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martedì 30 settembre 2008


from Eurosport.com

Arsenal survived a couple of early scares at home to Porto in Champions League Group G to run out comfortable 4-0 winners.

Robin Van Persie scored the first from close range following a good move down the right and Emmanuel Adebayor added a second before half-time with a header from a corner.

Van Persie finished a third immediately after the restart and Adebayor made it four from the penalty spot when substitute Nicklas Bendtner was fouled in the box.

It could have been very different as the 2004 European champions missed a glorious chance on 13 minutes.

Porto cleared an Arsenal corner and Raul Meireles combined with Lisandro Lopez to send Tomas Costa galloping down the right. His cross was between Manuel Almunia in the Arsenal goal and the retreating defence, where Cristian Rodriguez dived to head downwards.

The ball flew up off the ground and bounced off the crossbar, giving Arsenal a nightmarish remainder of their home Premier league loss to Hull at the weekend.

The Gunners had enjoyed space on the right and gone close themselves but were again undone on 26 minutes, Lisandro poking towards goal following an excellent header down from Rolando. The ball beat Spaniard Almunia, but France left-back Gael Clichy was on the line to block.

Five minutes later the supporters were relieved to see Arsenal take the lead. Fabregas slid in Adebayor down the right side of the box - where Theo Walcott was repeatedly causing mayhem - and the big striker pulled back to the arriving Van Persie, who got in front of the defender to finish at the near post.

Porto, despite their chances, had not looked likely to create much and the game was more or less put beyond them when Adebayor rose to nod down a Van Persie corner. The ball looped back up and over the despairing defenders on the line to double the lead five minutes before the break.

Arsenal were elegant in the second half after receiving a further boost in its earliest moments. Shocking defending by Porto, and Bruno Alves in particular, allowed Walcott to pass inside and Netherlands man Van Persie scored his second inside the far post.

They were his first European goals in a year and he was denied the chance of a hat-trick when Bendtner replaced him on 65 minutes, with Samir Nasri also making way for Emmanuel Eboue.

Cesc Fabregas had been at the heart of Arsenal's best work, pulling the strings in midfield, but it was Walcott who grabbed the eye in front of watching England manager Fabio Capello.

The hat-trick hero from Croatia could not apply the finishing touch to any of his speedy forages behind Porto's defence however and caused the Italian boss to chuckle when on 53 minutes he missed from inside the six-yard box with the goal gaping.

It was far from the only chance of its ilk as Arsenal attacked the flanks with gusto; Walcott's evening though was ended prematurely when Arsene Wenger - smiling on the touchline again after the 'physically sickening' loss to Hull - replaced him with Carlos Vela.

The Gunners' enthusiasm was rewarded in the moments before that change when Freddy Guarin clattered unceremoniously into Dane Bendtner and Adebayor sent Helton the wrong way from the spot.

Vela, who bagged a hat-trick against Sheffield United in the League Cup a week before, dazzled with a pair of runs into the box but there were no more goals for a rampant Arsenal side.

Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira will think back to those early misses and wonder what might have been as Wenger delights in the ability of his young charges to bounce back from crushing defeat.

It was Arsenal's first win in this season's competition after they drew their opening match against Dynamo Kiev, while Porto tasted defeat for the first time following their opening win over Fenerbahce.

Fenerbahce 0-0 Dynamo Kiev

Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kiev shared a lacklustre goalless draw in Istanbul.

Fener playmaker Alex worked to create chances up front with Daniel Guiza but the home side gave the ball away easily and Dynamo comfortably absorbed the pressure.

The result piled fresh pressure on Fenerbahce's Spanish coach Luis Aragones. Last season's Champions League quarter-finalists are 10th in the domestic league.

Fenerbahce, losers at Porto in their opening match, burst into life after half-time when Alex fired a shot just wide from the edge of the box in the 48th minute.

A minute later Dynamo keeper Stanislav Bogush saved efforts from Guiza and former Newcastle man Emre, who worked hard in midfield for the home side.

Fenerbahce pressed hard for a goal in the final stages. Selcuk Sahin fired straight at the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area and Kazim Kazim shot wide with a long-range effort.

But the Ukrainian side, who drew with Arsenal in their opening match, held firm in defence.

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