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Wednesday 07 March 2012

Brave Arsenal exit UEFA Champions League

Gunners beat Milan but go out on aggregate, while Chelsea win in FA Cup

Robin van Persie's penalty gave Arsenal a 3-0 half-time lead against AC Milan

Champions League: Arsenal 3-0 AC Milan (aggregate 3-4)

Arsenal produced a truly magnificent performance against seven-time winners AC Milan at the Emirates only to bow out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage.

The Gunners lost the first leg 4-0 in Milan and needed a miracle to progress, but Laurent Koscielny gave them hope when he headed in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's early corner.

Tomas Rosicky doubled Arsenal's lead on the night when he slotted in after great work from Theo Walcott, and Robin van Persie struck from the penalty spot after Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled.

Arsenal suddenly only needed one goal to take it to extra-time and they went agonisingly close when Gervinho's shot was blocked by Christian Abbiati and Van Persie's effort from the rebound was also brilliantly saved.

But Arsene Wenger's side could not find a fourth goal and Milan held on nervously at the end to book their place in the last eight.

FA Cup: Birmingham 0-2 Chelsea

Chelsea began life after Andre Villas-Boas by booking their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup courtesy of a fifth round replay win at Birmingham.

Villas-Boas parted company with the Blues on Sunday as Roberto di Matteo took charge for the first time and Chelsea went in front in the second half when Juan Mata poked home inside the Birmingham box.

A superb goal doubled the lead as Raul Meireles rounded off an excellent move by hammering in from 25 yards, and though Mata had a penalty saved, Chelsea will now play Leicester in the last eight.

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Key Points

  • Arsenal - 4-0 down after first leg - race into 3-0 half-time lead against AC Milan
  • Gunners cannot score again and exit Champions League
  • Chelsea win 2-0 at Birmingham to book place in FA Cup quarter-finals