Date:Thursday March 9 2006
The Home Of Football
Wednesday 8th March
Attendance: Loads of crazy Gooners
Boarding a Highbury bound coach at lunch time yesterday, I had a sickly nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach, I wasn't at all confident.
The way our season has gone so far I was fearing the worst, nevertheless, I wasn't going to let my feeling spoil, what turned out to be, one of the greatest European nights Highbury has ever seen.
Upon arrival, we found our usual first port of call, The White House, closed for refurbishment, which meant due to the rain, a quick dash to the Bank of friendship. Even though it was still early, the crowd's were already arriving and the atmosphere tense, but buzzing.
After consuming a few pints of 'The Bank's' finest with one of the funniest blokes I have ever met, it was time for a quick burger and then on to 'The Home Of Football'.
The waiting was unbearable, but as the two armies entered the battle field, there was a real sense of anticipation around the place, could we really knock out nine time winners, Real Madrid???
Mad Jens had to make a smart stop within the first few minutes from a Ronaldo header, pushing it round the post for a corner, the Gunners retaliated with Jose Antonio Reyes firing just past the post shortly after.
It didn't take long for us all to realise that the referee had a tenner on Beckham to score the first goal from a freekick as he infuriated the Highbury faithful time after time with petty little things, and at one point during the game, booked Henry for no reason what-so-ever.
Reyes once again went close when Henry played in the lively little Spaniard whose left footer crashed against the bar.
The second half was just packed with nerve racking moments. Most of which I was far too 'tree trunk' to recollect :)
Henry went close with a couple of efforts, the first of which was saved by the excellent Real Madrid stopper. Raul struck a fierce shot from 20 yards that rattled the post and what was to follow was one of the most amazing saves you'll ever see.
Raul saw his thunder bolt shake the goal to it's foundations, but the ball came straight back to him, with Mad Jens in no mans land having attempted to save his initial effort, Raul had the goal at his mercy. He chipped the ball into an empty net. But wait. What's this?? The, what now surely is Germany's number one comes flying out of nowhere to contort his body and arms into some shape I have never seen before to somehow flick the ball round the post. It must go down as one of the best saves ever seen. EVER.
Arsenal were seriously under the kosh for the last ten, that saw the outstanding Lehmann save another last ditch effort, and with the clock on it's last legs, Cassilas came up for a Madrid corner, but got nothing on it. The ball fell to Arsenal substitue, Robert Pires. He took on one, then another, he rounded the keeper (70 yrads from goal) and hit a shot that casually strolled towards the gaping goal. With the entire North Bank trying to suck the ball in, only for them to see Roberto Carlos get back in time to stop the ball rolling over the line.
The last couple of minutes seemed to take an eternity, the whistles from the crowd blew louder and louder, and when the referee finally joined in............Mayhem.
What can only be described as a jostle to and all jostles ensued.
What a performace, and over the 2 legs, we were more than worth the money.
Best nil nil draw. EVER.
We march on as the only British club left in the competition as the European champs bowed out to Benfica, and the previous night Rangers were unlucky and Chelsea comically went out to Barca. Great week all round then eh?!?!
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Date:Thursday March 9 2006
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