FREDRIK LJUNGBERG netted a late penalty to deny brave Ritzing a
pre-season victory in deepest Austria.
The home side, who play in the Fourth Division, raced into a two-goal
lead against an Arsenal side still missing Thierry Henry, Patrick
Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord, Dennis Bergkamp, Ashley Cole and Robert Pires.
But the introduction of experienced internationals such as Ljungberg,
Sol Campbell and Gilberto Silva turned the match after the break.
Manager Arsène Wenger was an unfortunate absentee as he opted to stay in
London after suffering a stomach bug on the eve of the 10-day training
And assistant boss Pat Rice selected a relatively inexperienced team,
especially in attack, to start the first friendly game of the tour.
Jerome Thomas and Jeremie Aliadiere were paired up front, while John
Halls and Kolo Toure occupied midfield roles.
But it was Ritzing who came racing out of the blocks and after a
positive start they took a deserved lead on 18 minutes when Oliver El
Senosy beat Pascal Cygan and supplied Roland Sebasta who fired in from
the edge of the area.
Thomas went close to grabbing an equaliser, but home keeper Christian
Stibl made a brilliant save.
And it was soon 2-0 as El Senosy made another big impact, this time
turning neatly on the edge of the box before looping a shot over Stuart
Taylor with the aid of a deflection off Martin Keown.
Thomas again had the best chance of responding, but fired over from Ray
Parlour's neat lay-off, while Edu's 25-yard free-kick curled wide of the
Rice made a handful of changes at half-time and then on the hour mark,
with Philippe Senderos coming on and looking impressive in the
centre back role.
Yaya Toure was also lively as he supplied a number of moments of magic
and Sebastian Svard added strength in the midfield.
The recovery began on 59 minutes when Cygan powered in a header at the
far post from Edu's pinpoint corner.
From that moment, it was all Arsenal, with Svard having a long-range
header well saved and Aliadiere also denied by some inspired
It looked as if tiny Ritzing would hold on for the win, especially when
Sol Campbell's headed goal was chalked off for a push.
But with just a couple of minutes remaining, Yaya Toure skipped through
the centre and won a penalty after being downed in the box.
Ljungberg took responsibility and calmly chipped the ball down the
middle as the keeper chose to dive to his left.
Click here to find out a little bit more about our opponents, Ritzing.