Spot-on Cesc spares Gunners blushes

08 January 2011 03:30
Captain Cesc Fabregas came off the bench to net a last-minute penalty which kept Arsenal in the FA Cup and denied npower Championship side Leeds a famous victory at the Emirates Stadium. It had looked as if the Gunners were heading out at the third round stage for the first time since 1996 when Robert Snodgrass netted from the spot after Denilson had upended Max Gradel early in the second half. However, with just moments remaining, substitute Theo Walcott was tugged back by Ben Parker, and Fabregas stepped up to blast the spot-kick past Kasper Schmeichel, who had been in superb form. Arsenal should have been ahead on 11 minutes when captain Tomas Rosicky's pass split the defence to release Andrey Arshavin. The Russian was clean through but Schmeichel stood up well to make an impressive block at the edge of the area. Alex Bruce then made a fine saving tackle as Nicklas Bendtner looked to skip into the Leeds area. Arsenal had plenty of pressure at the start of the second half but were behind from the penalty spot on 54 minutes. And they were indebted to Wojciech Szczesny for keeping it at only 1-0 when the young Pole produced a brilliant save to deny Luciano Becchio's point-blank header. Walcott was denied a penalty with three minutes left. Phil Dowd, however, did point to the spot moments later when Walcott was tugged back by Parker - and Fabregas set up the replay at Elland Road.

Source: PA