Arsenal FC's players were celebrating a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after conjuring up a 5-0 rout of FC Porto without the help of their inspirational captain Cesc Fàbregas.
Fàbregas's hamstring injury ruled him out of what looked a particularly difficult second-leg match after Porto's 2-1 victory last month – leaving many Gunners fans fearing the worst.
Instead, a comfortable passage to the last eight was secured with a hat-trick from Nicklas Bendtner, who struck in the tenth and 25th minutes, before second-half goals from Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboué, along with a 91st-minute penalty from the Danish international, completed the triumph.
"It was quite difficult tonight, we had to win if we wanted to go through," defender Bacary Sagna said. "But we were able to score quite quickly and the game became a bit easier for us. We kept pressurising and that was important. You have to congratulate the team for what we did."
Sagna also felt the victory underlined the fact that despite skipper Fàbregas's importance to the club, Arsenal are not a one-man side. "We are a team first," he said. "It's not about one player, even though Cesc is very talented.
"Tonight we showed that everyone can play. Of course Cesc is welcome in the team – he's the captain, which means a lot, and he's a very good player. But we're approximately 25 players at Arsenal, so we play as a team."
Arsenal's success was certainly something to savour for Eboué, who came on as a second-half substitute to score their fourth goal on the break, and then win the stoppage-time penalty converted by Bendtner.
"We knew it would be difficult because Porto are a great side, they play good football, they're technically strong and they're quick," the versatile Eboué said. "But we wanted to score goals and we managed get five. I'm pleased to have scored, and also to hear the support from the fans."
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