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Wenger praise for Arsenal's controlled victory

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TURIN, Italy, Apr 5 (Reuters) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised the way his team controlled their goalless Champions League quarter-final second-leg against Juventus today to book their first semi-final appearance.

''I felt that overall we controlled the game well and as long as Juventus didn't score the game was not on for us,'' said the Frenchman, whose team face Spain's Villarreal in the last four.

Arsenal's young defence produced a record eighth successive clean-sheet in the competition.

''I wanted us to come out at them but I think it was in our subconscious to protect our lead,'' added Wenger.

''There were turning points -- when they hadn't scored after 15 minutes and then after half an hour but the big turning point came when (Pavel) Nedved was sent off -- then the game was over.'' Nedved was dismissed in the 77th minute for a second yellow card leaving Juventus down to 10 men at a stage in the game when they might have raised a late rally.

Fabio Capello's Juve showed surprisingly little ambition or creativity going forward and Wenger said that his side's impressive attacking play in the first leg may have frightened the Italian champions.

''I think that was a hangover from the first game. They went for the long ball and we were quite comfortable with that and dealt with it well.

''We knew that on the second ball the penetration from Nedved could hurt us but we controlled that well,'' he said.

Wenger noted that Arsenal had finally broken through into the last four of Europe's elite club competition in a season when few had fancied their chances.

''I am very happy for the club, every year we were expected to do something in the Champions League and we weren't able to.

This year no-one expected it from us and we are there in the semi-final,'' he said, adding that the absence of real pressure from a title challenge in England may have helped.

Asked whether he thought that the victory of his team, which did not include a single English player in their starting line-up, could be considered a victory for English football, Wenger said: ''It is difficult to say it is a victory for English football. It is a victory for a team who like to play football.

I feel I represent English football.'' Reuters PG VP0400

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