Champions League – Arsenal dump Milan out


Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor scored late goals as Arsenal beat defending champions Milan 2-0 to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Cesc Fabregas, Milan v Arsenal, FOOTBALL - 0

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Fabregas scored from 30 yards with just six minutes remaining to finally break the deadlock after a goalless first leg at the Emirates Stadium.

And Adebayor added the gloss with a tap-in in injury-time as the Gunners became the first English team to beat Milan in the San Siro.

It was on the same ground that Arsene Wenger celebrated his finest European moment, a 5-1 victory over Inter, and this performance was just as good with the Premier League leaders full value for their win.

When the goal finally came it was the inspirational Fabregas who got it. The Spanish midfielder was allowed to run at the Milan defence and he unleashed a long-range drive which nestled in the bottom corner, just beyond the outstretched hand of eljko Kalac.

The Serie A side at that point knew they needed two in the final minutes to stay in the competition and they were hit on the counter in injury-time as sub Theo Walcott broke down the right and squared to the Togo striker to collect his first Champions League goal for Arsenal.

Fabregas had come closest to scoring in the first-half after Adebayor surged past Alessandro Nesta and teed up the 20-year-old whose 20-yard swerving shot rattled the crossbar.

After a nervy opening which saw Fabregas hack away off his own post after a near post corner deflected off the head of Paolo Maldini and then Adebayor, the visitors took control.

Abou Diaby, starting in preference to Walcott, curled a shot past the post and he then set up Adebayor whose curling effort from 20 yards was superbly tipped over the crossbar by Kalac.

But the Gunners had a nervy moment when Kaka set up Alexandre Pato at the backpost only for the indecisive teenager to lob straight at Manuel Almunia.

Arsenal began to camp outside the Milan penalty area with Fabregas having two efforts blocked by Kakha Kaladze before Alexander Hleb was harshly booked for diving on the edge of the penalty area by Austrian referee Konrad Plautz even though definite contact was made by Nesta.

The game was infinitely better than the first leg and continued in a similar vein after the break with Arsenal’s third corner running all the way through to Philippe Senderos at the back post only for his stab at goal to nestle in Kalac’s arms.

Then a shocking pass from Andrea Pirlo, inside his own penalty area, went straight to Adebayor who set up Eboue but the Ivorian horribly shanked the best opportunity of the match wide of the near post.

Walcott replaced Eboue with 20 minutes remaining and he was instantly involved as Hleb’s precise dink over the top saw him clear on the right but his cross hit Kalac’s shin and was smuggled clear.

Pato had a shot destined for the bottom corner deflect off Senderos but that would have been tough on the Gunners who finally got their rewards in the final stages to join Manchester United in the last eight.