UEFA Champions League

April 25, 2006



0 - 0


UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, April 25, 2006

Estadio El Madrigal, Spain

2nd Leg: 0 - 1 (Agg)

  • 93'

    Gee whiz! Thanks for joining me on what has been a dramatic and heart-stopping night in Spain. Join me again tomorrow to see who Arsenal will face. Good night, faithful readers.

  • 93'

    Lehmann's penalty save is the key moment as he dramatically keeps out Riquelme's spot-kick to prevent extra-time and book their spot in the final against either Barcelona or AC Milan.

  • 93'

    FULL-TIME: A lacklustre Arsenal hang on and progress to their first-ever Champions League or Eurpean Cup final.

  • 93'

    Riquelme looks shell-shocked; he is just standing in midfield, his hands on his hips, his tongue hanging out. He can't believe what has just happened.

  • 92'

    Arsenal just have a minute to hold on to make the final in Paris.

  • 91'

    What a finish to this tie! Lehmann brilliantly saves a penalty that should never have been given in the first place to preserve his record. Magic.

  • 90'

    Unbelieveable. Henry sprints down the right, cuts inside, but Barbosa makes a good low save as the Frenchman tries to slot the ball under him.

  • 89'

    SAVE! Riquelme slots the spot-kick to Lehmann's left, but the giant German guesses the right way and saves. Incredible stuff!

  • 89'

    PENALTY! SHOCKING DECISION! Jose Mari goes down under a slight touch from Clichy. Terrible decision.

  • 88'

    BLOCK! Toure makes a desperate and important block on the edge of his penalty area as Forlan turns and fires in a shot.

  • 87'

    Franco tumbles to the ground inside the penalty area, but the referee sees the situation for what it was - a blatant and repulsive dive.

  • 86'

    Jose Mari's cross is turned away by Campbell, who has grown in to the match; he and Toure have coped fairly well with everything they have been asked to do.

  • 85'

    Clichy is alert enough to track the run of Jose Mari and calmly see the ball back to his goalkeeper.

  • 84'

    Arsenal are pushing Villarreal back, meaning there is less pressure on their back four than there has been at any time during this match; they are finishing the game the stronger side.

  • 83'

    Gilberto has easily been Arsenal's best player tonight; he has tackled really well, and his distribution has been positive and intelligent. Henry, on the other hand, has consistently given the ball away cheaply.

  • 82'

    VILLARREAL SUB: Roger replaces Arruabarenna. Another attacking change from the home side as they search for this elusive goal.

  • 82'

    Henry is brought down by Alvares; free-kick, 25 yards out...

  • 81'

    In the last quarter of an hour, Arsenal have used the ball a lot better; they are starting to find each other with their passes and the support play has been more positive. It has made a massive difference.

  • 80'

    Just ten minutes or so to go, and Arsenal look, (dare I say it?) fairly comfortable...

  • 79'

    Fabregas sportingly puts the ball out of play as Arruabarrena lay on the ground, pretending to be injured.

  • 78'

    Arruabarrena's cross from the left is easily collected at the near post by Lehmann, but poor distribution then immediately puts the Gunners under pressure once more.

  • 77'

    Fabregas tries to pick out Henry, who had made a sprint forward, but Barbosa come to the edge of his box to claim.

  • 76'

    Wenger is looking very nervy on the sidelines; he knows how important this final twenty minutes is to his club - especially with it looking increasingly unlikely they will qualify for next season's competition through the Premiership.

  • 75'

    As Villarreal begin to press and throw caution to the wind in the final stages, there should be more space for Arsenal to exploit going forward. In theory...

  • 74'

    Ljungberg goes on a little break down the left wing, but can't pick out the only man up with him - Henry - with a little chipped pass in to the middle.

  • 73'

    Sorin tries to slide a ball in to the path of Venta, but his pass is a little too strong and Arsenal win the goal-kick.

  • 72'

    Arsenal are starting to win the ball in midfield more often now, and are able to keep possession for longer when they do so.

  • 71'

    Villarreal have played this second half at a great tempo and have pushed as hard as they possibly can, but I'm not sure how long they can continue it - Arsenal might just have soaked up the best that they can offer.

