Date:Wednesday December 21 2005
Arsenal narrowly avoided going 5 games without a win this evening as Doncaster Rovers pushed them all the way.
Arsene's team, mostly made up of reserves, fringe players and youth tried their best to emulate the big boys by player as badly as they possibly could.
Michael McIndoe put Doncaster one up inside 3 minutes after a throw-in was poorly defended, his shot hitting the inside of the post and in. Stunned!!!!!
Arsenal tried to fight back, with Hleb doing a lot of running of the play, making some decent runs but his final pass often letting him down.
Hleb then created a fine chance for youngster, Arturo Lupoli, to tap in, only for him to fluff the simplest of goals.
Doncaster and Arsenal traded blows for a while, with a few fine chances, but both teams held out and Rovers took their lead into the break.
It took till the 63 minute for Arsenal to level the scores, Quincy Awusu Abeyie making room for a shot from the edge of the box. His shot seemed to be heading wide before it struck the legs of Thorton leaving the keeper wrong footed.
Arsenal had the better of the second half, but Donny almost stole it in normal time.
Into the first period of extra time, McIndoe broke free down the left handside of the Arsenal penalty box and drilled the ball across the six yard box. The ball was met by Phillepe Senderos, but unconvincingly so, the ball getting trapped under his boot. As the big centre half composed himself the ball was nicked from the end of his foot for Green to score what looked like the winner.
With fulltime looming, an interchange of passes in the middle meant Eboue tore away down the right, he kept a cool head to whip the ball across to find an out of position Gilberto had sprinted 40 yards to sweep the ball home.
Heartbreak for Rovers, they had worked so hard and were so close to completing the impossible.
The penalty shootout saw Neil Roberts strike the post and Almunia make saves from Heffernan and Green to see Doncaster out of the competition, with only Hleb missing for the Gunners.
Arsenal did not deserve to go through and having drawn Wigan in the semi finals, will have to pick up their performances should they wish to proceed.
Semi Final Draw:
Wigan v Arsenal
Blackburn v Man Utd
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Date:Wednesday December 21 2005
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