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  Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Arsenal break brave Boro
Festa's own goal gives Arsenal the lead against Boro
Middlesbrough 0-1 Arsenal
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Arsenal stayed on course for the double as Middlesbrough's Gianluca Festa put through his own goal to send them to the FA Cup Final in Cardiff.

Festa's first-half blunder was harsh on Middlesbrough as Steve McClaren's underdogs made a magnificent attempt to end Arsenal's assault on Cup and league.


I couldn't have asked any more - I'm proud of all of them
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren
But it was victory at a heavy price for Arsenal and England as key defender Sol Campbell's FA Cup semi-final curse struck again when he limped off with a hamstring injury in the second half.

Campbell will now be a concern for Arsenal in the title run-in - and for watching England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson as he finalises his World Cup plans.

Arsenal's Henry escapes from Stockdale
Middlesbrough were left to regret failing to cash in on early dominance, while Arsenal may claim they were due a visit from Lady Luck after last year's unfortunate FA Cup Final defeat against Liverpool.

Middlesbrough entered the semi-final as rank outsiders, not helped by the suspension of captain Paul Ince and the absence of cup-tied Benito Carbone.


Both teams showed great attitude but maybe we were a bit more lucky
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
And they suffered another blow when influential Jonathan Greening was ruled out with a calf injury, leaving loan signing Mickael Debeve to make his full debut.

Arsenal replaced Tony Adams with Martin Keown while Richard Wright - as per Wenger's FA Cup policy - took David Seaman's place in goal.

Middlesbrough flew out of the traps, rattling Arsenal with a succession of tackles and attacks that left the Gunners fighting for their lives early on.

Vieira is hit with Middlesbrough tackles
Veteran Dean Windass brought a superb save from Wright after 11 minutes as he turned away a powerful volley.

And youngster Luke Wilkshire missed a perfect opportunity to put Middlesbrough ahead when he shot tamely wide from eight yards after Alen Boksic had unlocked the Arsenal rearguard.

Arsenal were off the pace and only posed a danger in flashes, although Henry should have done better than over-complicate a simple finish from Sylvain Wiltord's cross and fail to connect from close range.

McClaren and Wenger were both forced into substitutions after 31 minutes, Festa rerplacing hamstring victim Ugo Ehiogu and Lee Dixon coming on for Oleg Luzhny, who suffered a dead leg.

Henry is mobbed after Arsenal's goal
It was a fateful moment as Festa put through his own goal to give Arsenal an undeserved lead seven minutes before half-time.

The Italian defender inadvertently stuck out his right leg and diverted Henry's corner past Mark Schwarzer,

It was a devastating blow to Middlesbrough - but they were fortunate when Wiltord spurned the easiest chance possible to stamp Arsenal's passport into the final.

Franck Quedrue inexplicably chested Henry's cross into Wiltord's path, but he blazed wildly over an open goal from point-blank range.

Boksic is robbed by Keown and Campbell
Arsenal - and England - suffered a serious setback when Campbell pulled his hamstring after 56 minutes.

It was a grim replica of last season's semi-final on the same ground when Campbell limped out of Spurs' defeat against Arsenal with an ankle injury.

Middlesbrough took heart, and it needed a desperate goal-line clearance from Dixon to prevent an equaliser from Windass' header.

Arsenal were being given a torrid time when Boro were on the attack, and Wright had to be alert again after 72 minutes to save Boksic's header from Allan Johnston's cross.

It was Middlesbrough's final fling, and the force remained with Arsenal as they head to the FA Cup Final once more.


Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Ehiogu (Festa 32), Southgate, Queudrue, Wilkshire (Stamp 56), Mustoe, Johnston (Marinelli 76), Michael Debeve, Michael Debeve, Windass, Boksic.
Subs Not Used: Crossley, Cooper.
Booked: Windass.

Arsenal: Wright, Lauren, Keown, Campbell (Parlour 59), Luzhny (Dixon 33), Wiltord, Vieira, Edu, Ljungberg, Bergkamp (Kanu 89), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Seaman, Jeffers.
Booked: Edu, Parlour.

Att: 61,168

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Simon Brotherton
"An absorbing, keenly contested semi-final"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"We needed to concentrate fully for the 90 minutes"
Boro's Dean Windass
"It was not our day today"
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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