Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal's "momentum" was maintained following a dramatic late equaliser by captain William Gallas.
Arsenal manager frustrated after Kiev draw
KIEV // Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal's "momentum" was maintained following a dramatic late equaliser by captain William Gallas which rescued a point from their Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. The Gunners boss may have been left less than impressed by both the timekeeping of Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo and the failure to protect winger Theo Walcott from being "destroyed" by left-back Andriy Nesmachniy, the Kiev captain.
But it was at least a point gained if not the three from a first victory in the former Soviet Union which they had came for. Nevertheless, Wenger's men are now unbeaten from four matches, having come into last night's encounter on the back of three straight wins, netting 11 goals without reply, to recover from the setback of losing at Fulham. There is little respite, though, as the next Barclays Premier League fixture will be another away trip to Bolton for Saturday's early evening kick-off.
"We are in a good momentum and it was important to at least come back from Ukraine with a point, even if it should have been three," said Wenger. "Overall, this result does not interrupt our momentum." Arsenal controlled the first half and should have been ahead before the break ? but Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, twice, and Cesc Fabregas all missed good chances. Kiev looked to have made them pay a heavy price when, on 64 minutes, Arsenal fullback Bacary Sagna was adjudged to have pushed over Ognjen Vukojevic and Ismael Bangoura scored from the penalty spot.
Then, just as time looked to be running out, Gallas netted from close range following a low cross by Walcott. Wenger reflected: "The game is a mixture of frustration and relief. "The game should be over at half-time because we had clear chances in the first half, but it is a relief because with three minutes to go we were 1-0 down. "I felt our level dropped in the second half and we did not create as many chances as we would have liked to.
"We feel we have lost two points." Wenger launched a stern attack on the Spanish referee, who he confronted on the pitch following the final whistle. "I wanted to understand how we had only three minutes of injury time, and then only played one minute," said Wenger. "Every referee looks to have a different computer to calculate the in time and still I do not know and really understand how it works.
"It looks like it is through the inspiration of the referee and he could not explain it. He just said it was enough." Wenger continued: "When we got to 1-1, there was no game any more. "We were on top, they looked very tired, but the game was finished because of the interruptions for injuries and stoppages. "You could feel the game was there for the taking, but we had no more opportunity to play."
Wenger added: "The referee should also have sent off the left-back three times at least during the game because he destroyed Walcott. "And it is the same referee who gave Kiev a penalty which you [Ukrainian press] did not complain about." Dynamo coach Yuri Semin was happy enough with that point ? which is already better than the whole of their previous European campaign for Kiev, who lost all six ties last season.
He said: "This is a good start in the Champions League and the team did well, so overall I am satisfied. "If I was told before the game that we would have a draw, I would have been very pleased.
Group E Celtic 0 AaB Aalborg 0 Man Utd 0 Villarreal 0 Group F Lyon 2 Fiorentina 2 Steaua Bucharest 0 Bayern Munich 1 Group G Dynamo Kiev 1 Arsenal 1 Porto 3 Fenerbahce 1 Group H Juventus 1 Zenit St Petersburg 0 Real Madrid 2 BATE Borisov 0 * PA Sport