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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 20:33 GMT 21:33 UK
Arsenal 2-0 Juventus
Cesc Fabregas puts Arsenal in front at Highbury
Fabregas was in superb form in midfield for Arsenal
Arsenal produced a scintillating performance to take a commanding lead after the home leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Juventus.

Cesc Fabregas put Arsenal ahead with a low strike from 20 yards and later passed for Thierry Henry to convert into an empty net from 12 yards out.

Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon made good second-half saves from Henry, Fabregas and Alexander Hleb.

Mauro Camoranesi and Jonathan Zebina were both sent off late in the match.

Juventus might be eight points ahead at the top of Serie A but they were a ragged mess by the end of the match.

They had heavy legs and bowed heads after being blown away by an Arsenal side that played with verve and invention.

Arsenal's clean sheet means they have now gone seven matches without conceding in the Champions League - equaling the record set by AC Milan last season.

It was a difficult return to Highbury for Patrick Vieira, who received a warm reception but then went on to pick up a second-half booking that means he, along with Camoranesi and Zebina, will miss the return leg.

Juve looked to stamp their physical superiority on the midfield early in proceedings, Vieira giving away a free-kick for a foul on Fabregas inside two minutes.

Arsenal, though, showed an appetite to compete and it was a superb tackle by Pires that dispossessed Vieira and led to Arsenal's opening goal shortly before half time.

Pires passed to Thierry Henry, who in turn found Fabregas and the young Spaniard wrong-footed Buffon with a cleverly disguised shot from the edge of the area.

As against Real Madrid, Arsenal played with great passion and, although guilty at times of over-elaborate play, they created the bulk of the first-half openings.

Fabregas dragged a shot wide after collecting a deft flick from Pires, Buffon saved from Kolo Toure and Henry twice went close from free-kicks, one of them taken quickly.

A minute after Fabregas' goal, Henry went close with a shot from a very tight angle and the home team were firmly in the ascendancy at the break.

Juve almost forced their way back into the contest early in the second half after David Trezeguet appeared to have played Zlatan Ibrahimovic through, but Toure made a superb covering tackle.

Any thought that Arsenal would try to sit on their lead proved incorrect as full-backs Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Eboue continued to push forward.

Arsenal's speed on the break and tight control was at times breathtaking, and Buffon saved from Henry, Fabregas and Hleb as the home team sought a deserved second goal.

It came eventually from Henry, who had plenty of time to collect a pass from Fabregas that was slightly behind him and slotted home into an empty net after his team-mate had drawn the goalkeeper.

Vieira was then booked for a tackle on Jose Reyes as Arsenal stroked the ball about with an ease that embarrassed their esteemed opponents.

In the final minutes Camoranesi and Zebina both received second yellow cards and Juve ended the match with nine men.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Senderos, Flamini, Hleb, Silva, Fabregas, Pires, Henry, Reyes (Van Persie 82).
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Diaby, Bergkamp, Song Billong, Walcott, Djourou.

Goals: Fabregas 40, Henry 69.

Juventus: Buffon, Zebina, Thuram, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Camoranesi, Vieira, Emerson, Mutu (Chiellini 71), Ibrahimovic, Trezeguet (Zalayeta 79).
Subs Not Used: Abbiati, Kovac, Balzaretti, Blasi, Giannichedda.

Sent Off: Camoranesi (87), Zebina (89).

Booked: Camoranesi, Trezeguet, Vieira, Zebina.

Att: 35,472


WATCH AND LISTEN
News conference: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger


Interview: Arsenal's Thierry Henry


Interview: Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas



SEE ALSO
Champions League photos
28 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries




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