UEFA Champions League

December 10, 2008


FC Porto

2 - 0


Group G

19:45 +00:00, December 10, 2008

Estadio do Dragao, Portugal

Referee: Kyros Vassaras

  • 93'

    Arsenal now must face a group winner in the knockout phase and know the second leg of that tie will be away from home. That's why a win mattered. And that's why Porto are so pleasd with their night's work.

  • 93'

    A bitterly disappointing night for the Arsenal fans who travelled to Portugal. They never really lived up to the early promise of the opening 20 minutes. Wenger?s 700th game was his 129 loss.

  • 93'

    Game over. Arsenal lose 2-0 to Porto who top the group at the Gunners' expense.

  • 92'

    Randall and Vela combine - they are not beaten yet, despite being basically beaten.

  • 91'

    Porto's record of never having lost a home tie against English opposition is intact as the last few minutes tick away.

  • 90'

    Arsenal breathe a sigh of relief as an offside flag denies Porto

  • 90'

    Foul given against Silvestre after clattering into Lisandro.

  • 90'

    Three minutes of added time signalled.

  • 89'

    Porto passing the ball around at will; they are in cruise control safe in the knowledge that the points are in the bag and that they will top the group.

  • 88'

    Gibbs does well to chase down a lost cause and hook a ball back into the penalty area for... well, no-one. Sadly no-one bothered to chase up his hard work.

  • 87'

    Vela dribbles in and out of trouble before passing inside to Randall who loses it.

  • 87'

    That was Hulk's last act. He comes off for Fredy Guarin.

  • 86'

    Hulk gets the better of Gallas but is some way out when he shoots. Almunia is untroubled by the shot despite its bounce.

  • 85'

    Helton jumps and gathers the corner and launches an enormous throw as Porto look to counter with Lisandro

  • 84'

    Denilson clips the ball in, Helton punches clear, there's a shot which is deflected out for a corner.

  • 84'

    Another freekick for Arsenal, some distance out.

  • 84'

    Lovely skill from Wilshere to carve an opening for Bendtner who manages to dwell on the ball long enough for four Porto players to smother him and the ball

  • 83'

    Time running out for Arsenal. If they'd scored from the freekick there might have been a chance.

  • 82'

    Bendtner bends his shot from the freekick low and around the wall but Helton reads it well and is down to gather the shot

  • 81'

    Meireles fouls Gibbs on the edge of the box and Arsenal have a chance with a freekick

  • 80'

    That's better - some neat passing and movement from Arsenal, but a ball aimed at Vela is poor and Porto break and hoof the ball toward Lisandro.

  • 78'

    Arsenal at full stretch again as Gallas fails to deal with ball in the box - bringing the side under pressure for no reason. Not his best night tonight.

  • 77'

    For Arsenal on comes Mark Randall, of whom it was once said 'who?'

  • 76'

    Some changes for Porto coming off are Luchio and Rodriguez for Tomas Costa and Mariano Gonzalez.

  • 75'

    A freekick for Porto is clipped in from deep, but Alves can't reach it and Arsenal breathe a sigh of relief

  • 75'

    15 minutes to go and Arsenal's performance has been well short of their own high standards.

  • 74'

    Bendtner guilty of losing possession - not for the first time - and Porto break.

  • 73'

    Porto appear to have an extra man, as well as extra space - they are covering the pitch so well and their movement with and without the ball is great. Arsenal getting a pass-and-move lesson.

  • 72'

    Gallas is mugged by Lucho after a ball in from the right wing - Lucho should have made more of the chance.

  • 71'

    Lucho should have made it three!

  • 70'

    Silvestre cuts out a pass to stem a Porto attack. Porto string passes together with great flair - very Arsenal!

  • 69'

    Wilshere not shy with the tackles - great spirit from him. He goes in strong for a 50-50 with Emanuel.

  • 68'

    Arsenal not lacking in talent, but in direction as the home side sing 'Ole' with every Porto touch. It is telling how much influence Fabregas has on Arsenal when he is not available.

  • 67'

    All of a sudden the pitch looks huge as Arsenl chase the game. Porto have so much time and space to exploit. Arsenal at sea at present.

  • 66'

    Another disappointing set-play from Arsenal - a short corner - leads to a chance for Rodriguez who tears up the field to get into a shooting position, only for Eboue to do just enough to put the winger off his strike.

  • 65'

    It'll be some comeback if Arsenal get the draw they need to finish top of the group. They look a beaten side at the moment.

  • 64'

    Arsenal's central defenders are swapping passes. It suits Porto who are happy with the scoreline.

  • 63'

    Arsenal looking tired and a little bereft of ideas.

  • 62'

    From that tackle Porto break, quickly. The move ends with Rodriguez drilling a shot across the Arsenal goal. A close call.

  • 62'

    Wilshere is robbed on the edge of the box Emanuel.

  • 61'

    Vela has indeed gone up along side Bendnter as Arsenal go for a 4-4-4

  • 60'

    That double change has knocked Porto out of their rhythm - they did take their time over it!

