UEFA Champions League

November 23, 2010



2 - 0


Group H

19:45 +00:00, November 23, 2010

Braga Municipal

Referee: Viktor Kassai

  • 93'

    Thanks for following the game with us. It was a shock defeat for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger will have fresh questions to answer regarding his team's mentality and capacity for silverware. Stick around on Soccernet for his reaction.

  • 93'

    Particularly in the context of Saturday's result, that is a shocking performance and result from the Gunners, who after winning their opening three games just simply shouldn't be in this position. But in this position they are - and a win at home to Partizan Belgrade will do, just.

  • 93'

    What a dismal night for Arsenal. Yes they were denied a clear penalty, but their defending was atrocious for the two goals and of course they lost Cesc Fabregas to a hamstring injury as well.

  • 93'

    FULL TIME Braga win 2-0 so Arsenal must now equal their result on the final day to secure their place in the knockout stage.

  • 93'

    Braga go 2-0 in front following a wonderful, wonderful goal from Matheus! He drives forward from the halfway line, evades challenges from Gibbs and Squillaci and fires in a shot off the underside of the bar. Tremendous.

  • 93'


  • 93'

    We are into the final minute...

  • 92'

    After what happened on Saturday, Arsenal fans will probably be furious with the team for this lacklustre performance that leaves their hopes of progressing in the balance. Not good enough from Arsene Wenger and his men.

  • 91'

    We will have three minutes of added time.

  • 90'

    Denilson floats a free-kick into the box which causes Felipe some problems, but Braga clear.

  • 90'

    Hugo Viana replaces Vandinho for Braga.

  • 89'

    So, we have a minute plus injury time for Arsenal to rescue what has been a difficult night and snatch a vital draw.

  • 87'

    If this game finishes 1-0, Arsenal will have lost four of their past six games, and again they have been undone by some sloppy, sloppy defending. They should not have been caught out like that.

  • 86'

    As they will possess a better head-to-head record over Braga, Arsenal must match their result to go through on the final day, and given Arsenal are at home to whipping boys Partizan Belgrade, you would fully expect them to win at Emirates Stadium. But you never know, eh?

  • 85'

    Rosicky is booked and Eboue has been taken off, meaning Arsenal are down to ten men having made all three substitutions.

  • 85'

    Arsenal of course won their opening three goals and it's pretty unacceptable that they find themselves in this position now. As things stand, Shakhtar will be three points clear in first, with Arsenal level with Braga on nine points.

  • 84'

    So Fabregas has gone off injured, Vela was booked for diving when clearly fouled in the box and now Arsenal find themselves 1-0 down to Braga. Not a good night's work for the Gunners.

  • 83'

    Braga take the lead! Matheus charged on to a long ball over the top, beating the offside trap, and slotted the ball past Fabianski. It seemed somewhat inevitable.

  • 83'


  • 82'

    Lima is replaced by Elton. *rustles up some Elton John related jokes*

  • 81'

    Arsenal are no doubt still fuming over that ridiculous decision not to award them a penalty for an obvious foul on Vela. The yellow card just rubbed salt in the wound.

  • 80'

    Aguiar is replaced by Andres Madrid.

  • 80'

    Arsenal are really pressing now and Felipe flaps at a cross from Wilshere, nearly allowing Chamakh to head home.

  • 79'

    Miguel Garcia's challenge on Jack Wilshere earns him a booking.

  • 79'

    Yep, it was a blatant penalty and Braga are very fortunate that they were not punished for that.

  • 78'

    Carlos Vela is felled by what looks to be a clumsy challenge in the box from Alberto Rodriguez, but is instead booked for diving. That is a controversial decision - it looked as though there was contact to me.

  • 77'

    Former Arsenal striker Eduardo has scored for Shakhtar, who are now winning 3-0 at Partizan Belgrade. Shakhtar look good for top spot - which could impact on who Arsenal would get in the next round.

  • 76'

    Carlos Vela replaces Theo Walcott, who has had a mixed evening. Vela scored twice in the 6-0 at Emirates Stadium.

  • 76'

    A marauding run from the impressive Kieran Gibbs ends in a dinked cross to Chamakh at the near post being turned behind by the striker's marker.

  • 75'

    So we have 15 minutes left of this rather dreary encounter. Can Arsenal snatch a goal to secure their place in the knockout stages, or can Braga leave them hanging until the last game?

  • 73'

    Chamakh comes on for Bendtner, who really did little to justify the inflated opinion he has of himself.

