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Injury-time frustration for Wenger
Published : 18 Sep 2010 20:03:00
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger questioned the amount of injury time referee Phil Dowd awarded after the 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Saturday. Black Cats striker Darren Bent's late equaliser denied the Gunners a Premier League away win at the Stadium of Light. The fourth official had indicated four minutes would be added on but Bent's goal arrived five minutes into stoppage time to cancel out a fortuitous opener from Cesc Fabregas. "It was outside the four minutes," Wenger said on ESPN. "I know the referee can give more than four, it's a minimum of four minutes. But in the four minutes nothing happened to justify the extension of the time. "But I cannot do anything about that." It was a frustrating end for Arsenal, who had led after 13 minutes when Fabregas charged down an Anton Ferdinand clearance and saw the ball fly 35 yards and over a stranded Simon Mignolet. The visitors had Alex Song sent off for a second bookable offence after 55 minutes but they should have been out of sight when Tomas Rosicky blazed a penalty over. To add to the Gunners' woes Rosicky had come on as a first-half replacement for Fabregas, who Wenger confirmed had suffered a hamstring injury. "It's a hamstring. How bad it is I don't know," the Frenchman said. "I believe we battled very hard and in the second half we were the better team, but in first half we had difficulties. "With 10 men, we were dominating the game. It is frustrating, but we have a lot of positives to take." Speaking about Song's dismissal, he added: "I thought the the first yellow card was very harsh and on the second he makes an obstruction. We adapted quite well after that." Bent was delighted to snatch a deserved point for his side after they had created a host of chances, especially in the opening period. "To get that point at the end was just fantastic," he said. "We've got that spirit at home, we just need to do that away. When we play top teams at home it is always a difficult place to come. "We went after them first half, we had four or five chances and didn't take them. "We are definitely going in the right direction." Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was happy after the late breakthrough earned a point. Prior to Saturday, all four league goals the Black Cats have conceded had come in the closing stages of matches. But for the second successive home match, England striker Bent netted in the last minute and Bruce told ESPN: "It (conceding late goals) has happened to us repeatedly in the last 15 minutes - so it's jolly nice for it to happen to us. "You want one of those chances to fall to Benty and I thought he earned it because his work-rate was terrific. It's not easy on your own up front. "We worked extremely hard to be what we were. They got a fluke of a goal but I thought our first-half performance was excellent and we've got our reward."