Barcelona FC of Spain Wednesday night drew 2-2 against Arsenal FC of England at the Emirates stadium in the 1st leg quarter final match of the UEFA Champions league. The match saw 4 goals scored in the 2nd half after a goalless 1st half.
Barcelona clearly dominated the first half of the match having over 15 shots at goal while Arsenal had less than 5. Ball possession was 70% to 30% in favour of Barca. They controlled every department of the game, dazzled the fans to a delightful football, had several shots at goal but no goal came. The host managed to contain the visitors for the whole of the first half.
Second half resumed with more hostility from Barcelona leading to their first goal in the first minute through Ibrahimovic who did a solo run and lobbied the ball over an on-rushing Arsenal goal keeper. The pressure continued; and this paid off again for Barcelona in the 59th minute as Ibrahimovic made it two for the visitors following a defensive blunder by Alexander Song. The bombardment continued but no more goals came.
Arsene Wenger made an intelligent change, bringing in Walcott to replace Sagna in the 65th minute. Barely 4 minutes after he came in Walcott pulled one back for Arsenal in the 69th minute through a pass from Bendtner. Thereafter Arsenal whose ball possession had improved slightly to 40% began to regain more confidence. They continued to play with determination and in the 84th Cecs Fabregas was fowled by Puyol in the penalty box leading to his being red-carded by the centre referee. The resultant penalty was neatly converted by Cecs Fabregas for Arsenal’s equalizing goal.
Yellow cards were awarded to some players from both sides, notably Emmanuel Eboue, Cecs Fabregas, Abou Diaby, and Puyol received a red card which makes him ineligible for the return leg match in Spain. Fabregas had also limped off the pitch casting doubts on his ability to play their next match.
Barcelona got 2 vital away goals and Arsenal was lucky enough not to have conceded defeat at home. Arsene Wenger was visibly happy at the sound of the final whistle signaling the end of the pulsating encounter. His lads did not loose the match after all. They still have hope in the second leg match which comes up in a forth night. the next encounter promises to be much more explosive.