  • 72'

    Walcott slips in Rosicky with a perfect through-pass but his cross from Bendtner is cut out and a corner awarded.

  • 71'

    Marouane Chamakh is also being readied on the touchline, but that Fabregas development is a worrying one for Arsenal. Hamstring troubles have dogged the midfielder this season and he will not want another spell on the sidelines.

  • 70'

    And as Fabregas departs, Denilson is shown a yellow card for a foul.

  • 69'

    Arsenal remove Fabregas and replace the captain with Samir Nasri. It appeared as though the Gunners were concerned about his hamstring after stretching for that aerial ball earlier. He was a doubt to play today - has the gamble backfired?

  • 69'

    Arsenal really are walking a fine line here as a defeat will mean they will have to equal Braga's result on the final round of games. They need a goal for comfort's sake here.

  • 67'

    Cesc Fabregas latches onto a high ball over the top and stretches out a boot to connect, but he only succeeds in turning the ball into the hands of Felipe.

  • 64'

    Denilson requires a bit of treatment after going down, but the Brazilian is okay to continue and re-enters the pitch.

  • 62'

    A 0-0 draw takes Arsenal through and will inevitably attract claims of a professional job done, but that chance from Aguiar demonstrates how close they are to a defeat that would leave them level with Braga, and three points behind Shakhtar who are winning tonight. That would make for a nervy final day at home to Partizan Belgrade.

  • 60'

    A great chance for Braga! Squillaci's attempted headed clearance from a cross pops out to the Braga man on the edge of the box, and he lets the ball bounce before executing a fierce volley that sneaks just wide.

  • 59'

    Arsenal have completed 377 passes to Braga's 137 - impressive - but are yet to do anything with their possession.

  • 58'

    Braga carve out a rare chance as Matheus' cross fizzes across the face of goal and wide. Fabianski looks on relieved.

  • 56'

    Denilson plays the ball in to Fabregas and, with his back to goal, the captain spins and takes aim from 25 yards, but his effort is off target. In the context of this game, that's on a par with Diego Maradona's dribble against England in 1986.

  • 54'

    Braga's Luis Aguiar goes into the book for a sneaky challenge on Fabregas.

  • 52'

    This game is following a similar pattern to the first half, with Arsenal dominating possession but chances at a premium. Still, 0-0 takes Arsenal through from the group stage for the 11th year in a row.

  • 50'

    Walcott lines up a free-kick and fires his effort from 30 yards just over the bar. For a man who cannot cross, Walcott is surprisingly dangerous from set-pieces when he gets the chance.

  • 48'

    Carlos Vela, warming up, shares an unlikely embrace with fellow substitute Hugo Viana - formerly of Newcastle. Who would have picked them as pals?

  • 47'

    There have been no changes by either side, by the way.

  • 46'


  • 45'

    We have had precisely two shots on target in 45 minutes which is pretty poor. Let's hope for a better second half when the teams re-emerge.

  • 45'

    If Arsenal continue in this disappointing vein I'd expect to see Samir Nasri introduced at some point from the bench. He has been in exceptional form this season. Marouane Chamakh and Carlos Vela are alternative options.

  • 45'

    That was a bit of a dismal first half, with Moises going closest with his free header for Braga. Walcott has posed a few problems but pulled his best chance wide. Bendtner also needs to make more of an impact.

  • 45'

    HALF TIME Arsenal are halfway to securing the draw they need to progress, but it hasn't been pretty so far. A succession of half-chances but nothing more.

  • 45'

    Cesc Fabregas opts for a low effort instead of a dipping shot this time and his effort flies well, well wide. That is an underwhelming end to an underwhelming half.

  • 45'

    Alberto Rodriguez fells Bendtner in a central position some 25 yards from goal and Arsenal will have a late chance in the first half.

  • 43'

    Fabregas delivers a free-kick in the box, aiming to find Bendtner, but Braga's defence scrambles to clear. Again Felipe is untested in goal.

  • 40'

    Bendtner produces a lovely scooped pass to set Walcott clear in the box and he drags his shot wide of the far post. That was a superb piece of invention from the Dane, who is back in the side after his recent outburst.

  • 39'

    Luis Aguiar looks to sneak the free-kick past Fabianski at the near post - a not outlandish prospect - but Bendtner gets his head to the ball to clear for a corner. Braga do nothing with the second set-piece.

