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 Emirates Cup: Arsenal 1 - 0 Real Madrid

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KomentarNaslov komentara: Emirates Cup: Arsenal 1 - 0 Real Madrid   Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:18 am

Emirates Cup
Emirates Stadium
Sunday, August 03, 2008, 4.15pm

Arsenal: Adebayor 49

Arsenal salvaged their pride but not their crown as Emirates Cup holders with a 1-0 win over Real Madrid on Sunday.

Having lost to Juventus on Saturday, Arsčne Wenger’s side went into the final game of the tournament needing an unlikely 4-0 victory to overtake leaders Hamburg in the group table.

That was never really on this afternoon, the great Real Madrid are rarely beaten by that many in any form of football. But the Arsenal manager will take great comfort from his side’s performance in this highly entertaining encounter.

The only goal came early in the second half when Michel Salgado felled Robin van Persie in the area and Emmanuel Adebayor stroked home the penalty. However, the scoreline was not a true reflection of Arsenal’s display this afternoon.

Theo Walcott, Denilson and Adebayor all had great chances to score and Real, though highly competitive, spent most of the afternoon on the back-foot.

For the second day running, more than 60,000 fans enjoyed two high-quality, star-studded games. It was good football, good preparation and good fun.

The Emirates Cup is now THE pre-season tournament in Europe.

As promised, Wenger fielded his senior players this afternoon. Only Denilson and Philippe Senderos retained their starting places from Saturday’s defeat against Juventus. If that side had been pretty ‘Carling Cup’ then this was very much Champions League.

Real had many of their big names starting — Raul, Robinho, Guti, Gabriel Heinze and ex-Arsenal midfielder Julio Baptista all graced the Emirates. The likes of Arjen Robben, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Sergio Ramos and Wesley Sneijder were on the bench.

Hamburg’s 3-0 victory in the earlier game had left Arsenal needing a big win if they were to retain their home trophy. Real Madrid needed a straightforward success or a high-scoring draw to win the tournament themselves.

Despite being the rank outsiders of the trio, Arsenal started with real purpose. After Robinho had dragged a shot wide, a sweeping Arsenal move ended with Walcott forcing a sprawling save from Jerzy Dudek. Shortly afterwards Abou Diaby thumped in a probing drive.

Arsenal were vibrant. On the quarter-hour, Samir Nasri, in his first home start, showed excellent pace to outstrip Salgado but his cross was wayward.

In the 23rd minute Walcott, Adebayor and Nasri combined crisply to set up a drive for Denilson on the edge of the area. The Brazilian’s shot was low and powerful — but blocked.

Almost all of the offensive intent was coming from Arsenal. Just past the half-hour they created their clearest chance when Nasri set Van Persie clear on the left and his cross found the head of the leaping Adebayor. The Togolese striker tried to plant the ball back towards the near post. However his radar was way off on this occasion.

A few seconds later, centre back Javier Garcia strode up from defence to crack a rasping effort inches over Almunia’s bar and the keeper then had to smother an inquisitive cross from Selgado.

But, as half time approached, Arsenal found their rhythm once more. Denilson’s bobbling shot was turned behind Dudek. Adebayor capitalised on confusion at the corner and his header forced the Polish keeper to acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.

It was not all Arsenal though. Four minutes from the break, Raul darted clear with only Almunia to beat. The keeper stood his ground and the Spaniard stumbled over as he went past.

On first sight it looked like a penalty but replays confirmed referee Mark Clattenburg was right to keep his pointing hand behind his back.

Wenger resisted the urge to make changes at the break but Real coach Bernd Schuster brought on three including Robben and Van Nistelrooy.

However it was another Dutchman, Van Persie, who was heavily involved in the opening stages of the second half. He fired wide in the first few seconds and, three minutes in, was clattered in the area by Salgado. Adebayor executed the penalty with precision.

Denilson tried a long-range effort shortly afterwards but Dudek saved comfortably. Van Persie and Walcott both had a glimmer of a chance in the minutes that followed as Arsenal tried to get the goals they needed, however Real slammed their defensive door shut almost immediately.

Midway through the half Van Nistelrooy’s close-range effort was blocked by Gael Clichy.

However seconds later, Adebayor weaved through four Real defenders before trickling his shot inches wide of the far post. A superb effort.

The game was building up to a fine finish. Almunia punched clear from Van Nistelrooy and with 10 minutes left substitute Jack Wilshere skipped past Javier Garcia before sending in a raking. Unfortunately, Nicklas Bendtner could not convert.

Arsenal had won the game but not the tournament.

Manuel Almunia
Philippe Senderos
Gael Clichy
William Gallas
Johan Djourou 89
Bacary Sagna
Samir NasriJack
Wilshere 75
Abou Diaby
Aaron Ramsey 75
Theo Walcott
Emmanuel Eboue 66
Robin Van Persie
Carlos Vela 66
Emmanuel Adebayor
Nicklas Bendtner 75

Subs not used
Justin Hoyte
Gavin Hoyte
Henri Lansbury
Mark Randall
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