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Wednesday, 19 April 2006

3028: European Cup Semi-Final - Arse


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by : Antony Melvin

Villarreal bossed possession in a match that they never really looked like winning. Riquelme was not his normal authoritative self – but nevertheless Villarreal restricted Arsenal sufficiently to set up an intriguing second leg.

Overall Toure’s conversion of one of the few real chances in the match was a realistic reflection of a game that left the tie nicely balanced at 1-0 to Arsenal.

Barbosa 7/10

Decent evening for the stand-in ‘keeper. Little to do, but he blocked a couple of efforts and could not be faulted on the goal itself.

Javi Venta 7/10

The Villarreal defence played well – and Javi Venta epitomised their work ethic.

Quique Alvarez 7/10

May not have been a first choice, but his heading was accurate and his defending unfussy.

Arzo 7/10

Almost amusingly named, Arzo was calm enough to bring the ball out of defence and link with the midfield.

Arruabarrena 6/10

Spent much of the second half complaining about perceived injustices. Nice scrabble score.

Senna 7/10

Another picture perfect passer who kept things simple without being dazzling – would easily slot into Arsenal’s midfield.

Tacchinardi 6/10

Picked up a booking that precludes him from the second leg – consistent, but hardly a world beater these days.

Sorin 6/10

Largely anonymous and replaced by Josico after 72 minutes.

Riquelme 6/10

Well marshalled by Gilberto, Riquelme picked up a booking complaining in vain over the vexed penalty decision. Not the influence he sometimes is.

Jose Mari 6/10

His only contribution of note was his screaming collapse under pressure from Gilberto on the edge of the box. He may have deserved a penalty but the theatrics probably cost him that. Replaced by Franco after 55 minutes.

Forlan 5/10

Reminded everyone how hard he works, but on a night when Villarreal needed a flash of genius Forlan offered hard work. Replaced on 90 minutes by Calleja. Antony Melvin 19 April 2006

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