  • 70'

    Ljungberg goes on a great run through the middle; Fabregas spots the Swede, but Ljungberg is checked by the shoulder of Pena. No foul, says the referee.

  • 69'

    ARSENAL SUB: Reyes is replaced by Pires. Fresh legs for Arsenal as they enter the biggest twenty minutes they have faced in a long, long time.

  • 68'

    GOAL! NO! OFF-SIDE! Franco latches on to a loose ball after Sorin had gone on a driving run at the heart of the Arsenal back four; he smashes a shot in to the top corner, but the linesman rightly rules him off-side.

  • 67'

    Villarreal have had three really good chances in the second half; if they do go out tonight, they can only have themselves to blame.

  • 66'

    That was a really good chance for Forlan; had he hit the target, he was sure to score as Lehmann had been drawn out of his goal by the threat of Franco.

  • 65'

    GOT TO SCORE! Forlan chips a ball in to Franco; Toure manages to get back and scramble the ball clear but it ends at the feet of Forlan, 14 yards out. The goal is at his mercy, but the Uruguayan side-foots wide.

  • 65'

    Arsenal are defending well, in general, but they cannot keep giving the ball away so cheaply in midfield.

  • 64'

    Senna has just dropped a little deeper, and Jose Mari has taken up a position out on the right-hand side; he is a quick and direct runner, and Clichy will have to watch him.

  • 63'

    VILLARREAL SUB: Jose Mari comes on to replace Josico. Villarreal take off their holding midfielder and bring on the direct, strong-running forward Jose Mari to add a bit more weight to their attacks.

  • 62'

    Reyes sends the corner deep; Campbell and Senna jump and the referee awards the Gunners a third-successive corner as the ball is deflected behind.

  • 61'

    The Gunners win a second corner when Senna nods the initial set-piece behind at the near post.

  • 60'

    Arsenal break at pace down the right, and win a corner when Barbosa rather rashly hacks the ball out of play.

  • 60'

    GOOD PUNCH! Riquelme chips the ball in to the middle, but Lehmann comes through a crowd of players to punch clear. Good goalkeeping.

  • 59'

    Riquelme is held by Hleb; free-kick, 35 yards out, dead-centre. The Argentinian stands over the set-piece...

  • 58'

    Arsenal have another spell with the ball, but there is a snap missing from their passing; they are sitting back and waiting for something to happen rather than forcing the issue themselves.

  • 57'

    Venta goes on a penetrating run down the right-hand side, but his low cross is cut out at the near post by Toure.

  • 56'

    Campbell is sent from the field by the referee to have a small head wound cleaned; there are suggestions he might have been hit by something thrown from the crowd.

  • 56'

    Villarreal win their first corner of the second half. Riquelme wanders over to send in the set-piece from their right-hand side...

  • 56'

    Arsenal are yet to have a single shot on goal this evening; they have offered absolutely nothing going forward. Henry has been totally isolated.

  • 55'

    Campbell got a bit sloppy there, and Arsenal need to maintain full concentration if they are to survive for the rest of this half.

  • 54'

    ANOTHER CHANCE! Senna whips a sensational cross in from the right; Franco again gets in front of Campbell, but again puts his header wide from close range.

  • 54'

    No signs of any changes yet from either manager; Villarreal have Jose Mari on the bench, he started the first leg and occasionally threatened. Guayre is also an offensive option for Pellegrino.

  • 53'

    Henry spreads a good pass in to the path of Reyes down the left, but the Spaniard shows too much of the ball to Venta and the home side win a goalkick.

  • 52'

    Lehmann comes right to the edge of his area to collect a good ball down the left channel by Alvares, aiming for the run of Forlan.

  • 51'

    Arsenal enjoy a rare spell of possession in the Villarreal half; Clichy and Reyes combine well down the left, but Alvares deals well with the cross.

  • 50'

    Arsenal need to show a little more composure when they do win the ball back; at the moment, they are being hussled out of possession by some frantic Villarreal pressing.

