Wenger hits out at Braga tactics

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Arsene Wenger accused Braga of using "every trick in the book" as Arsenal went down 2-0 in Portugal to leave them still not guaranteed a place in the last 16 of the Champions League - and set to miss captain Cesc Fabregas for a couple of weeks with a hamstring problem.

The Gunners - beaten by rivals Tottenham on Saturday - had been top of Group H and thrashed the Portuguese side 6-0 in their opening fixture. However, a much-changed side never hit top gear against stubborn opposition.

"We played against a team who refused to play and tried to catch us on the counter attack. They used every single trick in the book to slow the game down," Wenger lamented. "We were not sharp enough to create clear-cut chances."

Indeed, Arsenal were denied a cast-iron penalty by Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai when substitute Carlos Vela was fouled by Alberto Rodriguez before Braga scored two late breakaway goals from Brazil striker Matheus to leave Wenger's men needing to beat Partizan Belgrade at home in a fortnight to make sure of a place in the knockout stages.

He added: "Saturday's result had no knock-on effect, because I had seven players who did not play, and I had to rest some players.

"I think we had enough on the pitch to make a goal, but football is like that when the other team focuses not to play.

"Everybody is free to play the way they like, and they won. We could play 10 matches like that and win eight or nine times, but tonight was the one we didn't."

Wenger was in no doubt his side should have been given a spot-kick and hit out at the use of two extra officials by UEFA.

"It is difficult to understand how we did not get a penalty," he said. "The five referees is not an answer to the problem.

"We were caught when Eboue was just down on a bad tackle which went unpunished. The turning point was the penalty - I still cannot understand how Carlos Vela got a yellow card. It remains a complete mystery. The referee had some surprising decisions."

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