  • 59'

    Eboue goes down again. This time as if trodden on by an elephant. Cheating by the Arsenal man. The ref is not interested.

  • 58'

    Two changes for Arsenal. Off goes Ramsey (odd choice by Wenger) and Diaby. On in their stead come Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs. Two youngters with great promise.

  • 57'

    Some player look short on confidence, but not Ramsey he wants the ball all the time - good to see such spirit.

  • 56'

    Arsenal up the tempo - spurred on by the scoreline.

  • 55'

    More neat play from Porto as they play triangle passes to get out of trouble - that will annoy Arsenal

  • 54'

    Porto brimming with confidence now, pinging passes together.

  • 53'

    Arsenal are not having a good night at the office; 2-0 down, not playing well and now Vela is denied a freekick on the edge of the box. If it wasn't a foul it was a corner. Arsenal get neither.

  • 52'

    What a strike from Lisandro. He got in behind Silvestre who was out of position at left back. After collect the ball Lisandro rand straight at goal on the diagonal angle and rifled home a wonderful shot to give Almunia no chance.

  • 52'

    Porto go 2-0 up!

  • 51'

    Ramsey tries an acrobatic overhead kick but his effort is well wide. Bendtner gives him some negative feedback by way of a stern frown.

  • 51'

    Now Eboue gets a yellow card for a silly foul.

  • 50'

    Yellow card for Lucho for a slide from behind on Eboue. Looked like he got the ball first, but he got some Eboue as well, who goes down like he's been shot.

  • 49'

    Lucho and Hulk almost cut a route through the Arsnal defence, but Gallas reads the danger and clears.

  • 48'

    Vela links up well with Diaby, but Diaby is sloppy and loses the ball. Some not very Arsenal-like play from them so far tonight. Poor decisions, poor execution. They are making it difficult for themselves.

  • 47'

    Denilson shows good determination to win the ball and keep it despite some tasty lunges flying in from Lucho Gonzalez - the ref blows for a foul eventually.

  • 46'

    Eboue and Song do well to beat shut down Raul Meireles and move play out of the danfer area, hemmed in on the right falnk.

  • 45'

    No real changes in formation from Arsenal; Bendtner still up front on his own with Vela pulling wide left - perhaps the Mexican will be asked to partner Bendtner is two-man attack later in the game.

  • 45'

    The two sides are back underway in Porto.

  • 45'

    Keep it here to see which of these two sides finishes Group G top after the fulltime whistle.

  • 45'

    A simple headed goal from Alves has given Porto a 1-0 lead at the half. Arsenal looked the better side for 25 minutes, but then Porto pulled themselves together, applied some pressure and got a deserved lead.

  • 45'

    That's the half and Wenger rising from the dugout shaking his head.

  • 44'

    Luchio with some great movement to buy time and lose four Arsenal markers. He spreads play wide to the Porto left.

  • 44'

    Denilson with a clever drop of the shoulder and neat pass wide to Bendtner who has dropped deep and right to get the ball.

  • 43'

    Diaby loses the ball just inside the Porto half with a poor touch, but his mistake is short lived and Hulk loses the ball.

  • 42'

    Denilson covers an error with a despairing pass - he falls as he plays it but Arsenal keep the ball.

  • 41'

    Bendtner jumps but the ball skids off his head and Porto win it back on the opposite wing and break.

  • 40'

    Corner for Arsenal. Can they hit back before the half?

  • 39'

    Bright though Arsenal have been in the first half they had lost their way in the 10 minutes before the goal. They need Song and Denilson to wrest control of the midfield.

  • 38'

    Alves with a solid header direct from the corner. Almunia had no chance. There was no challenge from the defenders. Alves - bagging his first ever UCL goal - lost Diaby who should have been marking him, leapt and heading home.

  • 38'

    Goal to Porto!

  • 37'

    Arsenal's young team being pulled and tested by Porto. Corner to the home side.

  • 36'

    0-0 suits Arsenal very much. A draw and they go through on top of the group. But Porto are starting to threaten

  • 35'

    Alves tries his luck with a freekick, but he drills it into the be wall and Arsenal are untroubled.

  • 34'

    Denilson gives away a freekick in central position after Djourou had lost possession.

  • 33'

    Great running from Diaby for Arsenal. He started with the ball well inside his own half and then played a one-two before continuing his run to the byline. Sadly the pass he recieved was too strong, but decent stuff.

  • 32'

    Vela again muscled out of it by Porto's backline. He'll make them pay when the ball's on the deck, but in their air he's too slight to compete.

  • 31'

    Bendtner looks a little groggy. He's just chased down a lost cause and looks a little unhappy. Not sure whether its a headache after the whack to the head, or displeasure at his fruitless gallop.

  • 30'

    Greek ref very fussy over the exact position of a freekick - on the edge of the box such fastidiousness is fair enough, but quibbling over four yards on the halfway line?

  • 29'

    Bendtner well marshalled by Alves and Jorge Fucile.

  • 28'

    Eboue, Ramsey and Bendtner all involved multiple times as Arsenal pass their way through Porto only for the final shot to be weal enough to Helton to gather comfortably.