  • 49'

    SHOULD HAVE SCORED! A superb cross from the right is met by Franco, but he plants his header wide of the post from just six yards out. Great chance, and a massive let-off for Arsenal.

  • 48'

    Eboue is a bit too vigorous in a challenge with Sorin, giving Villarreal a free-kick in midfield.

  • 47'

    Arruabarrena finds some space down the left wing and sends over a threatening cross, but Lehmann is quickly and decisively out to collect.

  • 46'

    Arsenal flooded the midfield in the first half to try and claim a numerical advantage, but they just didn't have enough of the ball to make that tell.

  • 45'

    Arsenal kick off the second half. Can they hold on for another 45 minutes? I don't know. But we can find out together.

  • 47'

    ONLY JUST! Riquelme's long-range shot wobbles a bit in the air, but Lehmann holds on.

  • 46'

    ...It seems a little far out for a shot...

  • 46'

    Villarreal win another free-kick when Gilberto snaps at the heels of Josico. Riquelme and Sorin discuss the set-piece...

  • 45'

    Reyes is down and receives some treatment on a knee injury. He is soon back on his feet and smiling again.

  • 44'

    Henry is coming deep to try to help out his side, but it means that when Arsenal do clear the ball, it is going straight back to the home side.

  • 43'

    Villarreal are showing a fierceness and determination that I haven't seen them display for a while; they are really putting the Arsenal players under pressure when the Gunners have the ball.

  • 42'

    Arsenal are hanging on a little here; they would love to get to half-time with their goal still in tact. Villarreal are starting to play with more and more fluency and confidence.

  • 41'

    SAVE! Venta's cross from the right is met at the near post by Franco, but Lehmann makes an instinctive save. Toure hoofs clear the loose ball.

  • 41'

    Arsenal will be keen to see this through to half-time; a little more space is appearing, and Villarreal have the players with the ability to take advantage.

  • 40'

    Riquelme stands over another Villarreal free-kick; he swings it in to the penalty area, but doesn't beat the first man Eboue, who heads clear.

  • 39'

    ALMOST! Sorin is only inches away from sliding home Venta's low cross from the right. Close run thing.

  • 38'

    Gilberto makes a crucial interception to prevent Riquelme getting in behind the Arsenal back four; the game is starting to open up a little now.

  • 37'

    Eboue gets to the by-line after a good one-two with Hleb; his low cross is cut out, and Fabregas can't find Henry when the loose ball ends at his feet on the edge of the area.

  • 36'

    Franco and Gilberto have a little tussle off the ball; the referee is well-placed, but decides to take no action. Replays show Gilberto did have a little kick at his man after the ball had gone.

  • 35'

    Hleb works the ball out to Henry, who has drifted out to the left wing; he easily beats Pena, but his touch is too heavy and Barbosa collects.

  • 34'

    Arsenal will be fairly content with the way the first third of the match has gone; they seem to have soaked up a lot of pressure without giving away a single, decent chance.

  • 33'

    Fabregas is fouled by Josico. Campbell goes forward for the free-kick, but Reyes' cross is headed for a throw by Senna.

  • 32'

    Reyes goes on another penetrating run from the left wing, tieing up a couple of defenders before releasing the ball to Clichy.

  • 31'

    ...The Argentinian cleverly clips a ball in to the middle, looking for the run of Sorin, but the pass has a little too much on it and Lehmann collects.

  • 31'

    Villarreal win a free-kick, 35 yards out. Riquelme stands over the ball...

  • 30'

    Arsenal have a spell of possession, and it seems to settle them down a little; they need to get some confidence back in their play.

  • 29'

    Sorin goes down under a strong challenge from Campbell, but the referee doesn't spot a foul; the Argentinian isn't happy.

  • 28'

    It has been a rather disjointed Arsenal performance so far, but they are doing a job; as long as they keep Villarreal out, they'll be happy.

  • 27'

    Henry is beginning to look a little isolated up-front, especially when the passes in to him aren't of the quality he expects.

  • 26'

    Arsenal are opened up a little by a slick interchange between Riquelme and Forlan, but Toure's tackle prevents a shooting chance.

