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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Fabregas scores late on but misses second leg

On Wednesday, Arsenal welcomed Barcelona to the Emirates for their first leg of the quarter finals of the Champions League and what a night it was!
With Arsenal the underdogs against the Holders from 2009 they needed a good start. They did not get that though.
Barcelona you could see were up for it as they put early pressure on the Gunners, but could not put any of them in the back of the net. One of the great chances fell to Ibrahimovic who skied his effort over the bar but he was offside anyway. He got another great chance after the Arsenal defence had misjudged the pass but he could only stear his shot into the side netting.

Arsenal could not get the ball out of their own half. Ibrahimovic kept on getting shots out but Almunia kept on making great saves. Xavi got a great chance as well but somehow Almunia dived across the face of the goal to keep yet another effort out. The rebound came out to Dani Alves and his shot took a deflection and Song had to head the ball clear. The ball fell to Messi who volleyed the ball but Song managed to block again. The attack was then over and the Barcelona manager must of been thinking how the score was not 1-0.

Arsenal finally managed to get their first shot of the game when Nasri shot from just inside the box but the ball just fizzed wide.

Barcelona kept getting forward and Messi looked to of had a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Clichy but the referee said no.

Eboue then had to come on for Arshavin because he was injured.
Bendtner got a great chance minutes later hitting the post but the linesman already had his flag up for offside.

Barcelona were still looking for that away goal when Fabregas fouled Busquets. Even though it was a fair challenge Fabregas was booked and picked up his 3rd yellow card of the campaign. He now misses the second leg in Spain.

The score at half time was 0-0.

The first half started off greatly for Barcelona after Puyol sent a great ball down field to Ibrahimovic who lifted the ball over the oncoming Almunia to make the score 1-0. That was his first goal in England.

Arsenal were all of a sudden sprung back to life after the goal and a great chance fell to Bendtner after Clichy's cross but his header was kept out by Victor Valdes.
Barcelona managed to clear the ball after and went on the counter attack. Dani Alves clipped the ball into the box but Xavi missed the header when he should of scored just like Bendtner.

Barcelona then came on the attack again and Alves put the ball over the Arsenal defence right into the path of Ibrahimovic who blasted the ball past Almunia for a simple second goal of the night for him.

After the goal Arsenal brought on Walcott for Sagna to give more pace to the game. Not that there was not enough already.
With Fabio Capello watching from the stands he needed to make an impression and he did with a goal. Bendtner played a lovely through ball for Walcott to run onto. He got the ball and side footed it past Valdes.
Then the star of the show Zlatan Ibrahimovic made way for Thierry Henry who got a tremendous applause. He was then greeted with a boo when he took his first touch.

Walcott was still running down the right hand side when he delivered a ball which was deflected into the path of Bendtner who headed the ball to Fabregas. Just as he was about to let rip on the shot Puyol made contact with him and Cesc went down. Penalty to Arsenal and Puyol was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity.
Fabregas took the penalty and smashed it past Valdes to make the score 2-2.

Worrying signs though as Fabregas limped back to the half way line. He received treatment and Arsenal having made all 3 substitutions had to carry on for the next minute with 10 men. Fabregas wanted to continue though and came back on.

Both sides were still working hard though to get a winner but no one could put the ball into the back of the net.

The score finished 2-2 and sets up the second leg at the Nou Camp very nicely. Arsenal will miss Fabregas (broken leg) and Gallas and Arshavin (Calf strain) for the next leg though.

My Man of the Match: Walcott

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