Arsenal fight back to reach FA Cup semis


Williams Gallas (No.10) scores the winning goal as Arsenal sealed a semifinal showdown with Chelsea.
Two goals in the last 17 minutes saw Arsenal fight back from going a goal behind to beat Hull City 2-1 and secure a Wembley date with Chelsea in the semifinals of the FA Cup.

Despite being favorites to progress, in-form Arsenal had lost at home to Hull earlier in the season — and another surprise looked on the cards when the visitors took a 13th-minute lead. There appeared no danger when former England international Nick Barmby turned and shot for goal, but his well-timed strike took a deflection off Arsenal central defender Johan Djourou, causing the ball to loop over goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski. Arsenal appeared shell-shocked and Geovanni nearly added a second goal 10 minutes late with a free-kick, but Fabianski produced a flying save. Then, from the resulting corner, Barmby had the ball in the Gunners net again but he was clearly in an offside position. The best chance for the home side before the break fell to Andrey Arshavin, but the Russian’s volley flashed just wide. Arsenal looked a different side after the break. Abou Diaby headed wide from a corner and Alex Song fired past the post from close-range after Robin Van Persie’s header had been blocked on the line.

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When Dutch striker Van Persie’s header, from Samir Nasri’s corner, hit the crossbar in the 71st minute, it appeared as if Hull would hold on for a famous win. But, just two minutes later, Van Persie finally made Arsenal’s constant pressure tell when he blasted the ball home from Arshavin’s clever pass, after substitute Nicklas Bentdner had done well to get a cross in from the right. Hull still looked dangerous on the break and a mistake from Djourou let in Geovanni in the 76th minute, but the Brazilian’s shot grazed the post. However, with time ticking away, Arsenal scored the winner. Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill came for a long ball but was impeded by one of his own players and the ball fell to former captain William Gallas who nodded in from close-range despite Hull appeals for offside. There was still time for Bendtner and fellow-substitute Emmanuel Eboue to go close for the Gunners, who will now face Chelsea in an explosive-looking all-London semifinal on April 18. Manchester United face Everton in the other last four clash the following day.

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