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Wet weather reins in Arsenal

Published: Sunday 26 March 2006, 0.40CET
Tuesday's quarter-final opponents endured frustating Saturdays as Arsenal FC's game was postponed while Juventus conceded a late equaliser in Italy. features

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Published: Sunday 26 March 2006, 0.40CET

Wet weather reins in Arsenal

Tuesday's quarter-final opponents endured frustating Saturdays as Arsenal FC's game was postponed while Juventus conceded a late equaliser in Italy.

Arsenal FC's hopes of building on their fine recent run were hindered by the weather in England, but there was frustration of a different kind for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League opponents Juventus, who conceded a late equaliser against AS Roma.

Portsmouth FC - Arsenal FC (postponed)
Arsenal go into the quarter-final first leg well rested after Saturday's Premiership fixture was postponed as heavy rain made the Fratton Park pitch unplayable. The decision was nevertheless a disappointment for Arsène Wenger's team, who had hoped to capitalise on a rich vein of form to keep the pressure on north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur FC in the race for fourth place. Impressive home wins against Liverpool FC and Charlton Athletic FC had seen them hit their stride but the side will now go into the game against Juve having not played for ten days.

Sol Campbell has, however, as the England defender came through a reserve-team victory against Charlton on 20 March unscathed following a two-month layoff with an ankle injury. Robin van Persie also played as he continues his recovery from a broken toe but the pair remain doubtful for Tuesday, as do José Antonio Reyes (ankle) and Fredrik Ljungberg (calf). Arsenal also have no fewer than five defenders sidelined, including Ashley Cole (ankle) and Lauren (knee), but manager Wenger is concentrating on the return of former captain Patrick Vieira, who joined Juve last summer. "He is so strong and dominating," Wenger said. "Whatever anyone says, there weren't dozens of players of that calibre playing in Europe - there still aren't."

Juventus 1-1 AS Roma
Ten-man Juve's lead at the Serie A summit was shorn to eight points as their stubborn rearguard were finally breached with five minutes remaining at the Stadio Delle Alpi on Saturday. Emerson gave the home team a 35th-minute lead in Turin, heading in a Mauro Camoranesi corner, but they looked to be up against it when Pavel Nedvĕd was shown a second yellow card just before the interval. It is the latest disciplinary problem for the Czech Republic midfielder, who is suspended on Tuesday, but in the short term coach Fabio Capello had to reshuffle a side that had already lost Alessandro Del Piero, who limped off holding his thigh and was later ruled out of the midweek game.

The club captain had replaced David Trezeguet in the starting lineup, and although the Frenchman came on to partner Zlatan Ibrahimović he was himself replaced at half-time as Juve hung on to their lead. Houssine Kharja eventually denied them victory with five minutes remaining and coach Fabio Capello, who was without right-back Jonathan Zebina due to a toe injury, was left to rue a hard game, saying: "We played much better when we were down to ten men but I'm not happy because we spent so much energy while Arsenal did not even play."

Last updated: 26/03/06 19.27CET

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