  • 25'

    Remember, we can only have extra-time and penalties tonight if the score is 1-0 to Villarreal at the end of 90 minutes.

  • 24'

    Campbell, who will come under scrutiny tonight after barely featuring in the last couple of months, hasn't really been tested yet.

  • 23'

    Fabregas almost slides a great pass through to Ljungberg, but Arruabarrena intercepts; Arsenal need to get their young Spaniard on the ball more.

  • 22'

    Reyes is caught by Venta on the left wing; free-kick to the Arsenal.

  • 21'

    Villarreal look a different side that the tentative on from the first leg at Highbury, but they still aren't really playing at a particularly high tempo.

  • 20'

    Arsenal are relying on the counter-attack, but at the moment their passing isn't quite there and everything is going through the middle; they are a little too narrow.

  • 19'

    Henry is a little bemused when another off-side decision goes against him; replays show he had a point; that is the second incorrect off-side this evening.

  • 18'

    CHANCE! Riquelme finds a little space down the left; he puts a low cross in to the middle, which Senna flicks on, but Sorin's shot is rushed and straight at Lehmann.

  • 17'

    Arsenal have barely been able to get out of their own half in the last ten minutes or so.

  • 16'

    Forlan finds some space down the right, but his attempted cross is mis-hit and easily cleared.

  • 16'

    Riquelme's corner is bent in to the crowded penalty area, but Josico's header drifts harmlessly out for a goalkick.

  • 15'

    Villarreal win their second corner of the match when Toure puts Venta's cross behind.

  • 14'

    Villarreal are certainly having more of the ball, but Arsenal look very organised and committed at the back; it is going to be tough for the home side to break them down.

  • 13'

    DREADFUL! Franco cuts from the left wing, beats his man, but then bends his shot high over the crossbar. He has started badly.

  • 12'

    Riquelme wastes a good chance to slide in Forlan when his under-weighted pass is intercepted by Campbell.

  • 12'

    Arsenal will be delighted with the start they have made; Villarreal need to force the pace, but they look incapable of doing so.

  • 11'

    A woeful passage of play has just occurred, in which the two teams traded dreadful long balls up-field from goalkeeper to goalkeeper.

  • 10'

    Great run from Reyes as he cuts in from the left, beats a couple of players, before Barbosa comes out of his goal and slides the ball clear.

  • 9'

    ARSENAL SUB: Flamini is replaced by Clichy. A big blow for the Gunners as Flamini trudges off with a hamstring injury. Fortunately, Clichy has recently returned from injury himself, and looks buoyant as he sprints in to the action.

  • 8'

    Villarreal win the first corner of the evening when Toure is forced to make an important tackle on Franco.

  • 7'

    Lehmann has now broken the record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. I couldn't tell you how many, however; I mis-heard the colleague who informed me. Sorry.

  • 6'

    Lehmann is already taking his time over goalkicks; Arsenal seem to be very wary of the fact that a clean sheet will see them through to the final.

  • 5'

    SHOT! Franco has the first shot of the evening, taking advantage of some space in front of the Arsenal back four before slashing an awful shot high and wide.

  • 5'

    Villarreal haven't won for three weeks; in fact, they have lost their last three games, and all without scoring. The omens look good for Arsenal.

  • 4'

    Villarreal are shaping up in their usual 4-4-2, with the Mexican Franco up front with Forlan.

  • 3'

    Arsenal appear to be playing with just Henry up front in a 4-5-1 formation, with Reyes on the left wing and Hleb on the right.

  • 2'

    Henry is ruled off-side as he tried to get on the end of Reyes' long pass from the left wing. A debatable decision from the linesman.

  • 1'

    Hleb does well to tidy up an early Villarreal attack.


    Villarreal kick off. There is a tremendous atmosphere inside the Madrigal this evening. It's a mild, dry night in western Spain, and the pitch looks perfect.


    My name is Alex, and it will be my slender fingers relaying to you all the action from the pitch below me this evening.


    Hi. Welcome to ESPN Soccernet's live coverage of Arsenal's trip to western Spain to play Villarreal in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.