Thursday, February 16, 2012

AC Milan dominates Arsenal

The most highly anticipated matchup of the Champions League's second round was hardly even a contest.
AC Milan outclassed Arsenal in a 4-0 victory in the first leg Wednesday night, getting two goals from Robinho as the seven-time winner moved toward its first quarterfinal appearance since 2007.
Kevin-Prince Boateng put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute with a volley that went in off the crossbar.
Robinho beat goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with a header off Zlatan Ibrahimovic's cross in the 38th, then made it 3-0 in the 49th with a shot inside the near post after Ibrahimovic laid the ball off for him. Ibrahimovic converted a penalty kick in the 79th after he was pulled down by Johan Djourou.
"We were never in the game," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "We were very poor offensively and defensively. It was shocking to see how we were beaten everywhere. It was our worst performance in Europe by far. Not once in the 90 minutes were we in the game. It's difficult to analyze, and it's better not to talk too much, analyze it with a cooler head and to regroup for the next game."
In the final match of his two-month loan before returning to the New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry entered for the Gunners at the start of the second half. It was another letdown in a season that has already seen Arsenal fall out of the Premier League title race and struggling to secure a spot in next season's Champions League.
"The result is a disaster but the season is not finished," Wenger said. "Let's be realistic, we don't play in a dream world. There may be a 2 percent or 5 percent chance, you never know. But realistically we are out of this competition."
Milan has been eliminated by English clubs in the second round in three of the past four seasons, with Arsenal winning 2-0 at San Siro in 2008.
"We played a perfect match, especially in defense," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We played very well as a team. We didn't give them any goalscoring chances. We deserved this night, this win. It's the best game we've played this year."
In the night's other game, host Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Benfica 3-2 as Roman Shirokov scored twice.
Maxi Pereira put Benfica ahead in the 20th, tapping the ball in after backup goalkeeper Yuri Zhevnov spilled Oscar Cardozo's free kick, but Shirokov tied it seven minutes later.
Substitute Sergei Semak made it 2-1 with a backheel in the 71st. Cardozo retied it in the 87th after Zhevnov again failed to hold a shot.


Juventus missed a chance to retake the Serie A lead when it was held to a 0-0 tie at Parma.
In a makeup of a match postponed by snow on Jan. 31, Juventus nearly took the lead in the fourth minute, but Giorgio Chiellini's header deflected off defender Alessandro Lucarelli, went off a post and out for a corner kick.
Juventus (12-0-10) closed within one point of league-leading AC Milan (14-4-5).
Atalanta beat Genoa 1-0 on Guido Marilungo's 80th-minute goal.


Marseille reached the French Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over amateur team Bourg-Peronnas.
Brandao scored in the 28th and 45th minutes, giving him five goals in six games since returning from a loan to Brazil's Gremio. Jordan Ayew made it 3-0 in the 54th, and Ousmane Diaby scored for Bourg-Peronnas in the 78th.
Nene's 15th-minute goal from a tight angle gave Paris Saint-Germain a 1-0 win over Dijon.

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