Lehmann sinks yellow submarine

Lehmann saves Riquelme's PK
Villarreal, Spain (Sports Network) – Jens Lehmann proved why he was selected as Germany’s goalkeeper for the World Cup by blocking a late Villarreal penalty shot to ensure a scoreless draw and Arsenal a spot in the Champions League final match.

Lehmann blocked Juan Roman Riquelme’s penalty kick in the 90th minute to preserve Arsenal’s narrow one -goal aggregate Tuesday at El Madrigal. Riquelme’s shot towards the net’s left post wasn’t enough to get past a diving Lehmann.

The blocked penalty shot put an end to a day filled with near goals for Villarreal, which had an offense that dominated throughout the 90 minutes.

Tuesday’s results mark the first time Arsenal had made it to the tournament’s final match. The scoreless draw added to an Arsenal clean sheet spanning 919 minutes.

Arsene Wenger’s club is the second consecutive Premiership team to make it into the Champions League final match. Arsenal will have to wait until the results of Wednesday’s Barcelona-AC Milan match to find out its opponent in the finals.

Wenger’s lineup looked slightly different at the start of Tuesday’s game. Jose Antonio Reyes returned after serving a one-match suspension, and Sol Campbell made the start after suffering a broken nose in his last game against Portsmouth in league play.

For Villarreal, coach Manuel Pellegrini kept Mariano Barbosa and added Juan Manuel Pena and Josico to the second-leg starting lineup.

With the familiar bright yellow jerseys set to a wall of fans draped in the same color, Villarreal appeared to take quick control of the match.

The “yellow submarine” offense managed its first attempt on the Arsenal defense with a Guillermo Franco shot that was sent high and wide of the net.

The team continued to pressure the Arsenal defense throughout the first few minutes of the half.

In the ninth minute, Arsenal was forced to make a quick substitution, as Mathieu Flamini was forced out of the match with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Gael Clichy came on for the injured forward after having not played since November due to a broken foot.

Though Arsenal would also create some pressure in the first half, Villarreal maintained control. Overall, the home side had 12 total shots compared to Arsenal’s two. Five of the 12 shots were on goal, with the Arsenal offense only able to create one attempt on goal.

In the second half, with the opportunity to advance quickly slipping away, Villarreal nearly took the lead with a goal that was flagged for offside. Franco drilled a shot to the top right corner that was out of reach of a diving Lehmann. But before anyone could celebrate, the lineman signaled for offside.

The club had its best attempt on the penalty kick, which was the result of a Clichy foul on Villarreal’s Jose Maria in the 90th minute. Following the blocked shot, Riquelme took one last attempt deep into extra time that was blocked to nearly end the club’s hopes to advance.

Arsenal will travel to Paris, France for the Champions League final May 17.


  • G.T.

    YES ARSENAL! These are the Gunners I’m proud to say I love. Lehmann, TH14 and the team are red hott now and theres no reason why they shouldn’t win the 06′ CL. GUNNERS FOREVER!

  • Anonymous

    Im with you G.T.! I fell in love with Arsenal’s sharp play and have been a fan ever since. I can’t wait until that May 17th final!

  • NC Soccer Dude

    I’m definitely pulling for The Arse, but they’re going to have to play better than yesterday if they hope to win it all. I’m guessing Barca will win today. That’s going to be a great match.

  • C.C.

    Villarreal had a good run…they just came up short in the end. Congratz to the Gunners, I’m sure they will feel like the home team in Paris, but there is no way they can beat Barca. I don’t think they can even beat Milan.
    So once again Congrats…for being the 2nd best team in Europe.

  • Victor

    Yes! we all know that arsenal got lucky they didn’t even had a shot on goal in the whole game. Villareal should had been the team in paris.

  • shane donoghue

    come on barca win

  • Dude

    British football is overrated, everyone knows this! Not only was Arsenal the lesser team to a third rate La Liga team over two games, Arsenal does not have one Brit on the roster and relies on a French striker and a German goalkeeper to pull them through.

    The world will now watch with glee as Barca destroys the London Club.

  • Matt

    Arsenal will die against Barca. Should have been Villareal and Barcelona in the finals.

  • hugh

    the gunners are the team im rootin for in paris on the 17th. But i agree with
    NC Soccer Dude that arsenal will definatly need to play a whole lot betterif they wanna have any chance of beating the catalans. But then again, they werent expected to make it far in the champions league and as we saw last year, anything is possible.

    GO GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • El Gatto

    See here’s the thing, once Arsenal get’s going into there rythm, no other team in the world can stop them. They truly know how to play the game. GO ARSENAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!