Posted on February 24, 2009
A first-half penalty from Robin van Persie handed Arsenal a 1-0 win over Roma at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening to give the Gunners the advantage going into the second-leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.
Arsene Wenger’s men looked sharp from the off and created their first real chance six minutes in as Samir Nasri burst down the left before picking out Nicklas Bendtner on the edge of the area, but the Dane’s first-touch let him down and the Roma defence was able to clear.
The Italians looked to spring their attacks from the back and almost took a stunning lead as the visitors broke with pace before the ball came out for Marco Motta, but Manuel Almunia just managed to get finger-tips to the right-back’s rasping effort.
The Londoners continue to force the issue for much of the half and the pressure eventually took its toll as Philippe Mexes brought down Van Persie inside the area, and after picking himself up the striker duly slammed the resulting spot-kick into the bottom-right corner to take a deserved half-time lead.
Wenger’s men really should have gone two goals up shortly after the restart as the Gunners carved open the Roma defence with some slick one-touch passing, but after locking his sights on goal Bendtner completely ballooned his effort over the crossbar from just a few yards out.
The second-leg will take place at Roma’s Stadio Olimpico in a fortnight’s time.