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Milan hold on after gallant Arsenal fightback

Published: Tuesday 6 March 2012, 22.50CET
Arsenal FC 3-0 AC Milan (agg: 3-4)
Arsène Wenger's side struck three first-half goals but ultimately fell short of a record comeback as the Rossoneri edged through to the quarter-finals.
by Richard Aikman
from Arsenal Stadium

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Match statistics

ArsenalMilan

Goals scored3
 
0
Attempts on target7
 
3
Attempts off target2
 
10
Corners5
 
1
Offsides4
 
9
Fouls committed21
 
8
Yellow cards3
 
4
Red cards0
 
0
Possession (%)47
 
53

Standings

 
Published: Tuesday 6 March 2012, 22.50CET

Milan hold on after gallant Arsenal fightback

Arsenal FC 3-0 AC Milan (agg: 3-4)
Arsène Wenger's side struck three first-half goals but ultimately fell short of a record comeback as the Rossoneri edged through to the quarter-finals.

Arsenal FC struck three first-half goals but ultimately fell short of a record UEFA Champions League comeback as AC Milan edged through to next Friday's quarter-final draw.

Trailing 4-0 after a disastrous leg, efforts from Laurent Koscielny, Tomáš Rosický and Robin van Persie gave the hosts genuine hope of completing the greatest recovery in the UEFA Champions League era. Van Persie missed a golden opportunity to level the aggregate scores on the hour, and the Rossoneri held on to edge through to the last eight for the first time in five years.

With such a heavy deficit to recover, Arsène Wenger fielded an attacking 4-3-3 formation. His side got off to a dream start on seven minutes as Koscielny rose unmarked to head in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's corner at the near post. By then Mark van Bommel had already received a booking that will rule him out of the quarter-final first leg as Arsenal set about their herculean task at a high tempo.

Van Persie was repelled by Christian Abbiati on ten minutes after a fine Theo Walcott through ball, and the Dutch international was denied by an even better stop as his curling 20-metre effort was turned wide.

Milan had so far mustered one Robinho shot from range, but they were in no rush. The onus was on Arsenal, and they duly scored again, Rosický side-footing in on 26 minutes after the visitors failed to clear their lines. Now the home crowd were beginning to believe in the impossible. If only they could keep the Rossoneri at bay, their strike force surely had more goals in them.

The third arrived two minutes before the interval, when Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Djamel Mesbah and Van Persie sent Abbiati the wrong way from the spot. Stephan El Sharaawy spurned the chance to undo all Arsenal's good work on the stroke of half-time, clipping wide with the goal at his mercy. The visitors therefore went in for the interval trailing 3-0 for the first time in a UEFA Champions League match since collapsing 4-0 in RC Deportivo La Coruña to exit the 2004 quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate.

The second half began at the same frenetic tempo but Milan seemed less inclined to sit back, wary of succumbing to the avalanche. Rosický and Oxlade-Chamberlain were still tearing forward but Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song and Kieran Gibbs each had to make timely interventions as Zlatan Ibrahimović, Robinho and El Sharaawy showed greater purpose.

Arsenal might have scored on the hour, Abbiati superbly saving Gervinho's deflected shot before clawing away Van Persie's follow-up. At the other end, Ibrahimović contrived to fire wide from 30 metres when Wojciech Szczęsny misfired a clearance straight at him.

It was a pulsating contest, with both defences stretched; Oxlade-Chamberlain curled an effort over at one end while Szczęsny saved from El Sharaawy and Ibrahimović at the other. Antonio Nocerino somehow shot straight at the keeper from two metres out after Alberto Aquilani threaded in a low cross from the right to keep us all guessing until the final whistle, but Milan hung on.

Last updated: 22/10/13 9.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000264/match=2007679/postmatch/report/index.html#milan+survive+arsenal+blitz

Quotes

  • Arsène Wenger

    Read more"We put a performance in with fantastic spirit and restored some pride after the first leg. Unfortunately we are out"

  • Massimiliano Allegri

    Read more"We are disappointed about the defeat and the way we played in the first half but, in the end, we qualified"

Lineups

arsenal

Arsenal

milan

Milan

13
SzczęsnyWojciech Szczęsny (GK)
32
AbbiatiChristian Abbiati (GK) (C)
3
SagnaBacary Sagna
Yellow Card13
4
Van BommelMark van Bommel
Yellow Card5
5
VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
5
MexèsPhilippe Mexès
6
KoscielnyLaurent Koscielny
Goal7
11
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Yellow Card84
7
RosickýTomáš Rosický
Goal26
15
MesbahDjamel Mesbah
Substitution90
10
Van PersieRobin van Persie (C)
Goal43
20
AbateIgnazio Abate
Yellow Card90+3
14
WalcottTheo Walcott
Substitution84
22
NocerinoAntonio Nocerino
Yellow Card86
15
Oxlade-ChamberlainAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Substitution75
28
EmanuelsonUrby Emanuelson
17
SongAlex Song
Yellow Card57
33
Thiago SilvaThiago Silva
27
GervinhoGervinho
70
RobinhoRobinho
28
GibbsKieran Gibbs
Yellow Card15
92
El ShaarawyStephan El Shaarawy
Substitution70

Substitutes

21
FabiańskiŁukasz Fabiański (GK)
1
AmeliaMarco Amelia (GK)
9
Park Ju-YoungPark Ju-Young
Substitution84
30
RomaFlavio Roma (GK)
20
DjourouJohan Djourou
18
AquilaniAlberto Aquilani
Substitution70
25
JenkinsonCarl Jenkinson
19
ZambrottaGianluca Zambrotta
29
ChamakhMarouane Chamakh
Substitution75
25
BoneraDaniele Bonera
Substitution90
49
MiquelIgnasi Miquel
56
GanzSimone Ganz
53
Oğuzhan ÖzyakupOğuzhan Özyakup
76
YepesMario Yepes

Coach

Arsène Wenger (FRA) Massimiliano Allegri (ITA)

Referee

Damir Skomina (SVN)

Assistant referees

Primož Arhar (SVN), Marko Stančin (SVN)

Fourth official

Mitja Žganec (SVN)

Additional assistant referees

Matej Jug (SVN), Slavko Vinčić (SVN)

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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