Belfast Telegraph

Reina error saves Gunners

Jose Reina's own goal allowed Arsenal to snatch a 1-1 draw from their thrilling Barclays Premier League opener at Liverpool.

The Reds looked to have overcome the sending-off of new signing Joe Cole and seemed set to claim victory with a David Ngog strike early in the second half at Anfield.

But as injury time approached Reina bundled the ball in after Marouane Chamakh had hit the post, and Arsenal also finished a man down after Laurent Koscielny was dismissed.

Thomas Vermaelen tested Jose Reina early on with a fierce free-kick but aside from that, the first half was almost devoid of action until exploding into life in the closing moments.

First Glen Johnson had a shot tipped over by Manuel Almunia and Ngog then had a header cleared off the line from the resulting corner.

The complexion of the game then changed completely in injury time as Cole was sent off for a lunging challenge on Koscielny.

Liverpool seemed determined not to let their numerical disadvantage bother them and claimed the lead within two minutes of the restart as Javier Mascherano threaded a ball into the box for Ngog and the Frenchman finished unerringly home at the near post.

Liverpool pushed for a second, but it was Arsenal who stepped up the tempo late on and Tomas Rosicky showed great control with a slaloming run into the area before seeing his shot touched over by Reina.

The pressure eventually told in the last minute as Reina failed to grasp the ball after Chamakh hit the post from Rosicky's cross.

Steven Gerrard almost snatched victory as the game went into five minutes of injury time but Almunia kept out his free-kick, before the game ended on further controversy as Koscielny was dismissed after picking up a second booking for a handball.


From Belfast Telegraph