  • 38'

    Eboue is penalised for a foul on the right of the Arsenal box and Braga have a free-kick in a good position.

  • 35'

    At the other end, Lima flashes a shot just wide for Braga as the game opens up a touch - only comparatively though.

  • 34'

    Arsenal open up the Braga defence and Walcott chases onto a sliding pass, but Felipe rushes off his line and gets a vital touch on the ball.

  • 33'

    Arsenal have had 65% possession so far - an impressive statistic away from home. However, they have done little with it in all honesty.

  • 32'

    When the ball is worked back to Eboue from the corner he fires in a cross that Djourou turns well wide at the back post.

  • 31'

    It is Fabregas who takes it but his effort lacks pace and Felipe palms it over for a corner.

  • 31'

    Eboue wins a free-kick 20 yards from goal and it looks set for Cesc Fabregas.

  • 30'

    Walcott bursts clear on the right and delivers a decent cross - I'll give him that one - but there is no one in an Arsenal shirt to convert.

  • 28'

    This has been a pretty awful game if I'm honest - it's crying out for a decent chance.

  • 26'

    Braga's Alan has a wonderfully un-Brazilian name. If only he played for Lyon when Fred and Cris were both there.

  • 25'

    Good work from Johan Djourou as he dispossesses Lima to prevent a Braga break. The home side have still been limited to that Moises header in the opening 25 minutes.

  • 23'

    Wilshere and Fabregas are linking up well in the centre of midfield - the two of them appear to have a good understanding, no doubt borne of their technical excellence. It's quite amazing Wilshere is English and not Spanish in all honesty.

  • 21'

    Arsenal may have lost at home to Spurs, after being 2-0 up at half-time, but they don't have half the problems of Chelsea at present. Mind you, the Blues have already qualified and are fielding a weakened team.

  • 19'

    By the way, over at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are losing 1-0 to MSK Zilina, and that's after losing three of their past four league games. Crisis time in West London.

  • 18'

    Despite their impressive build-up play Arsenal are still failing to carve out any decent chances, with Kieran Gibbs their best outlet at present.

  • 15'

    After neat build-up play from Arsenal, Moises gets in front of a Gibbs cross to prevent Bendtner heading home. Arsenal make little of the subsequent corner.

  • 13'

    Gibbs dinks in a high cross to the far post but Elderson controls the ball with his chest back to goalkeeper Felipe.

  • 10'

    As the opening ten minutes come to an end, Arsenal can be happy with their start as they have been confident in possession. Moises has had the best chance with his header though.

  • 8'

    Moises gets on the end of the delivery and he is unmarked, but the defender cannot keep his header down and the chance passes.

  • 8'

    Emmanuel Eboue is penalised for a foul on Matheus on Braga's left wing and the home side have a free-kick in a dangerous position.

  • 6'

    Walcott wastes another cross - I get the feeling you may be hearing that a lot from me tonight. Honestly, when is Arsene Wenger going to shift him off the wing? He is obviously more capable in a central role.

  • 5'

    Braga mount a very good move down the Arsenal right but Matheus sees his through-ball cut out by Sebastien Squillaci.

  • 3'

    Now Walcott gets in behind but, as ever, his cross lacks direction and the chance goes begging.

  • 2'

    Arsenal have made a confident start and when Cesc Fabregas plays the ball through for Kieran Gibbs, the left back's cross is expertly cleared with Nicklas Bendtner waiting to convert in the centre.

  • 1'



    The teams are streaming out onto a pitch in a unique stadium - one of the ends behind a goal is a rockface, given the stadium is carved into a mountain. A picturesque setting, let's hope for an attractive game as well.


    Braga - known as the Arsenalistas having changed their colours in honour of Arsenal in the 1920s - boast no little amount of talent and saw off Sevilla to reach the Champions League. They could pose problems tonight.


    Braga start the day on six points, three shy of Arsenal and Shakhtar, so a win will put them right back in contention.


    Arsenal hammered Braga 6-0 at Emirates Stadium in their first game and should win tonight, but they will have been affected by the weekend's events. Cesc Fabregas plays despite fears over his fitness while Nicklas Bendtner's first-team exile is over.


    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Arsenal's Champions League tie against Braga. The Gunners make seven changes following a defeat to Spurs at the weekend, and a point will do in Portugal for them to qualify.


    Our live commentary will begin at 1930 GMT.


    Can Arsenal get the point they need to secure their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League? Tom Adams will be with you for live commentary, but first, here is his preview of the big game.