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Late Reds push sinks Gunners
Liverpool's European campaign continues after a dramatic victory at Anfield.
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2008 22:05 GMT

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard converts
a controversial penalty [AFP]
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored a late penalty and Ryan Babel added an injury-time goal to send Liverpool into the Uefa Champions League semifinals with a 4-2 win over Arsenal.

The five-time champions beat the Gunners 5-3 on aggregate.

A minute after Emmanuel Adebayor had given Arsenal an 84th-minute equaliser, enough to advance on away goals, Babel won a penalty and Gerrard converted from the spot.

Abou Diaby had given Arsenal the lead in the 13th minute, but Sami Hyypia equalised in the 30th and Fernando Torres put Liverpool ahead in the 69th by beating Kolo Toure and Philippe Senderos before swiveling to shoot past Manuel Almunia.

But with six minutes remaining, Theo Walcott raced from just outside his own area past four defenders and squared to Adebayor to slot home the equaliser.

Chelsea also advanced, beating Fenerbahce 2-0 and 3-2 on aggregate, and will face Liverpool in the semifinals later this month.

Liverpool is on course for a third final in four years. Both times it advanced, in 2005 and 2007, it beat Chelsea in the semifinals.

Bright start

Liverpool, which drew 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium in the first leg, came under pressure from the Gunners from the start.

After ransacking the defence with a confident passing move, Alexandre Hleb fed Diaby, who then beat Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina at the near post.

Emmanuel Eboue came close to doubling the advantage in the 17th, and Reina later punched away Adebayor's header.

In the 27th, Dirk Kuyt was frustrated to be denied a penalty when he thought Diaby had halted his advance on goal.

But the Gunners ebbed away after a high-tempo start and Gerrard forced Almunia to turn wide his in-swinging cross from the left flank.

Hyypia, only days after signing a contract extension, evaded Senderos in the 30th and rose to nod Gerrard's resulting corner into the top right of the net.

Gerrard unleashed a fierce effort from 30 metres (yards) which went over in the 36th, and Peter Crouch tested Almunia in the 46th.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger brought on striking duo Robin van Persie and Walcott in the 72nd, and that seemed to make an impact.

Adebayor ran onto Hleb's ball in the 74th, but turned it wide when one-on-one with Reina.

Despite the rift between Liverpool's Americans owners, the Hicks and Gillett families were reunited as George Gillett Jr. and his sons sat alongside Tom Hicks' son.

Hicks was in the United States watching the Texas Rangers play their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles, but watched the Liverpool match on TV.

Source:
Agencies
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