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Standard Liege   2 - 3   Arsenal

Eduardo, left, celebrates his winning goal

By Sam Lyon

Eduardo pounced in the final 10 minutes as Arsenal came back from two goals down to beat Standard Liege in a thrilling Champions League encounter.

The striker bundled in a corner minutes after Thomas Vermaelen's scruffy equaliser to complete the comeback.

That was after Liege took a shock early two-goal lead when Eliaquim Mangala shot in and Milan Jovanovic scored from the spot after William Gallas's foul.

But Nicklas Bendtner slid in for 2-1 and Arsenal went on to snatch the win.

The Gunners left it late, though, after producing a performance some way short of their explosive and penetrative best.

The Belgian side may feel somewhat hard done by having repelled Arsenal for large periods of the match with a determined, disciplined defensive display that had looked like frustrating their exhalted opponents until the dramatic finale.

And they will point to the fact that Alex Song, who set up Vermaelen for the visitors' critical equaliser, looked offside and as if he had handled the ball before laying the ball into the defender's path to score.

However, it is hard to argue Arsenal did not deserve at least a point out of a game they controlled for all but the first five minutes.

The Londoners entered the match as firm favourites but Liege are not without pedigree themselves, as they showed in running Liverpool close in last season's Champions League qualifying round before going on to dump Everton out of the Uefa Cup.

And, as it turned out, the hosts could not have hoped for a better start.

Eduardo, in the starting line-up after his two-match European suspension was rescinded this week, was the guilty party, the Croat's unnecessary attempted back-heel on the edge of the Arsenal box falling to Mangala, who lashed into the near post past Champions League debutant keeper Vito Mannone.

606: DEBATE
jimmy-dean-2009

Then, almost directly from the restart, Jovanovic drove at the Arsenal defence before going down in the box under Gallas's clumsy swipe, the top scorer in the Belgian league this season picking himself up to slot in the penalty.

The Maurice Dufrasne Stadium was in dreamland, and Arsenal were visibly rocked, struggling to knit together their complex passing game in the face of an increasingly determined Liege defence.

Eduardo had a neat turn-and-shot blocked and Bendtner flashed wide, but the Gunners rarely looked like regaining the composure that had deserted them since Mangala's opener.

That was until shortly before the break and Bendtner's crucial goal, the Dane running on to Abou Diaby's flicked pass to slide home his first of the season and give the visitors renewed hope going into the half-time break.

In a frantic start to the second half, either side could have added to their tally, Dieudonne Mbokani seeing his goalbound shot blocked by Gael Clichy and Bendtner denied a shot on goal when through at the other end by a fabulous saving tackle from Mangala.

But, despite Tomas Rosicky impressing on his return to the starting line-up for the first time since January, Arsenal still struggled to trouble home keeper Sinan Bolat, despite their wealth of possession.

However, with the clock ticking towards the final 10 minutes, the Londoners finally drew level - Belgium international Vermaelen, poking home from a yard after Song had prodded back into the box from Cesc Fabregas's deep free-kick.

Liege complained vociferously about Song's role in the goal, but there were no doubts about Eduardo's winner - the forward bundling home Fabregas's corner from close range off his knee with only nine minutes remaining.

It was a dramatic finale that stunned Liege, and perhaps answered a few critics who have argued this young Arsenal side can no longer grind out results when not at their best.

And with this the fifth season out of six that the Gunners have opened their Champions League group stages account with a win, few will argue they are not capable of at least matching last season's run to the semi-finals.

Live text and stats

 

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Champions League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Standard Liege 2-3 Arsenal FT
(HT 2-1)
  • Mangala 2
  • Jovanovic (pen) 5
  • Bendtner 45
  • Vermaelen 78
  • Eduardo 81

Standard Liege

  • 38 Bolat
  • 04 Rocha
  • 17 Camozzato
  • 19 Sarr
  • 07 Dalmat (Goreux 82)
  • 22 Mangala
  • 28 Witsel yellow card (Traore 84)
  • 33 Gonzalez
  • 09 Mbokani
  • 10 De Camargo
  • 23 Jovanovic (Nicaise 58 yellow card)

Substitutes

  • 01 Van Hout,
  • 05 Felipe,
  • 14 Mulemo,
  • 26 Nicaise,
  • 02 Goreux,
  • 11 Dufer,
  • 20 Traore

