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Arsene Wenger is unhappy with Porto's winning goal

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Wenger unhappy with referee over Porto goal

Arsene Wenger has criticised referee Martin Hansson over Porto's winner in their 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Champions League last-16, first leg.

Keeper Lukasz Fabianski picked up what was deemed a Sol Campbell backpass and Falcao scored from a quick free-kick.

Wenger felt the pass was "accidental" and that Hansson allowed the Gunners no time to defend the free-kick.

"It is better than a penalty," said the Arsenal manager, who added: "The referee gives them just a goal."

Porto opened the scoring when Fabianski let Silvestre Varela's cross slip into the net after only 10 minutes before Campbell hit back with a header to equalise and score his first Arsenal goal since the 2006 Champions League final.

But the turning point of the match occurred seven minutes after the break when Fabianski picked up the ball from what Hansson judged to be a backpass from Campbell.

After an indirect free-kick was awarded, Hansson let the hosts take it quickly and Ruben Micael rolled the ball across for Falcao to side-foot home while Arsenal were still attempting to reorganise.

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The Swedish official was also the centre of controversy last November when he missed Thierry Henry's infamous handball in France's World Cup play-off win over the Republic of Ireland.

"The backpass was accidental. Whenever do you see the defender kick the ball back with his toe? The ball hit Sol, it was not on purpose and it has to be intentional to be a free-kick," stated Wenger, who remonstrated with Hansson on the touchline after the goal.

"It is difficult to understand how the referee can interpret that. Then, on an indirect free-kick, if you allow the team to play quickly, just five metres from the goal, how can you defend that?

"It is better than a penalty. It was unbelievable that he allowed Porto to play straight away and push the ball into the net. I have never seen that and I have been in the game a long time.

"It is completely inappropriate that he allows that in such a situation. When the referee gives the free-kick he has to allow us a chance to defend it, otherwise it is better to give a goal straight away."

Wenger refused to blame Fabianski, who was also criticised for displays in the recent FA Cup defeat by Stoke and last season's FA Cup semi-final loss against Chelsea.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas
Until they scored we were controlling the game and could have won it - but after that we were a little bit shocked and with their fans behind them they put a lot of pressure on us

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas

"I do not want to come out individually on Lukasz's performance, and judge him in front of everybody," added the Frenchman.

"You have to accept you lose as a team and win as a team. Any individual performance has not to be analysed publicly.

"It's unfortunate that we lost the game but we are still in the tie. They played well but we have a chance to turn it around in the second game. That's what we will try to do and I'm convinced we will do it."

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas felt his side were on course for at least a draw before the second goal arrived.

"Until they scored we were playing well, we were controlling the game, we were having chances and at that point we could have won the game," said the Spaniard.

"But after that the team were a little bit shocked at what had happened and then they were very strong because their fans were behind them and they put a lot of pressure on us.

"We are confident [of winning the second leg] but we still have to concentrate on the league and there are many things to come before that game."

Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira had little complaints about the manner of the all-important strike.

"It was a legal goal, one born out of the intelligence of a Porto player," said Ferreira.

"Thierry Henry also did the same thing when he played for Arsenal. It gives a definite advantage to Porto now in the tie."



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see also
FC Porto 2-1 Arsenal
17 Feb 10 |  Europe
Wednesday football as it happened
17 Feb 10 |  Football
Arsenal suffer new injury worries
11 Feb 10 |  Arsenal


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