Ceballos late hero­ics send Ar­se­nal into semi­fi­nals

After los­ing their first two matches fol­low­ing the restart, Ar­se­nal have now won 2 in a row

Arab News - - Sport News - AFP Sh­effield

Dani Ceballos fired Ar­se­nal into the FA Cup semi­fi­nals as the Spa­niard’s stop­page­time strike clinched a dra­matic 2-1 win at Sh­effield United on Sun­day.

Mikel Arteta’s side rode their luck after sur­viv­ing a sec­ond­half bar­rage from the Blades at Bra­mall Lane.

Ni­co­las Pepe put Ar­se­nal ahead with a first-half penalty after Chris Basham fouled Alexan­dre La­cazette.

David McGoldrick equal­ized with three min­utes left, but on-loan Real Madrid mid­fielder Ceballos set­tled a hard-fought quar­ter­fi­nal in the fi­nal mo­ments. Ar­se­nal join Manch­ester United in the last four, with Le­ices­ter fac­ing Chelsea and New­cas­tle host­ing Manch­ester City in Sun­day’s other quar­ter­fi­nals. Arteta was Ar­se­nal’s cap­tain when they won the FA Cup fi­nal against Hull in 2014.

And the Gun­ners boss re­mains on course to get his hands on the sil­ver­ware again as Ar­se­nal look to win the com­pe­ti­tion for a record-ex­tend­ing 14th time.

“This is a dif­fi­cult place to get a win. We are back at Wem­b­ley. I am re­ally happy with the at­ti­tude and per­for­mance of the play­ers,” Arteta said.

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity to try and win a ti­tle and play in Europe.”

After los­ing their first two matches fol­low­ing the restart, Ar­se­nal, who beat Southamp­ton in the Premier League in mid­week, have now won two in a row.

Com­plain­ing about Ar­se­nal’s hec­tic sched­ule, Arteta added: We have played four away games since the restart. Thank you to the Premier League for our cal­en­dar play­ing ev­ery three days. But we go again on Wed­nes­day.”

The Blades have gone win­less in their four matches since the English sea­son restarted, ru­in­ing their hopes of a push to qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons League and end­ing their FA Cup cam­paign. Arteta made five changes, with Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang and Ed­die Nke­tiah among those left out.

There was no place for Mat­teo Guendouzi again after the Ar­se­nal mid­fielder’s role in the brawl against Brighton, while Me­sut Ozil was also ab­sent from the Gun­ners squad.

David Luiz was back in Ar­se­nal’s de­fence after serv­ing a sus­pen­sion for the red card he picked up dur­ing a dis­as­trous sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ance in the de­feat at Manch­ester City last week. It wasn’t long be­fore Ar­se­nal’s de­fen­sive frail­ties were on dis­play when John Lund­stram nod­ded home from Oli McBurnie’s header, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for off­side against the Blades mid­fielder.

De­spite their un­con­vinc­ing start, Ar­se­nal grabbed the lead in the 25th minute.

Basham’s chal­lenge on La­cazette looked in­nocu­ous, but he caught the Ar­se­nal striker just in­side the area and ref­eree Paul Tier­ney awarded a penalty.

Ivory Coast winger Pepe stepped up to beat Dean Hen­der­son from the spot for his eighth goal of the sea­son.

Ar­se­nal were click­ing at last and Kieran Tier­ney broke down the left, cross­ing for Pepe to shoot just wide. Luiz’s dif­fi­cult start to the re­sumed sea­son con­tin­ued when the Brazil­ian limped off in­jured after stum­bling while shep­herd­ing the ball out of play early in the sec­ond half. Hen­der­son al­most scored a re­mark­able goal from his own penalty area, the keeper’s wind-as­sisted kick bounc­ing past Gun­ners stop­per Emil­iano Martinez and nar­rowly over the bar.

United were de­nied by an­other VAR re­view when John Egan headed home after McGoldrick’s shot from an off­side po­si­tion was pushed out by Martinez.

FASTFACT

The Gun­ners boss re­mains on course to get his hands on the sil­ver­ware again as Ar­se­nal look to win the com­pe­ti­tion for a record-ex­tend­ing 14th time.

Reuters

Ar­se­nal’s Dani Ceballos after scor­ing their sec­ond goal against Sh­effield United on Sun­day in the FA Cup quar­ter­fi­nal match.

Kevin Har­vick after win­ning the Po­cono Or­gan­ics 325 at Po­cono Race­way on Satur­day.

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