HomeSportSoccerArsenal denied FA victory

Arsenal denied FA victory


LONDON – Danny Graham poached an 87th-minute equaliser to earn Swansea City a 2-2 draw at home to Arsenal in an FA Cup third-round tie that finished with a rapid exchange of goals at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Report by Supersport

Arsenal had fought back from behind to lead through a quick-fire pair of goals from Lukas Podolski and Kieran Gibbs in the last 10 minutes, only for Graham to pounce at the death to take a gripping tie to a replay.

Swansea had led through a 58th-minute effort by Michu, scorer of both goals in a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium in December, but Swansea appeared to be heading out until Graham found the roof of the net with three minutes to play.

Michu began on the bench for Swansea, perhaps with an eye on Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea, while Arsenal made three changes and deployed Olivier Giroud as a lone striker.

Arsenal threatened through Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla, but it was Swansea who created the clearest openings in the first half.

Graham extended Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with a crisp strike in the 13th minute, while former Arsenal trainee Kyle Bartley rattled the crossbar with a header nine minutes before halftime.

Giroud tested Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm twice early in the second period, before Michu rose from the dug-out to tip the tie in the hosts’ favour.

The Spaniard had only been on the pitch for a minute and 13 seconds when he collected Nathan Dyer’s knock-down, lobbed the ball over Per Mertesacker, and then beat Szczesny to claim his 15th goal of the campaign.

Podolski swivelled on a loose ball to level in the 81st minute and Gibbs then slammed in a sumptuous volley from Giroud’s chipped pass to put Arsenal ahead two minutes later, but Graham had the final say.

One of the most evocative ties of the third round was to take place later yesterday, Liverpool bidding to avoid an upset at fifth-tier Mansfield Town.

Newcastle United were cast onto the FA Cup scrapheap by second-tier Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, while Manchester United needed an injury-time Robin van Persie equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw at West Ham United.

FA Cup fourth round draw
Reading v Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town v Leicester, QPR or West Brom v Sheffield Wednesday or MK Dons, Bolton or Sunderland v Cheltenham or Everton, Brighton & Hove Albion v Swansea City or Arsenal, Crystal Palace or Stoke City v Manchester City, West Ham United or Manchester United v Fulham or Blackpool, Southend United or Brentford v Chelsea, Hull City or Leyton Orient v Barnsley, Middlesbrough v Aldershot Town, Millwall v Aston Villa, Leeds United or Birmingham City v Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City v Luton Town, Oldham Athletic v Mansfield Town or Liverpool, Macclesfield Town v Wigan Athletic or Bournemouth, Derby County v Blackburn Rovers.

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