Arsenal's title hopes crushed late on

Arsenal miss the opportunity to close in on Manchester Utd after a dramatic finish to their game with Liverpool.

    Dirk Kuyt's very late equaliser leaves Arsenal fans stunned during a dramatic climax at the Emirates [GALLO/GETTY]

    Arsenal’s title challenge lost momentum after Liverpool equalised in the 12th minute of injury time at The Emirates on Sunday in the English Premier League.

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger watched his team take the lead in the 98th minute from a Robin Van Persie penalty only for Liverpool to equalise a few minutes later with a penalty of their own.  

    The result means Arsenal are now six points behind league leaders Manchester United with only six games remaining.

    Wenger was left seething about the penalty decision.

    "I feel hard done by at the end because time was over. Extra time should have been eight minutes."

    Despite periods of dominance, Arsenal were unable to open up a Liverpool defence hit by injuries to Fabio Aurelio and Carragher.

    Theo Walcott hit a drive at visiting goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Laurent Koscielny headed against the bar early on, but that was largely all Arsenal created until Van Persie drew saves from Reina in the last six minutes of
    normal time with a header and a close-range shot.

    The ultimate penalty

    The game reached its dramatic conclusion when Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Jay Spearing brought down Cesc Fabregas. Robin Van Persie tucked the ball neatly away in the corner in what appeared to be the defining moment of the game.

    English Results

    Saturday April 16

     B'ham 2-0 Sunderland
     Blackpool 1-3 Wigan
     Everton 2-0 Blackburn
     West Brom 1-3 Chelsea
     West Ham 1-2 Aston Villa

    Sunday April 17

     Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
     Bolton 0-5 Stoke

    However, just a few minutes later Liverpool were handed a late penalty of their own after the reckless Emmanuel Eboue fell on Lucas Leiva in the area.

    Dirk Kuyt converted to leave Arsenal's chances of catching Manchester United looking decidedly slim.

    Reds boss Kenny Dalglish was delighted by his team’s determination.

    "You can maybe play better but you won't find a more committed team than the one out there today."

    Arsenal still have an outside chance of winning the title for the first time since 2004, but they are more likely to endure a sixth straight season without a trophy.

    Stoke blow opposition apart

    In the FA Cup semifinal at London’s Wembley Stadium, Stoke City demolished Bolton Wanderers 5-0 to set up a Cup final clash against Manchester City, the first Cup final appearance in the team’s 148-year history.

    Goals from Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth and Kenwyne Jones after 30 minutes gave Stoke an unassailable lead, before a second-half brace from Jon Walters put the result beyond doubt.

    Stoke will meet City in the final on May 14 after they beat rivals Manchester United 1-0 on Saturday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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