Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

English Premiership

Advantage Arsenal

PARIS, February 1 -Arsenal came from behind to edge Barcelona 2-1 in a thrilling Champions League last 16 first leg match on Wednesday, while Shakhtar Donetsk stunned Roma with a 3-2 victory in Rome.

 

Arsenal, bidding to avenge their 6-3 aggregate loss to Barca in last season’s quarter-finals, fell behind to a David Villa goal mid-way through the first half at the Emirates.

They appeared destined for defeat until Robin van Persie drew them level in the 78th minute and five minutes later substitute Andrey Arshavin rolled in the winner to put them in the driving seat ahead of the March 8 return leg.

"They are the best side in football’s history in my opinion," said Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.

"That is one game and this is half-time. It is a nice victory but that’s all. If we show it here and not at Camp Nou, it is nothing for us."

Arsenal were completely over-run in the first 20 minutes of last season’s quarter-final first leg, but they threatened first this time around when van Persie’s half-volley was well saved by Victor Valdes.

The visitors quickly assumed the upper hand, though, and on 26 minutes Villa put them ahead.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Having spurned a fine opportunity moments earlier, Lionel Messi reprieved himself with a neat through-ball for Villa, who homed in on goal before posting the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Messi had a close-range header ruled out for a contentious offside and Arsenal were perhaps fortunate to reach the half-time break only a goal behind.

The hosts attacked with purpose at the start of the second period but it was Barca who menaced first, with Messi finding the side-netting after Arsenal’s defence had been caught napping.

It was from an error in the Catalan rearguard, however, that Arsenal drew level.

There appeared little danger as van Persie latched onto Gael Clichy’s cute dinked pass down the inside-left channel, but the Dutchman cracked in a half-volley that caught Valdes by surprise to sneak inside the near post.

Moments later the Gunners were ahead, Samir Nasri collecting Fabregas’s clever pass on the right and calmly picking out Arshavin, who crisply tucked the ball into the bottom-right corner with a first-time shot.

At the Stadio Olimpico, a slow-burning first half sparked into life with four goals in the space of just 17 minutes.

Simone Perrotta headed home from Rodrigo Taddei’s cross to put Roma ahead in the 28th minute but a deflected shot from Jadson brought Shakhtar level within a minute.

Brazilian winger Douglas Costa curled in from the edge of the box in the 36th minute to give the visitors the lead before Luiz Adriano made it 3-1 by side-footing home from Costa’s pass four minutes before half-time.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

France international Jeremy Menez roused hopes of a home comeback when he bent a glorious strike into the top corner on the hour but the Ukrainians held on to secure victory on their first ever last-16 appearance in the competition.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved