Controversial goal sinks Gunners

Goalkeeping blunders hand Porto advantage as Bayern clinch last-minute winner.

    It wasn't the best night for Arsenal's goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski who cost his team with two goalkeeping mistakes [AFP]

    It was a night of controversy in European football as several dubious refereeing decisions dominated both Champions League matches.

    A controversial Radamel Falcao goal gave Porto a 2-1 win over Arsenal in the last-16 first leg, and Bayern Munich made it 13 victories in a row in all competitions by beating Fiorentina 2-1 in Munich.

    Two errors from Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski allowed Porto to establish a 2-1 lead.

    The 24-year-old Pole started in place of the injured Manuel Almunia but gifted the hosts an early lead with a soft own goal and allowed them the opportunity to score their second five minutes into the second half by inexplicably picking up a back-pass.


    The industrious Falcao was the beneficiary on the latter occasion, rolling the ball past a stranded Fabianski after Ruben Micael took a quick free-kick to secure a slim advantage for his side prior to the second leg on March 9.

    "Schoolboy goals. What can you do? Nothing. After the second goal, we went down," said Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.

    "We are still a little bit soft in that aspect. When we concede a goal we are not strong enough to lift ourselves up. Until the second goal we were having a very good game."

    ECL results

    Tuesday February 16

     AC Milan 2-3 Man Utd
     Lyon 1-0 Real Madrid

    Wednesday February 17

     Bayern 2-1 Fiorentina Porto 2-1 Arsenal

    Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, who was without William Gallas, Alex Song, Andrey Arshavin, Eduardo and long-term absentee Robin van Persie due to injury, was left fuming at referee Martin Hansson for the 51st-minute goal, but his side were caught sleeping as Ruben Micael gave Falcao the easiest of tap ins.

    The Swedish referee, who was at the centre of the storm around Thierry Henry's handball in France's World Cup playoff against Ireland last year, penalised the Campbell back pass to his keeper and then allowed the free kick to be taken instantly.

    Wenger said he could not understand the manner in which Hansson had dealt with the back pass.

    "I believe it was an accidental back pass," said the Frenchman.

    "And then he (the referee) pushed the goalkeeper away and handed the ball to the Porto player.

    "He should have allowed us time to build a wall. It was a massive mistake by the referee and just before that he had turned down a definite penalty for us."

    Porto had gone ahead in the 11th minute when Fabianski bungled Silvestre Varela's cross into his own net.

    But Campbell, returning to the Champions League for the first time since the 2006 final, was left unmarked at a corner and headed in the equaliser seven minutes later.

    Fiorentina were unlucky with the last-minute decision to allow the Klose goal [AFP]
    Bayern win

    Substitute striker Miroslav Klose scored a contested goal in the 89th minute to give Bayern Munich a 2-1 win over 10-man Fiorentina.

    Klose appeared offside when he headed in the ball but Fiorentina protested in vain.

    Arjen Robben had earlier converted a penalty in the final seconds of first-half stoppage time, driving the ball low into the left corner while sending Fiorentina's goalkeeper Sebastien Frey the wrong way to give Bayern the lead after defender Per Kroldrup fouled Franck Ribery.

    Kroldrup made amends by scoring the equaliser five minutes into the second half. A corner by Marco Marchionni bounced off Stevan Jovetic's shin to Kroldrup, who knocked the ball in at the far post to give the Italian side what could be a crucial away goal.

    Fiorentina midfielder Massimo Gobbi was sent off in the 73rd minute by referee Tom Henning Ovebro of Norway for a bodycheck on Robben in what looked like a harsh decision.

    Klose's winner came after Frey had blocked a powerful shot by Robben from the edge of the penalty area. Ivica Olic, another substitute striker, lunged forward between two Fiorentina defenders to head over to the unmarked Klose, who stooped to head home.

    Fiorentina players argued in vain with the linesman and the referee for the goal to be ruled out.

    On Tuesday Manchester United came from behind to win 3-2 at AC Milan and Lyon beat nine-time European champions Real Madrid 1-0.

    The remaining four first-leg matches are next week - Olympiakos host Bordeaux and defending champions Barcelona go to Stuttgart. Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho faces Chelsea, the club he guided to two English Premier League titles in a row, and CSKA Moscow host Sevilla.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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