• Date: Wed 31 March 2010
  • Venue: Emirates Stadium
  • Ref: Busacca, M
  • Attendance: 59,572


Walcott (69)

Fabregas (85) P

2 - 2


Ibrahimovic (46)

Ibrahimovic (59)

Arsenal vs Barcelona

Team Lineups


Manuel Almunia
Bacary Sagna (Theo Walcott, 67)
Thomas Vermaelen
William Gallas (Pereira Neves Denilson, 45)
Gael Clichy
Vassiriki Abou Diaby
Cesc Fabregas
Samir Nasri
Alexandre Song
Andrey Arshavin (Emmanuel Eboue, 27)
Nicklas Bendtner


Victor Valdes
Daniel Alves
Gerard Pique
Carles Puyol
Cabelino Andrade Maxwell
Xavier Hernandez Xavi
Seydou Keita
Sergio Busquets
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Thierry Henry, 77)
Lionel Messi (Gabriel Alejandro Milito, 87)
Pedro Rodriguez Pedrito

Match Report
Arsenal's Champions League dream is hanging by a thread after grabbing an unlikely 2-2 draw against Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Gunners looked down and out as Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened up a two-goal lead as the reigning champions put on a sumptuous display. However, his efforts were cancelled out by substitute Theo Walcott and a late penalty from Cesc Fabregas as Carles Puyol was dismissed for tangling with the Gunners skipper. An absorbing first-half somehow yielded no goals as the Gunners somehow managed to keep Josep Guardiola's magnificent outfit at bay. Barcelona started like a house on fire and Sergio Busquets was unlucky not to open the scoring inside two minutes. His low drive was turned away for a corner by Manuel Almunia before Ibrahimovic missed a number of chances as Barca turned the screw. Lionel Messi threatened from distance on occasions as the all-conquering outfit dominated the early exchanges. Arsene Wenger's decision to rush William Gallas back into the team proved a bad one as he left on a stretcher to be replaced by Denilson. This was after Andrey Arshavin had limped out of the action midway through the half, with Emmanuel Eboue coming on for the Russian. Fabregas passed a late fitness test, but was cautioned with the interval looming. The booking, his third of the competition, rules him out of the second leg at Camp Nou, a bitter blow for the Barcelona-born star. Arsenal's first-half resistance counted for nothing as Ibrahimovic opened the scoring within 30 seconds of the re-start. Gerard Pique's ball forward was chased down by the Swede and, as first-half hero Almunia rushed off his line, Ibrahimovic lofted the ball into the far corner of the net for a deserved lead. He doubled the advantage, slamming into the top corner after being played through on goal on the hour. His goal sparked a blistering Arsenal fightback and Wenger made one final change, bringing on Theo Walcott for defender Bacary Sagna. His bold move proved to inspire the hosts and it was Walcott who halved the deficit. He collected a telling pass on the right-hand side of the penalty area and slotted through Victor Valdes to renew hope. With both sides looking weary, it was the hosts that grabbed the initiative. As Nicklas Bendtner's header fell into the Barca penalty area, Fabregas fell to the ground under Puyol's challenge and referee Massimo Busacca awarded a penalty. He sent the defender off, allowing Fabregas to level with five minutes remaining. Arsenal huffed and puffed, but Barca's ten-men held firm and now Arsenal must score in Spain to stand any chance of progressing.
Live Text Commentary

A fantastic clash is brought to an end. Barca will wonder how they failed to open up a first leg advantage, but the Gunners must score in Spain to stand a chance of progressing next week.

Full time



Sensible play from the visitors as they keep possession deep into stoppage time.


Walcott wastes the ball, crossing staright to Valdes.


Walcott makes another darting run, but his cross is cut out this time. Three additional minutes at the end of this European classic.


Silly foul by Song on Henry. Still time for a winner.


Fabregas comes back on. Heroic stuff from the Gunners skipper.


Messi is brought off and defender Gabriel Milito comes on.