Arsenal

Substitutes

Ref: Iturralde GonzalezAtt: 58,100
STANDARD LIEGE
ARSENAL

Possession

  • Standard Liege 34%
  • Arsenal 66%

Attempts on target

  • Standard Liege 3
  • Arsenal 7

Attempts off target

  • Standard Liege 0
  • Arsenal 1

Corners

  • Standard Liege 4
  • Arsenal 3

Fouls

  • Standard Liege 11
  • Arsenal 12
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:12 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
  • 90:00+2:53 Foul by Mohamed Sarr on Gael Clichy, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Vito Mannone.
  • 90:00+1:44 The official flags Igor De Camargo offside. Vito Mannone restarts play with the free kick.
  • 89:51 Vassiriki Diaby gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mohamed Sarr. Sinan Bolat takes the free kick.
  • 89:25 Igor De Camargo concedes a free kick for a foul on Thomas Vermaelen. Vito Mannone restarts play with the free kick.
  • 88:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack Wilshere on Ricardo Rocha. Sinan Bolat takes the free kick.
  • 85:42 Substitution Jack Wilshere is brought on as a substitute for Da Silva Eduardo.
  • 83:41 Substitution Moussa Traore joins the action as a substitute, replacing Axel Witsel.
  • 81:11 Substitution Wilfried Dalmat leaves the field to be replaced by Reginal Goreux.
  • 80:57 The assist for the goal came from Francesc Fabregas.
  • 80:57 GOAL - Da Silva EduardoStandard Liege 2 - 3 Arsenal Da Silva Eduardo finds the net with a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Standard Liege 2-3 Arsenal.
  • 80:41 Corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas,
  • 79:26 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Jack Wilshere coming on for Alexandre Song Billong.
  • 79:01 Substitution Bacary Sagna replaces Emmanuel Eboue.
  • 77:30 Assist by Alexandre Song Billong.
  • 77:30 GOAL - Thomas VermaelenStandard Liege 2 - 2 Arsenal Thomas Vermaelen grabs a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal.
  • 76:41 Foul by Marcos Camozzato on Da Silva Eduardo, free kick awarded. Francesc Fabregas produces a cross,
  • 75:58 Vito Mannone takes the free kick.
  • 75:58 Booking Benjamin Nicaise is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
  • 75:50 Benjamin Nicaise gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Vito Mannone.
  • 74:54 Corner taken by Mehdi Gonzalez from the right by-line, Vito Mannone makes a comfortable save.
  • 74:40 Alexandre Song Billong gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wilfried Dalmat. Wilfried Dalmat takes the free kick.
  • 73:28 Shot by Francesc Fabregas from 25 yards. Comfortable save by Sinan Bolat.
  • 72:44 Centre by Marcos Camozzato, Mehdi Gonzalez makes a clearance.
  • 71:42 A cross is delivered by Emmanuel Eboue.
  • 70:36 Shot by Aaron Ramsey from 25 yards. Save by Sinan Bolat.
  • 69:06 Direct free kick taken by Axel Witsel.
  • 69:06 Substitution Aaron Ramsey is brought on as a substitute for Tomas Rosicky.
  • 69:06 Alexandre Song Billong concedes a free kick for a foul on Dieudonne Mbokani.
  • 68:31 The ball is delivered by Marcos Camozzato, Vito Mannone makes a comfortable save.
  • 67:00 The free kick is delivered right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from left channel.
  • 67:00 Booking Booking for Axel Witsel for unsporting behaviour.
  • 66:45 Axel Witsel concedes a free kick for a foul on Nicklas Bendtner.
  • 65:08 Corner taken by Da Silva Eduardo.
  • 64:27 Da Silva Eduardo takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post.
  • 64:15 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot from 18 yards. Eliaquim Mangala gets a block in.
  • 63:15 The assistant referee flags for offside against Da Silva Eduardo. Direct free kick taken by Sinan Bolat.
  • 62:43 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tomas Rosicky by Benjamin Nicaise. Da Silva Eduardo restarts play with the free kick.
  • 57:16 Free kick crossed by Francesc Fabregas, Axel Witsel manages to make a clearance.
  • 57:16 Substitution Benjamin Nicaise is brought on as a substitute for Milan Jovanovic.
  • 57:16 Foul by Wilfried Dalmat on Francesc Fabregas, free kick awarded.
  • 56:18 Outswinging corner taken by Milan Jovanovic from the left by-line.
  • 56:00 Wilfried Dalmat crosses the ball, Emmanuel Eboue makes a clearance.
  • 55:13 Alexandre Song Billong crosses the ball.
  • 51:38 Foul by Milan Jovanovic on William Gallas, free kick awarded. Francesc Fabregas delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, save made by Sinan Bolat.
  • 50:05 Dieudonne Mbokani is ruled offside. Vito Mannone takes the free kick.
