Reds hold Gunners in late drama
Published 17/04/2011 | 18:12
Arsenal saw their Barclays Premier League title hopes all but extinguished after Dirk Kuyt secured a point for Liverpool in a 1-1 draw thanks to a last-gasp penalty just moments after Robin van Persie's own spot-kick had looked enough for victory.
The Gunners - now six point points behind leaders Manchester United having played the same games - had plenty of possession and hit the bar in the first half through Laurent Koscielny, but were unable to make their dominance count until deep into stoppage time when Van Persie crashed home a spot-kick.
However, Liverpool - who had earlier seen captain Jamie Carragher carried off with concussion - snatched a point with the final kick of the match after Emmanuel Eboue had pushed Lucas.
While the match ended in high drama, before kick-off there was a minute's silence in memory of late Arsenal director Danny Fiszman, who passed away following a battle against cancer and also remembering the 96 Liverpool supporters who died 22 years ago this week in the Hillsborough tragedy.
The hosts sparked into life after 12 minutes when Theo Walcott stung Pepe Reina with a fierce 25-yard drive which the Reds keeper spilled and van Persie hooked the loose ball back across an open goal, which was headed behind.
Liverpool were forced into a change on 21 minutes when full-back Fabio Aurelio limped off with a recurrence of his hamstring problem, replaced by 17-year-old Jack Robinson for a second senior appearance.
It was a bright opening by Liverpool after the restart, Luis Suarez creating space for himself at the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, but dragging his shot wide.
Reds skipper Carragher appeared to have been knocked unconscious after a clash of heads with John Flanagan, sparking more anxious scenes on the visitors bench as the medical staff from both teams attended. The former England defender was eventually carried off on a stretcher, his neck in a brace and given oxygen. Sotirios Kyrgiakos came on as a substitute.
Because of the injury to Carragher, there were some eight minutes of stoppage time, and just when that seemed to be running out, Cesc Fabregas went tumbling over Jay Spearing's leg and this time, the referee pointed to the spot. Van Persie stepped up to send Reina the wrong way and seemingly keep Arsenal in the title hunt.
However, there was more late drama after Alex Song tripped Lucas right on the edge of the area. Suarez's free-kick went into the wall, but Eboue then pushed over Lucas to conceded another stoppage-time spot-kick which Kuyt dispatched.