Looks like Fabregas may have to come off the pitch. He looks to have hurt himself striking in the penalty.


ARSENAL 2-2 BARCELONA: FABREGAS smashes the spot kick beyond Valdes. What a finish we have here.

Red Card

Puyol is off! He was the last man, but decision looks very harsh.


Penalty for Arsenal! Puyol is adjudged to have brought Fabregas.


Arsenal look tired now. They require a goal from somewhere to avoid needing two at Camp Nou.


Can Arsenal grab what would be an undeserved leveller in the last ten minutes?

Yellow Card

Diaby is cautioned for scything down Keita. No complaints from anyone at the Emirates.


Arsenal are constantly looking for Walcott here and rightly so. He is causing Maxwell big problems.


Former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry is brought on and two goal Ibrahimovic makes way.


Messi breaks clear and fires straight at Almunia.

Yellow Card

Eboue picks up a yellow card. Looked a harsh one.


Fabregas' effort drifts safely over the top. Brings an end to Arsenal dominance.

Yellow Card

Pique in the book and he too misses the second leg. Free-kick in very dangerous position.


Arsenal look hungry again. Walcott's cross causes panic, but is eventually cleared.


ARSENAL 1-2 BARCELONA: WALCOTT reduces the deficit. The England man has made an instant impact. Can the Gunners turn this around?


Walcott in the act as his sliding cross is deflected by Maxwell and Valdes gathers comfortably.


Sagna is replaced by Theo Walcott. Last throw of the dice from Wenger.


Maxwell is felled in the Gunners area and Sagna is lucky to get away with that one.


Looks like Guardiola's men are happy to play out time now as they have one foot in the last four of the competition.


Cross into the Barcelona area is gathered by Valdes.


Arsenal look down and out here. Barca are threading the ball around in majestic fashion.


ARSENAL 0-2 BARCELONA: IBRAHIMOVIC is at the double! Fine strike from the towering front man as he smashes into the roof of the net.


Great goal-saving challenge from Song as Maxwell's teasing ball is almost turned in by Ibrahimovic.


Bendtner almost gets lucky as Puyol's clearance hits him, but drops to Valdes and he mops up the danger.


The ball is in Arsenal's penalty area and they struggle to clear their lines.


Xavi heads wide as Barca launch a counter-attack. Fascinating stuff at the Emirates.


What a chance for Bendtner. The Gunners break and Clichy's cross lands on his head, but Valdes is equal to it.


Messi's free-kick strikes the wall and is cleared.


Pedro misses the target. Fine chance as the midfielder's effort drifts wide of the post from the edge of the area.


Barca are playing keep ball now. They look like they could easily retain their crown this term.


Fabregas bombs on and tangles with Pique. Play-on says the referee.


The crowd is flat now. The hosts need a boost from somewhere.


Absolute shocker for the Gunners. The goal was within 30 seconds of the re-start.


ARSENAL 0-1 BARCELONA: IBRAHIMOVIC opens the scoring! A long ball from Gerard Pique is chased down by the Swede and as Almunia storms off his line, Ibrahimovic lobs him. Howler from the stopper.

Second half

Barcelona get the second half underway.


Wenger's decision to rush Gallas and Fabregas back into the team looks like a bad call. Barca coach Josep Guardiola will wonder how his team don't hold a lead.


Thankfully, a chance to breathe as an absorbing first period comes to a close. Barca have been the better side by a country mile, but Arsenal have had their moments.

Half time



Another fine cross from Nasri is blocked by Puyol again. The diminutive Frenchman is the hosts' chief threat this evening.


Arsenal need the half-time whistle here in order to re-group.


Gallas is replaced by Denilson.

Yellow Card

Fabregas is cautioned. He will miss the return leg at Camp Nou.


Fine move from Arsenal ends in Nasri's cross being cut out by Carles Puyol.


Gallas is carried off on a stretcher. He looks unlikely to make a return.


Gallas is down now. The Gunners' team selection looks like it isn't paying off with the Frenchman and Fabregas struggling.