  • 28'

    Arsenal deal with the corner, heading clear at the near post

  • 27'

    Good save from Almunia to deny Lisandro Lopez - corner to Porto

  • 26'

    Bendtner goes to ground holding his face. Alves clattered him with an unintnetional forearm across the mush. He'll be fine after some magic sponge.

  • 25'

    Porto hit back with Lucho latching onto a pass from Hulk, but the drilled effort flies over.

  • 24'

    Terrible corner. Overhit and no covering man.

  • 24'

    Superb save from an equally superb shot on the edge of the box from Ramsey. Corner to Arsenal.

  • 23'

    Ramsey soon makes amends with some neat footwork as Arsenal press

  • 22'

    Some classic Arsenal dithering on the ball in the opposition half ends with Porto clearing. Ramsey the guilty party for not releasing the pass when the chance arose.

  • 21'

    From the freekick Vela tries his luck with a shot only to see his effort coast wide

  • 20'

    Freekick against Alves for climbing over Bendtner. Harsh. looked a fair header.

  • 19'

    Porto warming to the challenge after the opening 20 minutes when Arsenal have been by far the better side.

  • 18'

    Porto finally win a game of head tennis and break down the left. With Eboue out of possession after an earlier attack Gallas fills in and does enough to stop Raul Meireles

  • 17'

    Vela is bullied off the ball by two Porto defenders who just muscle him away and release pressure

  • 16'

    This time Bendtner is the one who can't quite reach a through ball

  • 15'

    A heavy lay-off from Bendtner is too strong for Eboue and a promising move by Arsenal ends in a goal kick for Porto

  • 14'

    Porto are working very hard as a collective to shut down Arsenal whenever the Gunners are on the ball. It's always two on one in favour of the home side as they try to smother the visitors

  • 13'

    Djourou with an important challenge to cut out a through ball aimed at Hulk. Well played, solid defending on the stretch.

  • 12'

    Porto spread play back into their own half as they try to get some time on the ball and slow Arsenal's attacks

  • 11'

    Lisandro Lopez is causing some problems as he darts around. Silvestre plugging the gap at left back is coming under pressure from the striker

  • 10'

    Johan Djourou with an effective but unconvincing tackle on the halfway line. That's how high the Arsenal defence is.

  • 9'

    Alex Song gets a freekick given against him for a dsperate lunge to reclaim the ball after he tried and failed to execute a nice bit of skill in a high-risk part of the Arsenal half.

  • 8'

    Of his 699 games with Arsenal, Wenger has registered 406 wins, 165 draws and 128 losses. What will he get tonight?

  • 8'

    Bruno Alves' freekick was whipped in low, but Almunia had it covered and Arsenal are back in possession.

  • 7'

    Oh dear, but it also helps Porto threaten on the quickbreak. Eboue fouls and Porto have a freekick in a dangerous area.

  • 7'

    Arsenal playing a high defensive line - it's helping the Gunners attack keep Porto under pressure

  • 6'

    Aaron Ramsey shows great touch and awareness to beat a man in midfield and slide a tidy pass infield to Gallas.

  • 5'

    Tonight is Arsene Wenger's 700th game in charge. Just a little fact for you.

  • 4'

    Denilson clips in a ball from the set play, but none fo the Arsenal men in the box can connect and Porto escape

  • 3'

    Early chance for Porto to test the Porto keeper Helton with a freekick.

  • 2'

    Arsenal in fine touch so far, pinging one-touch passes about as Porto chase shaddows.

  • 2'

    Porto playing with a lone striker. The incredibly named Hulk. Whether the Brazilian striker lives up to his namesake tonight remains to be seen.


    First touch for Eboue, straight from kick-off - a nice touch from his team-mates who will be keen for him to settle into the game. Sadly he lost the ball with his second touch, but hey, what can you do!


    Tonight's referee is Kyros Vassaras from Greece, he blows the whistle and we are underway.


    So Emmanuel Eboue is handed the chance to silence his critics. He slots in at right back alongside William Gallas who returns to defence following injury and fit-again midfielder Abou Diaby is also back.


    The Portuguese side, who like Arsenal are also already through to the last 16, can secure top spot in the group if they win tonight. But with 11 points compared to Porto?s nine, Arsenal need only a draw against the Portuguese to secure top spot.


    And for Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Silvestre, Djourou, Ramsey, Diaby, Song Billong, Denilson, Vela, Bendtner. Subs: Fabianski, Wilshere, Gibbs, Hoyte, Merida, Randall, Simpson.


    The team news is in let's take a look. First, Porto: FC Porto v Arsenal FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Rolando, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Lucho Gonzalez, Fernando, Raul Meireles, Lopez, Hulk, Rodriguez. and the Subs: Nuno, Stepanov, Guarin, Mariano Gonzalez, Lino, Sektioui, Costa.


    Join us for live coverage of tonight's match as Porto hope to usurp Arsenal as winners of Group G. All the action from 7.45pm UK time.