shows that theywill not have things all their own way in what promises to be a tight run-in.
The biggest shock of the night came at the San Siro where previously unbeaten Inter went down 2-1 to French champions Lyon.
Eric Carriere set Govou free on 21 minutes and the striker slipped the ball past Francesco Toldo. Asecond for the French side followed when prolific striker Sonnny Anderson launched a rocket past Toldo after again been fed by Carriers.
Although Fabio Cannavaro pulled one back for Inter, but despite late pressure Lyon held on for the win to move to the top of the group. For Inter, the possibility of failing to reach the next stage, cannot be discounted.
In the group’s other game, Ajax were held to a goalless draw by Rosenborg. Ronald Koeman’s Ajax side are likely to view this as two points dropped. They slip to third in the group while for Rosenborg, an early exit looks inevitable.