(GSM) – Cesc Fabregas’ late penalty earned Arsenal a dramatic 2-2 against 10-man Barcelona on Wednesay in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie.
The first half was dreadful for Arsenal as both William Gallas and Andrei Arshavin were forced off injured, but Barça’s many attempts on goal were thwarted by the defense and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, including from Lionel Messi’s free kick late in the half.
Parity lasted less than 30 seconds in the second half, however, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired the visitors in front with a deft chip of Almunia.
The Swede doubled the advantage just short of the hour mark, taking a pass from Xavi before slamming home.
But Arsenal were far from done as substitute Theo Walcott pulled a goal back just three minutes after coming on, taking a neat pass from Nicklas Bendtner before slotting home.
Then, the tie turned on its head with six minutes to go when Carles Puyol’s professional foul on Fabregas earned the Gunners a penalty.
The Spaniard stepped up and hit his spot kick right back up the middle, beating Víctor Valdés to keep the tie very much in doubt.