  • 49:45 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alexandre Song Billong by Milan Jovanovic. Free kick taken by Vito Mannone.
  • 46:27 Tomas Rosicky sends in a cross.
  • 45:42 Milan Jovanovic takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Emmanuel Eboue manages to make a clearance.
  • 45:19 Shot from 18 yards by Dieudonne Mbokani. Eliaquim Mangala gets a block in.
  • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:05 It is the end of the first-half.
  • 44:55 Vassiriki Diaby provided the assist for the goal.
  • 44:55 GOAL - Nicklas BendtnerStandard Liege 2 - 1 Arsenal Nicklas Bendtner scores a goal from the edge of the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Standard Liege 2-1 Arsenal.
  • 43:01 Francesc Fabregas sends in a cross, Sinan Bolat fouled by Da Silva Eduardo, the ref awards a free kick. Sinan Bolat takes the free kick.
  • 42:18 The ball is crossed by Gael Clichy, clearance made by Axel Witsel.
  • 41:48 Shot from 25 yards from Dieudonne Mbokani. Comfortable save by Vito Mannone.
  • 39:27 The ball is swung over by Da Silva Eduardo.
  • 38:18 The offside flag is raised against Igor De Camargo. William Gallas restarts play with the free kick.
  • 37:38 A cross is delivered by Emmanuel Eboue.
  • 37:22 Francesc Fabregas has a drilled shot. Blocked by Mohamed Sarr.
  • 36:25 Gael Clichy crosses the ball, comfortable save by Sinan Bolat.
  • 36:06 Unfair challenge on Vassiriki Diaby by Marcos Camozzato results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 33:52 Francesc Fabregas crosses the ball, clearance by Mohamed Sarr.
  • 33:18 Igor De Camargo restarts play with the free kick.
  • 33:18 Booking Gael Clichy is given a yellow card.
  • 33:03 Igor De Camargo fouled by Gael Clichy, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 32:42 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Eliaquim Mangala by Vassiriki Diaby. Eliaquim Mangala takes the free kick.
  • 30:50 Centre by Da Silva Eduardo, clearance by Mohamed Sarr.
  • 30:16 Centre by Nicklas Bendtner.
  • 29:05 Vassiriki Diaby crosses the ball.
  • 26:44 Da Silva Eduardo crosses the ball, save made by Sinan Bolat.
  • 25:38 Foul by Ricardo Rocha on Vassiriki Diaby, free kick awarded. Francesc Fabregas crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, Sinan Bolat makes a comfortable save.
  • 23:16 Gael Clichy crosses the ball, clearance made by Mohamed Sarr.
  • 22:20 Vassiriki Diaby has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 21:48 Centre by Da Silva Eduardo, Eliaquim Mangala manages to make a clearance.
  • 20:26 Marcos Camozzato crosses the ball.
  • 18:13 Milan Jovanovic fouled by Emmanuel Eboue, the ref awards a free kick. Ricardo Rocha restarts play with the free kick.
  • 15:20 Foul by Nicklas Bendtner on Mehdi Gonzalez, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Igor De Camargo.
  • 14:23 Wilfried Dalmat delivers the ball, save by Vito Mannone.
  • 13:00 Tomas Rosicky delivers the ball, clearance made by Eliaquim Mangala.
  • 12:30 Tomas Rosicky crosses the ball, Ricardo Rocha makes a clearance.
  • 11:43 A cross is delivered by Gael Clichy, clearance made by Eliaquim Mangala.
  • 9:40 Unfair challenge on Axel Witsel by Vassiriki Diaby results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Marcos Camozzato.
  • 7:40 Axel Witsel fouled by Vassiriki Diaby, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Sinan Bolat.
  • 4:08 GOAL - Milan JovanovicStandard Liege 2 - 0 Arsenal Power penalty scored by Milan Jovanovic. Standard Liege 2-0 Arsenal.
  • 3:18 Penalty awarded for a foul by William Gallas on Milan Jovanovic.
  • 1:56 GOAL - Eliaquim MangalaStandard Liege 1 - 0 Arsenal Eliaquim Mangala scores a goal from outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Standard Liege 1-0 Arsenal.
  • 1:13 Corner taken by Milan Jovanovic played to the near post, Nicklas Bendtner makes a clearance.
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Champions League results

16 Sep 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Dynamo Kiev 3-1 Rubin Kazan R
Inter Milan 0-0 Barcelona R
Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen R
Lyon 1-0 Fiorentina R
Olympiakos 1-0 AZ R
Sevilla 2-0 Unirea Urziceni R
Standard Liege 2-3 Arsenal R
VfB Stuttgart 1-1 Rangers R



see also
Wenger delight at Arsenal spirit
17 Sep 09 |  Europe
Wednesday football as it happened
16 Sep 09 |  Football
Champions League photos
16 Sep 09 |  Europe
Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen
16 Sep 09 |  Europe


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