Arsenal vs FC Porto – UEFA Champoins League

Yesterday was the 2nd leg of pre quarter finals of UEFA Champions League at the Arsenal’s Emirates stadium – Arsenal vs FC Porto, with Porto going in the game with a 2-1 (home) 1st leg win. Arsenal needed to win with at least a 1-0 score line in their favour, to avoid penalties and make it to the Quarter Finals.

Arsenal had odds against them going into the game, and their captain Fabregas and playmaker Ramsey both out because of injury. Interestingly the game started with Arsenal quickly getting into their rhythm and starting to make short passes around. They got an early goal in the 9th minute when Arshavin’s header was saved by the goal keeper, but Bendtner managed to put the loose ball behind the line, for Arsenal’s first of the match.

Arsenal kept on pressuring the Porto defence, and after some amazing passes and few great moves, found their 2nd goal – wonderful play by Arshavin to cut into the 6 yard box and then low cross to Bendtner to tap in his and Arsenal’s 2nd goal of the match in the 26th minute. Arsenal from this point on were through to the quarter finals had the score line remained 2-0, but if Porto scored one goal than the game would have gone to extra time. Porto soon started to get their game together, and started making attacking moves, with their Brazilian forward Hulk getting behind the Arsenal defence several times, but unable to find the net. Porto dominated most of the play in the later part of the 1st half but could not beat the Arsenal’s defence. Half time.

2nd half started with Arsenal making few quick attacks. However, soon Porto started to hold the ball and tried to move forward. They came up with good passes and quick runs by their forwards, until they finally got close enough from a corner, but Nasri for Arsenal, was on the line to stop the ball from going in. It was the closest Porto had come to scoring in the game so far. Arsenal were pushed back and had to play defensively for a while. But they kept moving forward from counter attacks and their trade mark short passes. In 63rd minute, Nasri had the ball near the sideline in Porto’s half. He dribbled past 3 defenders with great skill and ease, then fired a low precise shot beating the goal keeper, the ball hitting the post and going in for one of the truly beautiful goal ! Taking the score line to 3 – 0. Just a minute after the goal, Porto got a corner. It was blocked by Arsenal defender, who cleared the ball to Arshavin. He made a very fast run across the field, made a precise pass to Eboue just outside the box, who found the net with easily, after fooling the goal keeper the other way. 4 -0 ! From defence to attack in a matter of seconds. Amazing football.

These two brilliant goals in a matter of 3 minutes shattered the moral of the Porto attack just when they were looking to come back in the game. Porto had one more chance with their forward Falcao’s shot on target, but unluckily straight on to the Arsenal keeper Almunia. The game carried on with Arsenal continuing to attack, with substitute Walcott making quick runs down the right side, but could not create any opportunity for goal. The game looked over, only until in the very last minute, when Eboue won a penalty for Arsenal. Bendtner stood up to take the shot and scored his first hat-trick with a low shot in the left corner of the goal. Final score: Arsenal 5 – FC Porto 0.

Though Porto had entered the game with odds in their favour, Arsenal’s midfield and defence performed their job perfectly, and never really gave Porto a chance to score. Arsenal showed their quality and character, and played top class coordinated football they are famous, and secured an impressive win to enter the quarter finals of the Champions league.

Today is the 2nd leg match between Manchester United and AC Milan, with Ronaldinho and Beckham playing for Milan ! It promises to be a thriller too !