Saturday, March 31, 2012

31 March 2010 - He May Have Barcelona DNA, But His Heart Was All Arsenal

On 31 March 2010, Arsenal captain Cesc Fàbregas scored the equalizing goal against Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinal. And he did it with a broken leg.

Fàbregas, who joined Arsenal in 2003 after five years at Barcelona's youth academy, had been the subject of longstanding transfer rumors linking him with a return to his former club, adding a lot of spice to the match-up.

Barcelona, as the reigning champions, were heavy favorites, but the Gunners managed to hold them to a scoreless draw until the break. Less than one minute after the restart, however, a long pass went over the Arsenal backline to a racing Zlatan Ibrahimović, who beat keeper Manuel Almunia with a lobbed ball to the far post. He then doubled the lead in the 59th minute, after another overhead ball left him one-on-one with Almunia. But Arsenal midfielder Theo Walcott narrowed the gap ten minutes later with a precise finish.

As Arsenal pushed forward for an equalizer, Barça's Carles Puyol fouled Fàbregas in the box in the 85th minute. Fàbregas stepped up to the spot and converted the ensuing penalty, then immediately afterward started limping. It appeared that he pulled a muscle, but scans later revealed that Puyol's foul had resulted in a small fracture in his right fibula.

The injury forced Fàbregas to miss the return leg, which Barcelona won 4-1. He remained with Arsenal for one more season, then transferred to Barça in August 2011 for £29 million.


Arsenal vs Barcelona 2-2 31/03/2010 Highlights by

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