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Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

FC Porto 2-0 Arsenal

By Jonathan Stevenson

Porto celebrate Lisandro Lopez's goal against Arsenal
Lisandro Lopez is mobbed after scoring at Estadio do Dragao

Arsenal had to settle for second place in Champions League Group G after a disappointing display saw them lose to FC Porto at Estadio do Dragao.

Both clubs had already qualified for the last 16 and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger rested several players on his 700th game in charge of the Gunners.

Bruno Alves rose unchallenged to head Porto in front and Lisandro Lopez doubled the lead with a cool finish.

Arsenal's best chance fell to Aaron Ramsey, but Helton saved his drive.

Wenger will be disappointed with another lethargic display from his team and they now go into next Friday's draw for the last 16 knowing they will face a side that topped their group.

The Frenchman made seven changes from the team that won 1-0 at home against Wigan on Saturday, including a recall for the much-maligned Emmanuel Eboue.

Eboue was booed by some of his own fans on Saturday and after coming on as a sub had to be taken off by Wenger, but he was given a warm welcome by the 1,500 or so travelling Arsenal fans in Portugal.

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Arsenal looked comfortable in the early stages without ever going close to breaking the deadlock - but for all their customary one-touch passing, they appeared to a lack of a cutting edge up front.

Save for a Ramsey drive that forced Helton into a smart parry, the majority of the chances fell to Porto, and as the game wore on they began to assert their authority.

Lopez hammered a shot straight at Manuel Almunia after a slip from William Gallas just before the half hour, while Raul Meireles lashed wide from 25 yards.

Eventually they got the goal they deserved when Jorge Rolando swung over a corner from the right and Diaby left Bruno Alves all alone to power a header past Almunia.

Arsenal's task became twice as difficult eight minutes after the break as Lopez doubled Porto's advantage.

The Gunners gave the ball away and with Eboue playing Lopez onside from Fernando's pass, the Argentine striker kept his cool to fire past Almunia.

Giving the ball away was becoming an all-too-regular occurrence from Arsenal's players, with Diaby in particular guilty - far from protecting his back four, he appeared keen to pile extra pressure on them such was his profligacy.

Cristian Rodriguez twice went close to extending Porto's lead, but he shot wide from the left and then moments later from the right as he waltzed through the visitors defence at will.

Wenger must now pray that the draw for the last 16 on Friday 19 December in Nyon is kind on his inconsistent team.


FC Porto: Helton, Fucile, Rolando, Bruno Alves, Pedro Emanuel, Lucho Gonzalez (Costa 77), Fernando, Raul Meireles, Lopez, Hulk (Guarin 88), Rodriguez (Mariano Gonzalez 78).
Subs Not Used: Nuno, Stepanov, Lino, Sektioui.

Booked: Lucho Gonzalez.

Goals: Bruno Alves 39, Lopez 54.

Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Silvestre, Djourou, Ramsey (Wilshere 59), Diaby (Gibbs 59), Song Billong (Randall 78), Denilson, Vela, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Hoyte, Merida, Simpson.

Booked: Eboue.

Att: 37,602.

Ref: Kyros Vassaras (Greece).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: FC Porto's Bruno Alves 7.33 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Champions League photos
10 Dec 08 |  Football
Champions League as it happened
10 Dec 08 |  Europe


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