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Arsenal play in European Cup Final

Story Highlights
  • Arsenal European Cup Final
  • Consecutive clean sheets in Champions League
  • Lehmann penalty save against Villarreal
  • Red card for Lehmann in Final
  • Thierry Henry free kick and Sol Campbell header
  • Barcelona's comeback in Final minutes

Arsenal’s historical journey to their first European Cup Final was remarkable, and they were just thirteen minutes away from claiming the title. The team, led by Arsène Wenger, had impressively secured ten consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League, despite the injuries of critical defenders Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole.
On their road to the Final, they had beaten Ajax, FC Thun, and Sparta Prague in the Group Stage. They overwhelmed Real Madrid at their home ground, outperformed Juventus, and stopped Villarreal thanks to a crucial penalty save by Jens Lehmann. Despite being a man down, even in the Final against Frank Rijkaard’s skilled Barcelona, they held onto the lead until the 77th minute.
However, the turning point came 17 minutes into the game when Lehmann was red-carded for a foul on Samuel Eto’o. Now playing with ten men, the Gunners didn’t let this setback affect them. Instead, they rallied, and their determination bore fruit in the 37th minute. A perfectly placed free-kick from Thierry Henry was met with a powerful header from Sol Campbell, putting Arsenal in the lead.
For much of the second half, it seemed like Arsenal could pull off this improbable feat. Both Henry and Freddie Ljungberg even had opportunities to secure the game. However, with just thirteen minutes remaining, Barcelona’s Eto’o found the back of the net, and Juliano Belletti scored the winning goal soon after, despite Arsenal’s valiant effort. Despite the result, it was an unforgettable journey that added another memorable chapter to the Club’s rich history.

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