Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona
Van Persie 78 Villa 26
Two late goals in the space of five minutes gave Arsenal a memorable victory over Catalan giants Barcelona in a sumptuous Champions League second round first-leg.
Barcelona led by David Villa’s 26th-minute strike going into the closing stages and looked likely winners.
But Arsenal created chances throughout the evening and the strikes by Robin Van Persie and substitute Andrei Arshavin won the match.
Van Persie drove a good sixth-minute chance at Barca keeper Victor Valdes from a tight angle while Lionel Messi chipped inches wide on 13 minutes.
Thirteen minutes later, Villa put Barca ahead, drilling a low shot between Arsenal keeper Wojiech Szczesny’s legs from Messi’s pinpoint pass.
Messi netted himself on 38 minutes only to be flagged offside and was narrowly wide with a 67th-minute effort.
By then, however, Arsenal were gaining the initiative, with Van Persie having forced another save from Valdes in the 65th-minute.
Thirteen minutes later, he finally beat the Barca custodian with a fierce left-foot drive which beat Valdes at his near post.
And five minutes later, Arshavin’s exquisite curling right-foot finish from Samir Nasri’s pass rounded off the move of a terrific match to set up an intriguing second leg in three weeks.
Tags: Arsenal, Barcelona, Champions League, David Villa, Robin Van Persie, Andrei Arshavin, Lionel Messi, Samir Nasri