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Barcelona Draws Against Arsenal, Puyol Sees Red
Spain’s Barcelona FC on Wednesday night drew 2-2 against England’s Arsenal FC at the Emirates Stadium in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg. The match saw 4 goals scored in the second half after a scoreless first half.
Barcelona clearly dominated the first half of the match having over 15 shots on goal while Arsenal had less than 5. Possession was 70% to 30% in favor of Barca. They controlled every part of the game, wowed the fans with some cool football, had a few shots on goal, but no goals came. The host managed to keep the guests in check throughout the first half.
The second half resumed with more hostility from Barcelona leading to their first goal in the first minute through Ibrahimovic who made a solo run and lobbed the ball over an onrushing Arsenal keeper. The pressure continued; and it paid off again for Barcelona in the 59th minute as Ibrahimovic scored the visitors’ second after a defensive error by Alexander Song. The bombing continued but no more goals were scored.
Arsene Wenger made a smart change, bringing on Walcott to replace Sagna in the 65th minute. Barely 4 minutes after he came on, Walcott pulled one back for Arsenal in the 69th minute through a pass from Bendtner. After that, Arsenal, whose possession had improved slightly to 40%, began to regain more confidence. They continued to play with determination and in the 84th Cecs Fabregas was tackled by Puyol in the penalty area, which led to his red card by the referee. The resulting penalty was neatly converted by Cecs Fabregas for Arsenal’s equaliser.
Yellow cards were issued to several players from both sides, notably Emmanuel Eboue, Cecs Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Puyol received a red card which makes him ineligible for the return leg in Spain. Fabregas had also limped off the pitch casting doubt on his fitness to play the next game.
Barcelona scored 2 vital goals as guests and Arsenal was lucky not to accept the defeat at home. Arsene Wenger was clearly delighted as the final whistle sounded to signal the end of the pulsating encounter. His boys didn’t lose the game after all. They still have hope in the second leg which will take place on the fourth night. the next meeting promises to be much more explosive.
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