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Henry shines in Arsenal victory
Bill Barclay | October 19, 2005 07:01 IST
Thierry Henry made a record-breaking return for Arsenal and Bayern Munich won their heavyweight duel with Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Playing his first match in almost six weeks, France striker Henry netted twice to surpass Ian Wright's Arsenal scoring record in a 2-0 win at Sparta Prague, the English club's third win out of three in Group B.
Like Arsenal, Bayern are almost assured of a place in the knockout phase. Goals by Sebastian Deisler and Martin Demichelis secured their 2-1 home victory over Serie A leaders Juventus, the German club's third straight win in Group A.
Ajax Amsterdam leapfrogged Thun into second place in Arsenal's group with a much-needed 2-0 home victory over the Swiss newcomers. Greek striker Ioannis Anastasiou scored twice.
Barcelona dropped their first points in Group C after being held 0-0 at Panathinaikos. Another of the favourites, Group D leaders Manchester United, had midfielder Paul Scholes sent off in a goalless draw at home to French club Lille.
Henry, sidelined since September 7 with a groin injury, was brought off the bench earlier than manager Arsene Wenger would have liked when Arsenal's Spanish striker Jose Antonio Reyes suffered an injury after only 15 minutes.
Within six minutes the Frenchman had produced a virtuoso strike. After controlling a long ball forward with the outside of his right boot, Henry pirouetted and curled a nonchalant shot into the far corner of the net with the same part of the same foot.
His second came after 74 minutes when he collected a Robert Pires pass and finished calmly to take his Arsenal goal tally to 186, surpassing Wright's record by one.
Arsenal, who have been struggling in the English Premier League, top Group B on nine points, five clear of Ajax on four points with Thun on three and Sparta Prague on one.
Four times European champions Bayern hit Juventus with two goals in the space of seven minutes in the first half in Munich.
Juventus goalkeeper Christian Abbiati should have kept out Deisler's opener after 32 minutes but allowed the German's shot to fly in off his knee. Soon after Argentine Demichelis headed in Bayern's second from a corner.
The Italian side, who have won all seven of their Serie A matches this season, were unusually ragged and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's close range finish in the last minute was only a consolation.
It was a sorry way for Juve's Alessandro Del Piero to mark his 100th appearance in European club competition but victory was extra-satisfying for Bayern who lost home and away to Juve in last season's group phase.
Bayern top Group A with nine points, three more than Juve, with Belgian side Club Bruges on three points after Bosko Balaban's 75th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 victory at bottom club Rapid Vienna.
Barcelona remain in control of Group C despite being held in Greece with striker Samuel Eto'o wasting several chances.
The Catalans have seven points, three clear of Udinese and Panathinaikos. Antonio Di Natale salvaged a 1-1 home draw for Udinese with an equaliser four minutes from time in Italy against Werder Bremen, who are bottom on one point.
Rather like England, Manchester United lacked their usual attacking verve without suspended striker Wayne Rooney and their point against Lille came at a heavy price.
Scholes will be suspended after being sent off after 63 minutes for a second yellow card and winger Ryan Giggs will also be sidelined after suffering a broken cheekbone in an aerial challenge.
Alex Ferguson's unbeaten team remain top of Group D with five points after second-placed Benfica, now on four points, drew 1-1 at Spain's Villarreal.
Manuel Fernandes's spectacular 77th-minute volley for Benfica cancelled out a Villarreal penalty converted four minutes earlier by Juan Riquelme.
Villarreal stay third on three points with Lille bottom on two.
UEFA Champions League 2005-06: The Complete Coverage