Wayne Rooney cleared fit for David Beckham’s long-awaited return to Old Trafford.
|Hat-trick hero Bendtner (left) celebrates Nasri’s stunning individual goal [GALLO/GETTY]|
Arsenal blew away Porto’s advantage from the first leg of their European Champions League last-16 tie, putting five unanswered goals past the Portuguese team to go through with a 6-2 aggregate score.
Nicklas Bendtner scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 thrashing, the Dane bagging two first-half goals and an injury-time penalty to humiliate the 2004 European champions.
Porto were chasing the game at 2-0 on Tuesday before Samir Nasri slotted home after a cavalier run at a massed defence after the break, before Emmanuel Eboue killed off all hopes of a comeback just over a minute later.
Dane Bendtner’s first hat-trick capped the display when Eboue was brought down in the box just before the final whistle.
Bayern Munich went through to the quarter-finals despite losing in Florence, the away goals in their 3-2 defeat enough to beat Fiorentina after the Germans won the first leg 2-1.
Dutchman Arjen Robben found the net from 25-metres out with a crackerjack of a shot in the 65th minute to make the aggregate score 4-4 after coming back from 2-0 down in Tuesday’s match.
|Results & fixtures|
Tuesday March 9
Arsenal 5-0 Porto (6-2)
Aggregate scores in brackets
Fiorentina’s Juan Manuel Vargas took advantage of a Hans-Joerg Butt fumble for the opener in the 28th minute and Stevan Jovetic made it 2-0 for the hosts in the 54th before the home crowd went on an emotional rollercoaster ride ending in disappointment.
Mark van Bommel levelled the tie in the 60th before Jovetic bagged his second, only for Robben to decide the tie with his splendid strike just 72 second later.
At the Emirates Stadium, Porto’s hopes of defending their 2-1 lead from the first leg and improving their dismal record in London vanished within 25 minutes as Denmark striker Bendtner struck twice to reward Arsenal’s furious start.
On 63 minutes Nasri ambled towards the box from the touchline, ghosting past initial challenges before giving three defenders twisted blood and scoring low into the far corner.
Substitute Eboue slotted the fourth after a superb run by Andrei Arshavin, who had set up Bendtner’s second with another jinking run.
“It’s never perfect but it was a very strong performance,” Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports.
“After the score of Nasri the 3-0 made a big difference. It was individual brilliance but it was a very solid team performance. We were very serious.”
He said he was pleased to see Bendtner on the scoresheet after the striker had missed a hatful of chances against Burnley on Saturday.
“It shows how quickly football changes, but I hope it doesn’t make him too confident,” he said.
“He played well on Saturday and I hope it gives him the desire to work harder.”