Advantage Arsenal, Shakhtar in Champions League

Written by: Pti
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Paris, Feb 17 (AFP) Arsenal came from behind to edgeBarcelona 2-1 in a thrilling Champions League last 16 firstleg match, while Shakhtar Donetsk stunned Roma with a 3-2victory in Rome.

Arsenal, bidding to avenge their 6-3 aggregate loss toBarca in last season''s quarter-finals, fell behind to a DavidVilla goal mid-way through the first half at the Emiratesyesterday.

They appeared destined for defeat until Robin van Persiedrew them level in the 78th minute and five minutes latersubstitute Andrey Arshavin rolled in the winner to put them inthe driving seat ahead of the March 8 return leg.

"It is one of the special nights," said Arsenal coachArsene Wenger.

"The game promised a lot and it didn''t disappoint.

"We will go to Camp Nou now and play our game againbecause we cannot go there and defend. We will go and give ourbest."

Wenger''s captain, Cesc Fabregas, warned that there wasstill work to do.

"They are the best side in football''s history in myopinion," said the one-time Barcelona trainee of his formerclub.

"That is one game and this is half-time. It is a nicevictory but that''s all. If we show it here and not at CampNou, it is nothing for us."

Arsenal were completely over-run in the first 20 minutesof last season''s quarter-final first leg, but they threatenedfirst this time around when van Persie''s half-volley was wellsaved by Victor Valdes.

The visitors quickly assumed the upper hand, though, andon 26 minutes Villa put them ahead.

Having spurned a fine opportunity moments earlier, LionelMessi reprieved himself with a neat through-ball for Villa,who raced through before posting the ball between the legs ofgoalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Messi had a close-range header ruled out for acontentious offside and Arsenal were perhaps fortunate toreach the half-time break only a goal behind. MORE (AFP) PM

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