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Arsenal stun Barca 2-1

Boltonclip Wigan 1-0 in FA Cup 4th-round replay


LONDON (AP) ― Arsenal rallied in the second half to beat Spanish giant Barcelona 2-1 in a thrilling first-leg match in the last 16 of the Champions League and three Brazilians scored for Shakhtar Donetsk in its 3-2 victory in Roma.

Russia captain Andrey Arshavin came off the bench and capped a flowing length-of-the-field move with the winner for Arsenal in the 83rd minute of a gripping game at Emirates Stadium.

Netherlands forward Robin van Persie’s 78th-minute volley had canceled out David Villa’s first-half opener for Barcelona, which will still be held by many as the favorite ahead of the second leg on March 8.

“The game promised a lot and it fulfilled that expectation,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “It was a special night. We kept resilient and strong. I am very proud of my team.”
Bolton’s Lee Chung-young (left) and teammate Mark Davies celebrate their 1-0 win. (AP-Yonhap News)
Bolton’s Lee Chung-young (left) and teammate Mark Davies celebrate their 1-0 win. (AP-Yonhap News)

Shakhtar trio Jadson, Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano scored in the space of 13 minutes at the end of the first half to cancel out Simone Perotta’s opener for Roma in the Italian capital.

France forward Jeremy Menez’s second-half goal gave Roma some hope but it was another disappointing Champions League night for Italy, with Serie A leader AC Milan losing 1-0 to Tottenham at the San Siro on Tuesday.

“We are a good team and we played well,” Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said.

The Arsenal-Barcelona match, featuring two of the most pleasing-on-the-eye teams in European football, lived up to its pre-game billing.

Just like last season’s quarterfinal first leg between the two sides at the Emirates, which finished 2-2, the Spanish champions grabbed a precious away goal and were a class above the hosts in the first half. The passing of midfield triumvirate of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets was often sublime.

But the match turned after Villa was substituted in the 68th and Arsenal’s two late goals puts it in the driving seat to make the quarterfinals.

“They are the best side in football’s history, in my opinion,” said Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. “It’s a nice victory but that’s all. If we show it here and not in the Camp Nou, it is nothing for us.”

Villa put Barcelona ahead when he beat the offside trap running onto Argentina star Lionel Messi’s through-ball before calmly stroking his finish between the legs of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

FA Cup

Ivan Klasnic scored the second-half winner Wednesday as Bolton beat Wigan 1-0 away in an FA Cup fourth-round replay to set up a match against Fulham.

The Croatia striker slid home a finish in the 66th minute after latching on to a pass by midfielder Mark Davies to settle a hard-fought northwest derby at DW Stadium.

Bolton striker Johan Elmander hit the post and had a goal disallowed, while the closest Wigan came to an equalizer was when Jordi Gomez shot just over.

Bolton will travel to Fulham in the fifth round on Saturday.

In the second-tier League Championship, Nottingham Forest missed a chance to go second and move to within four points of leader Queens Park Rangers by losing 1-0 at Scunthorpe.

Serie A

Inter Milan returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win away to Fiorentina on Wednesday.

Giampaolo Pazzini scored a second-half winner against his former club after Fiorentina defender Manuel Pasqual canceled out Michele Camporese’s own goal.

The result means Inter has now played the same number of games as league leader AC Milan, and trails by five points.
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