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Reds edge Arsenal in six-goal thriller

Published: Wednesday 9 April 2008, 0.58CET
Liverpool FC 4-2 Arsenal FC (agg: 5-3) The home side struck twice in the last five minutes to book their place in the last four after a dramatic finale.
by John Mathews
from Liverpool
Reds edge Arsenal in six-goal thriller
Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres celebrate after the former's spot-kick ©Getty Images

Match statistics

LiverpoolArsenal

Goals scored4
 
2
Attempts on target5
 
4
Attempts off target5
 
2
Corners5
 
2
Offsides4
 
4
Fouls committed11
 
9
Yellow cards0
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Matches

8 April 2008

Chelsea
2-0
Fenerbahçe
Liverpool
4-2
Arsenal

9 April 2008

Barcelona
1-0
Schalke
Man. United
1-0
Roma
 
Published: Wednesday 9 April 2008, 0.58CET

Reds edge Arsenal in six-goal thriller

Liverpool FC 4-2 Arsenal FC (agg: 5-3) The home side struck twice in the last five minutes to book their place in the last four after a dramatic finale.

Liverpool FC stormed into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the third time in four years after a stunning finish to the game brought three goals in eight minutes and a disappointing end to Arsenal FC's campaign.

Frenetic pace
Liverpool looked on course for victory as goals from Sami Hyypiä and Fernando Torres, wiping out Abou Diaby's 13th-minute opener, left them leading going into the final minutes. Emmanuel Adebayor turned the tie on its head with six minutes remaining after a sensational run from Theo Walcott, but Arsenal's away-goal advantage was fleeting as Steven Gerrard converted a penalty moments later before Ryan Babel completed the scoring in added time.

Diaby strike
It left the home support in raptures, yet they had been quietened early on as the visitors began positively following the 1-1 first-leg draw in London. Adebayor appeared particularly threatening and Arsenal's attacking approach was richly rewarded when Diaby broke down the inside right channel, collected Aleksandr Hleb's pass and fired low towards Pepe Reina's near post. The goalkeeper seemed to have it covered but the ball cannoned off his knee and into the net.

Delayed reaction
Stunned by their dream start, Arsenal's fans at the opposite end did not immediately realise their side had moved ahead on aggregate, but that soon changed and they had more to shout about in the opening half-hour. The home team, marginal favourites at kick-off, looked anything but. Nervy and unable to retain possession, Reina came close to spilling a dangerous Gaël Clichy cross, his travails exemplifying Liverpool's struggle to settle.

Hyypiä header
Yet by the 30th minute the Reds were level. In their first serious assault on Arsenal's goal, Hyypiä escaped the attentions of Philippe Senderos to meet Gerrard's centre with a firm header, beating Cesc Fabregas standing on the goalline as it went in off the post. Anfield erupted and Liverpool grew in confidence. Arsenal had a further setback just before the break when Mathieu Flamini was carried off with an ankle injury, though the contest was all-square at the interval.

Crouch close
Liverpool set about changing that after the restart, Peter Crouch troubling Manuel Almunia with a low drive to get the crowd fired up. The towering England striker then almost inadvertently steered in Fábio Aurélio's wayward shot with his heel, following good work down the right flank by Torres as Rafael Benítez's men stepped it up. Arsenal were no longer the dominant force, and the match swung firmly in Liverpool's favour in the 69th minute when Crouch nodded on a long clearance by Reina and Torres expertly turned into space and fired the ball high past Almunia into the top corner – a stunning goal worthy of the occasion.

Late drama
It was merely the start of the drama. Arsenal briefly put themselves in pole position when Walcott sprinted past four Liverpool players before teeing up Adebayor. A minute later the initiative was wrested from Arsène Wenger's team when Kolo Touré was adjudged to have brought down Babel and Gerrard converted from the spot. Substitute Babel then calmed frayed nerves two minutes into added time, racing clear on the counterattack and sliding the ball past Almunia to cap an incredible evening.

Last updated: 09/04/08 10.14CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15107/match=301910/postmatch/report/index.html#reds+edge+arsenal+goal+thriller

Lineups

liverpool

Liverpool

arsenal

Arsenal

25
ReinaPepe Reina (GK)
24
AlmuniaManuel Almunia (GK)
4
HyypiäSami Hyypiä
Goal30
2
DiabyAbou Diaby
Goal13
Substitution72
8
GerrardSteven Gerrard (C)
Goal85
4
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas
9
TorresFernando Torres
Goal69
Substitution87
5
K. TouréKolo Touré
Yellow Card85
12
Fábio AurélioFábio Aurélio
6
SenderosPhilippe Senderos
Yellow Card17
14
Xabi AlonsoXabi Alonso
10
GallasWilliam Gallas (C)
15
CrouchPeter Crouch
Substitution78
13
HlebAleksandr Hleb
18
KuytDirk Kuyt
Substitution90+3
16
FlaminiMathieu Flamini
Substitution42
20
MascheranoJavier Mascherano
22
ClichyGaël Clichy
23
CarragherJamie Carragher
25
AdebayorEmmanuel Adebayor
Goal84
37
ŠkrtelMartin Škrtel
27
EbouéEmmanuel Eboué
Substitution72

Substitutes

30
ItandjeCharles Itandje (GK)
1
LehmannJens Lehmann (GK)
6
John Arne RiiseJohn Arne Riise
Substitution87
11
Van PersieRobin van Persie
Substitution72
10
VoroninAndriy Voronin
17
SongAlex Song
11
BenayounYossi Benayoun
19
Gilberto SilvaGilberto Silva
Substitution42
17
ArbeloaÁlvaro Arbeloa
Substitution90+3
26
BendtnerNicklas Bendtner
19
BabelRyan Babel
Substitution78
Goal90+2
31
HoyteJustin Hoyte
21
LucasLucas
32
WalcottTheo Walcott
Substitution72

Coach

Rafael Benítez (ESP) Arsène Wenger (FRA)

Referee

Peter Fröjdfeldt (SWE)

Assistant referees

Stefan Wittberg (SWE), Henrik Andren (SWE)

Fourth official

Martin Ingvarsson (SWE)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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