UEFA Champions League

Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk score comeback victories in Champions League



Almost a year after Lionel Messi's four goals sent Arsenal packing from the UEFA Champions League, the Gunners got a little bit of revenge.

Late goals from Robin Van Persie and Andrei Arshavin canceled out David Villa's first-half strike and give Arsenal a 2-1 advantage over Barcelona when the teams meet again at the Camp Nou next month for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Both teams had chances early on with Van Persie forcing a fine save from Victor Valdes in the sixth minute while Messi's chip bounced inches wide just seven minutes later. Barcelona broke through the aggressive Arsenal defense when Villa beat an offside trap and slid a shot under Wojciech Szczesny in the 26th minute.

Barcelona should have doubled its lead just before halftime but Messi's rebound was ruled offsides and the first half ended 1-0.

Van Persie, after missing several quality chances earlier on, equalized in the 78th minute when he took advantage of Valdes being out of position to rifle home a shot from a tight angle. Five minutes later, Cesc Fabregas released Samir Nasri down the right flank and the Frenchman found a streaking Arshavin, who made no mistake with a curling shot from 18 yards out.

Arsenal has the lead after the first leg, but Barcelona has a crucial away goal when the teams meet again on March 8.

Here are highlights from the match:


AS Roma suffered a 3-2 defeat to visiting Shakhtar Donetsk as Serie A teams continue to struggle in the Champions League's Round of 16.

Roma took an early advantage just before the half-hour mark courtesy of a Simone Perrotta headed goal, and the Italians looked to be cruising. The lead was short lived, though, as Jadson equalized for the Ukrainian side just a minute later. Shakhtar took advantage of the slumping Roma by opening up a two-goal lead before halftime with goals from Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano.

Jeremy Menez gave the Italian side some hope of salvaging the tie in the second half with a cracking goal. The loss extends Roma's winless streak to five games and the Italians will have to overcome the one-goal deficit and Shakhtar's three away goals in the return leg. Roma will also have to fight off the distractions of an impending club sale and an unhappy fan base that has turned up to training to protest the club's performances.

The two sides meet in Ukraine on March 8 for the second leg of their tie.

Here are highlights from the match:


What do you think of these results? Impressed by Arsenal's comeback? Do you see the Gunners going into Camp Nou and eliminating Barcelona? What do you think about Shakhtar Donetsk's performance?

Share your thoughts below.

  • ColoradoMC

    Great game between Arsenal and Barcelona! Wish they weren’t meeting this early in the knockout rounds.


  • mike m

    I think 1 away goal means little against the bigger teams. Shutting out a big team in a second leg of a CL game is probably not a great game plan.


  • Ben

    First, good grief is Messi amazing. What a pass. Second, I wish Arshavin actually took his conditioning seriously, because he is just about as good as anyone when he wants to be. Unfortunately, he cannot run more than 10 yards at a sprint and looks gassed after 20 minutes. He must drive Arsenal and Russian fans absolutely batty.


  • Matt

    the replay of the called off goal isnt included but he was NOT offsides, he was behind the ball when it is struck hence onsides, BS call


  • Neil B.

    sorry to burst your bubble, but watch the replay again.

    Messi is initially onside when he sets up Pedro. but after Szczęsny makes the save on his shot, the ball rebounds off Pedro. at that moment, Messi is in front of both of them and is very clearly offside.

    so, Messi is not eligible to touch the ball, which he then does – therefore, offsides.

    a fine call by the linesman, but for some reason people are still debating this even after clear TV replays.


  • montana matt

    And it’s Arsenal
    Arsenal FC
    We’re by far the greatest team the world’s ever seen!!

    Seriously though, what a performance from Wilshire, Koscielny, and Scezney. All three played like seasoned vets. Arsenal are going from strength to strength this season. The match at the Nou Camp will be intense.


  • KEvin_Amold

    That is an incredibly massive flag with a cannon on it.

    Also, I loved Arshavin’s celebration.


  • HoboMike

    Man, is the state of Italian soccer hard up! I’m talking about actual Italians playing soccer.

    Not much good has happened since Milan won the CL in 2007. Inter won the CL last year with exactly 0 Italians in their starting lineup (even though I know this is usually Inter’s M.O.). Italy had one of the two worst performances of the 2008 EURO Championships and the 2010 World Cup. In this year’s CL, Milan loses at home to Tottenham, then Roma at home to Shaktar (who is underrated, but still – it’s Milan at home in the CL). A Uruguyan leads Serie A in scoring (an Italian has lead the league every year for the past 6, excluding Ibrahimovic 2 years ago).

    Personally, I love it.


  • JayMah

    Hehehe, wasn’t it Barca 2 – 2 Arsenal after the first leg last year before they went back to Camp Nou for the 2nd leg…I wonder how the Gunners feels about that?


  • Eurosnob

    Don’t feel depressed about Roma’s home loss to Shakhtar, Shakhtar finished first in their CL group ahead of Arsenal. Yes, Shakhtar is a bit rusty since their league season has not started, but they have very good players. And while Roma’s chances to advance took a big hit yesterday, they still have to play a return leg.


  • mike m

    Great not having Sol Cambell in the back line. Should be a much better game. This team is a 100% different team than last year. Only returning starters are the outside backs, Nasri and Song. Maybe Walcott not sure.


  • KEvin_Amold

    Hehehe, yes it was 2-2. The return leg saw Arsenal playing Denilson, Rosicky, Bendtner, Diaby, and Sylvestre, and not play Fabregas, van persie, arshavin, or Song I believe. Having everyone fit helps.

    Of course Barca were without Puyol and Pique, but don’t ruin my thunder.


  • GBH

    sorry to burst your bubbles. messi and pedro are both in front of the arsenal defender when the rebound happens hence no offside, since it’s not a forward pass.


  • Justin

    Merits aside (that link pauses at the wrong time and the angle is not straight on), that is one of the funniest write-ups of a game I have ever seen.


  • Justin

    This explanation defies logic. Pedro plays the ball forward (pass or no pass), and whether or not there are two defenders (including the goalkeeper) behind the ball is irrelevant, other than making that part of the decision easy for the ref. The only question is whether Messi was behind the ball at the moment it was last played by Pedro.


  • aristophanes

    true, but I think you’d have to say it was Wilshere and, incredibly, Koscielny that cranked the gears last night. and RVP, who’s just dominant right now.


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