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Alert Falcao earns Porto advantage

Published: Wednesday 17 February 2010, 22.30CET
FC Porto 2-1 Arsenal FC
Falcao's opportunist strike gave Porto the edge in the tie after Sol Campbell had headed an equaliser.
by Chris Burke
from Estádio do Dragão

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Match statistics

PortoArsenal

Goals scored2
 
1
Attempts on target6
 
4
Attempts off target4
 
4
Corners2
 
9
Offsides0
 
0
Fouls committed20
 
11
Yellow cards4
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 17 February 2010, 22.30CET

Alert Falcao earns Porto advantage

FC Porto 2-1 Arsenal FC
Falcao's opportunist strike gave Porto the edge in the tie after Sol Campbell had headed an equaliser.

Sol Campbell enjoyed a goalscoring return to the UEFA Champions League, but Silvestre Varela and Falcao also found the target as FC Porto ended their unhappy recent home form against English clubs, leaving Arsenal FC needing a second-leg win to reach the quarter-finals.

Tentative from the off, the Gunners faced a test of nerve after falling behind in the opening stages due to a mistake by stand-in goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański. They quickly put their disappointment behind them thanks to veteran defender Campbell, making his first appearance at this level since scoring for Arsenal in the 2006 final. But like in Paris, Arsenal were to lose 2-1 as the opportunist Falcao stroked in the winner six minutes after the restart and the Portuguese champions will look to press home their slender advantage in London on 9 March.

Arsenal have had a recent tendency for early defensive slips and an under-hit back pass from Denilson allowed Porto to pour forward. It took a superb tackle from Campbell on Falcao, followed by Thomas Vermaelen's block from Rúben Micael, to spare the visitors the worst of starts. A fierce Hulk drive that skimmed past Fabiański's post kept the pressure on the Gunners, who cracked with just 11 minutes gone as Fabiański fumbled Varela's low centre over his own goal line.

Arsène Wenger appeared unimpressed in the Arsenal dugout, but his charges responded with character. Nicklas Bendtner speared a deflected effort wide and then a moment that belonged in a script as Campbell headed in from a set piece, just as he had at the Stade de France against FC Barcelona. Cesc Fàbregas supplied the corner, Tomáš Rosický nodded the ball back across goal from Vermaelen's flick and the oldest player on the pitch altered the momentum of the tie.

Rosický came close to swinging it even more emphatically in Arsenal's favour with a whipped shot turned wide by Helton, before Rúben Micael tested Fabiański with similar results. Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira had predicted an open match and he was being proved correct, as Bendtner became the next player to threaten with a header that Helton did well to palm over.

It was Porto who broke through after the break, though, Fabiański penalised for picking up a Campbell back pass and Falcao finishing from Rúben Micael's quickly taken free-kick. Fabiański saved Wenger's men from falling further behind with impressive stops from Hulk and Raul Meireles, yet conceding for a second time had clearly sapped their morale and they were in danger of wilting as an attacking force.

Theo Walcott was sent on to reverse that trend, Rosický making way, however it was from dead-ball situations that the Premier League outfit looked most likely to respond. Ultimately, even that route to goal proved fruitless.

Last updated: 27/11/12 4.44CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000029/match=2000466/postmatch/report/index.html#falcao+edges+porto+ahead

At a glance

What happened
Łukasz Fabiański deflected in Silvestre Varela's early cross-shot but Sol Campbell equalised seven minutes later only for the quick-thinking Falcao to strike the winner.

Key moment
Fabiański picked up a Campbell back pass and Rúben Micael's quick free-kick in the box set Falcao free to score the winner before Arsenal had been able to regroup.

Numbers game
Campbell made his 200th appearance for Arsenal and headed a goal just like in his previous UEFA Champions League match, another 2-1 defeat in the 2006 final.

One on one
Campbell had been keeping the in-form Falcao quiet ever since an early saving tackle but the striker showed his predatory instinct in the move that decided the game.

Crowd pleaser
Given close attention on the edge of the area, Hulk eliminated his marker with a deft chip and produced a vicious volley that Fabiański had to dive low to keep out.

What it means
Porto go to London on 9 March with the advantage but will be well aware that their two trips to Arsenal since 2006, both in the group stage, resulted in 2-0 and 4-0 defeats.

Lineups

porto

Porto

arsenal

Arsenal

1
HeltonHelton (GK)
21
FabiańskiŁukasz Fabiański (GK)
2
Bruno AlvesBruno Alves (C)
Yellow Card34
2
DiabyAbou Diaby
Yellow Card31
3
Raul MeirelesRaul Meireles
Substitution68
3
SagnaBacary Sagna
9
FalcaoRadamel Falcao
Goal51
4
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas (C)
12
HulkHulk
Substitution81
5
VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
13
FucileJorge Fucile
Yellow Card64
7
RosickýTomáš Rosický
Substitution68
14
RolandoRolando
8
NasriSamir Nasri
Substitution88
15
Álvaro PereiraÁlvaro Pereira
Yellow Card78
15
DenilsonDenilson
17
VarelaSilvestre Varela
Goal11
22
ClichyGaël Clichy
25
FernandoFernando
Yellow Card84
31
CampbellSol Campbell
Goal18
28
Rúben MicaelRúben Micael
Substitution85
52
BendtnerNicklas Bendtner
Substitution83

Substitutes

24
BetoBeto (GK)
24
MannoneVito Mannone (GK)
6
GuarínFredy Guarín
12
VelaCarlos Vela
Substitution83
7
BelluschiFernando Belluschi
Substitution85
14
WalcottTheo Walcott
Substitution68
11
Mariano GonzálezMariano González
Substitution81
16
RamseyAaron Ramsey
16
MaiconMaicon
18
SilvestreMikaël Silvestre
20
Tomás CostaTomás Costa
Substitution68
27
EbouéEmmanuel Eboué
Substitution88
22
Miguel LopesMiguel Lopes
30
TraoréArmand Traoré

Coach

Jesualdo Ferreira (POR) Arsène Wenger (FRA)

Referee

Martin Hansson (SWE)

Assistant referees

Henrik Andren (SWE), Stefan Wittberg (SWE)

Fourth official

Jonas Eriksson (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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