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champions league

One up, one to go

“I SHOUTED at it, I kept my eye on it, I didn’t switch off.” Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was not talking about keeping yet another European clean sheet during the Gunners impressive 1-0 semi-final first leg victory over Villarreal at Highbury, but about a mid-match pitch invasion by a rodent.

The German number one keeper concluded his post-game analysis with the following immortal words: “I was disappointed because the squirrels in Germany are nicer. They are brown. Here, they are grey. You must come to the World Cup and see.” Wildlife apart, Lehmann kept the singular threat of Riquelme at bay, as Arsenal coasted to victory. Henry had an effort disallowed for off-side before Kolo Toure slotted one home just before the interval. On all evidence Arsene Wengers’ young side should have the ability to have put the game beyond Villarreal’s reach last Tuesday, securing a historic place in the Paris final on May 17.

In the other last four encounter, Barcelona travelled to Milan, and came away with an invaluable 1-0 victory. AC Milan’s 13 match unbeaten home run in the competition was well and truly shattered, by a tremendous Ludovic Giuly finish, following a great Ronaldinho through ball. The Brazilian’s beautifully weighted pass was lashed in by the French striker from a tight angle in the 57th minute, to set Frank Rijkaard’s team up for a probable overall success at the Nou Camp.