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Arsenal escape to win against Fulham
August 12, 2007 22:06 IST
Striker Robin van Persie converted an 83rd minute penalty and Alexander Hleb struck a 90th minute winner to give Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
A goalkeeping howler by Jens Lehmann gifted Fulham the lead the first minute, the German's fluffed clearance leaving new Northern Ireland striker David Healy a tap-in on his competitive debut.
Fulham, who lost keeper Antti Niemi to injury in the warm-up and had to deploy reserve Tony Warner, looked to have secured a remarkable win until Kolo Toure went down under a challenge by Carlos Bocanegra and Dutchman Van Persie scored from the spot.
Fired up by the equaliser, the hosts piled on the pressure and were rewarded when Belarus midfielder Hleb rifled home the winner off a ball from Spaniard Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal, now without Thierry Henry [Images] after the talismanic striker's move to Barcelona, were also missing two current forwards through injury, Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor and Croatia's Eduardo da Silva.
"Better late than never," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told BBC radio. "We were physically and mentally strong and didn't give up.
"We had a bad start and after that played against a very good Fulham side who could have scored a second goal -- and then it would have been nearly impossible.
Looking ahead, he said: "That kind of result can change a season for a team, and certainly strengthen the belief."