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Bridge breaks Arsenal's hearts

Published: Wednesday 7 April 2004, 0.40CET
Arsenal FC 1-2 Chelsea FC (agg: 2-3) Wayne Bridge strikes for Chelsea to decide a dramatic derby.
Published: Wednesday 7 April 2004, 0.40CET

Bridge breaks Arsenal's hearts

Arsenal FC 1-2 Chelsea FC (agg: 2-3) Wayne Bridge strikes for Chelsea to decide a dramatic derby.

By Trevor Haylett at Highbury

The all-London UEFA Champions League quarter-final ended with Chelsea FC triumphant as a Wayne Bridge goal with three minutes remaining of a tense and unrelenting struggle denied Arsenal FC their dream of European glory.

Late drama
Just before that Eidur Gudjohnsen had seen a shot cleared off the line as Chelsea came on strong to earn a meeting with AS Monaco FC. The result gives Arsenal more frustration after their FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester United FC at the weekend and ends their unbeaten run of 17 games against their London rivals

Duo fit
Despite an initial prognosis last weekend that a knee injury would keep him out for three weeks, José Antonio Reyes was declared fit to join Thierry Henry in attack. Fredrik Ljungberg, another casualty of Saturday's game, also started, while Ashley Cole returned after missing the last two games.

Surprise selection
Chelsea's selection also threw up something of a surprise with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen forming an attacking spearhead for the first time in the competition. Mario Melchiot came in at right-back, enabling William Gallas to replace the suspended Marcel Desailly in central defence

Lampard effort
The visitors landed the first shot on target as Frank Lampard sent a raking drive straight at Jens Lehmann and in little phases the visitors showed a good understanding, Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen operating on a similar wavelength.

Henry chances
But it was Arsenal's forward momentum that began to dazzle the most, as Henry gathered Edu's pass but shot over. Then when Reyes found Henry with a delightful pass in the 19th minute the Frenchman bent his effort beyond the far post.

Duff close
Two minutes later Damien Duff had spirited away from a couple of challenges and found himself well inside the area with only the goalkeeper to beat but missed the target.

Home pressure
Arsenal enjoyed a period of sustained pressure just before the interval in which Ashley Cole's overlapping from left-back proved irresistible. Both he and Henry had shots charged down while Robert Pires came close with a header.

Reyes registers
Gudjohnsen answered with a header that was also directed wide but Arsenal were soon in front in the tie for the first time. Lauren's cross from the right was perfect for Henry to nod back across goal. Ljungberg could not take advantage but Reyes arrived on cue.

Grønkjær arrives
It was the first goal Chelsea had conceded away from home in the competition and it persuaded Claudio Ranieri to introduce Jesper Grønkjær at the break in place of Scott Parker. And within six minutes they were back on equal terms.

Scores level
The home team had repelled two or three attacks but their final clearance went only as far as Claude Makelele who shot hard and true. Lehmann was unable to field it cleanly and Lampard, following up, tucked the loose ball away.

Unremitting struggle
After that the game paused for breath. It had been an incredible, unremitting struggle and the capacity crowd were enthralled by it all. Another clearance made under pressure invited Lampard to add a speculative second goal but this time he found only the side-netting, though it was a fine effort.

Final act
As time ticked away, a surprise came as Henry was withdrawn for Bergkamp while Joe Cole and Hernán Crespo arrived for Chelsea. And the visitors had the most energy, as first Jole Cole found Gudjohnsen to go close, and then moments later came the dramatic end.

Last updated: 07/04/04 21.44CET

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