Yellow Card

Song goes into the book. Stupid one for the midfielder as he fails to retreat from a free-kick.


Clichy makes a telling break up the left and wins a free-kick in a promising position. Fabregas' lofted ball is poor and 'keeper Victor Valdes makes an easy catch. Disappointing from the skipper.


Bendtner is offside again as Barcelona's defence looks a little shaky failing to clear Nasri's cross.


Messi's strike nestles straight into Almunia's arms.


Song trips Xavi. Another set-piece in a dangerous position.


Bendtner's telling cross is headed tamely wide by Abou Diaby.


Xavi's pass to Maxwell is placed straight into touch. A rare error from the midfield maestro.


Great play between Ibrahimovic and Messi again allows the big Swede to fire on goal, but he drags his shot wide.


Nicklas Bendtner was almost into the action for the first time, but he is caught offside.


Constant Barcelona pressure is halted as Ibrahimovic fouls challenging Sagna.


The injured Arshavin is replaced by Emmanuel Eboue. Blow for Arsenal.


Gael Clichy may be fortunate there. Messi dances beyond his challenge but goes down. Referee waves play on.


Fabregas is not looking sharp in the centre of the park and it looks like Arshavin is about to be replaced.


Arshavin is limping around after the challenge that brought his yellow card. The last thing Wenger needs.


Samir Nasri's strike on goal is a whisker away from breaking the deadlock. The crowd are in full voice now.


Better from the Gunners. They are getting fired into the challenges now and Barca don't like it. Sagna's cross is headed away as Arsenal create some pressure.

Yellow Card

Arshavin goes into the book for a late challenge. First one of the evening.


Arsenal break the play up a bit better and they need more of that to unsettle Barcelona.


Alves' cross is headed straight at Almunia. Barcelona are going for the jugular here.


Xavi's free-kick falls to Pedro and his effort inside the penalty area is headed over by Bacary Sagna.


The visitors continue to pour forward. Can Arsenal weather this extended storm? Vermaelen gives away free-kick by the corner flag deep in their own territory.


Awesome from Barca and Almunia! He saves from Xavi from close range.


Almunia saves point-blank effort from Ibrahimovic.


Messi fires over when well-placed. This is like a practice match for the Spanish giants.


Alexandre Song brings down Seydou Keita and a free-kick is awarded in Arsenal's half, but nothing comes of it.


Arenal lose the ball deep in Barcelona's half and Ibrahimovic runs clear of Thomas Vermaelen, but shoots into the side netting.


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is cutting a bemused figure on the sidelines in these early stages.


Further Barca pressure. Daniel Alves storms up the right wing, collects the ball and crosses for Ibrahimovic but he shoots over. Wouldn't have counted as he was offside.


Messi weaves through and smashes straight at Almunia. Ominous signs at the Emirates.


Andrey Arshavin's sloppy pass is almost costly, but Arsenal get the ball back to Almunia. They need to get into the game here.


Barcelona are looking up for this from the off. The Gunners' defence could be in for a long night.


What a chance! From the corner Sergio Busquets has an effort saved from Manuel Almunia.


Messi's storming run leads to a chance as Ibrahimovic's cross is knocked behind for a corner. Danger already for the hosts.


Arsenal get the game underway.

Awaiting Kickoff

We are almost ready for kick-off and the players are out on the pitch. This promises to be a cracker in the capital.

Awaiting Kickoff

Former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has to settle for a place on the Barca bench this evening.

Awaiting Kickoff

Champions League holders Barcelona are without the injured Andres Iniesta, but Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will form a potent forward line.

Awaiting Kickoff

William Gallas makes a welcome return and will figure at the heart of the Gunners' defence.

Awaiting Kickoff

The big news is that Arsenal talisman Cesc Fabregas has been selected to start despite struggling with a knee problem picked up in the weekend game at Birmingham City.

Awaiting Kickoff

Good evening and welcome to this crucial Champions League quarter final clash between Arsenal and Barcelona from the Emirates Stadium.