Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk score comeback victories in Champions League

Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk score comeback victories in Champions League

UEFA Champions League

Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk score comeback victories in Champions League

Arsenal

By JOHN BOSCHINI

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:

SHAKHTAR DONETSK 3, AS ROMA 2

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:

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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.

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