Sun, 13 Mar 2005


Arsenal reaches FA Cup semifinals with 1-0 victory over Bolton

Associated Press, London

Arsenal reached the semifinals of the FA Cup on Saturday, beating Bolton 1-0 on Freddie Ljungberg's early goal.

Bolton played with only 10 men for the last 81 minutes after El Hadji Diouf was sent off for striking Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

The hard-fought victory was some consolation for the Gunners, who were ousted from the Champions League this week by Bayern Munich.

Manchester United, which was also eliminated from the Champions League, tried to advance to the FA Cup semifinals in a match later Saturday at Southampton.

On Sunday in the other quarterfinals, Tottenham plays at Newcastle, and League Championship side Leicester plays at Blackburn.

No Premier League games are scheduled this weekend.

Ljungberg's goal in the third minute was all Arsenal needed. The Swedish forward notched his 13th of the season when he scored off a perfect through-ball from Robert Pires.

Six minutes later, Diouf was sent off for striking Lehmann. After being brought down in the area and complaining that no penalty was called, he lost his temper and struck Lehmann in the head with his right hand.

The Senegal striker has a history of bad behavior. Two years ago playing with Liverpool, he was fined two week's wages for spitting at Celtic fans. Four months ago, Bolton fined him two week's pay in another spitting incident.

Arsenal had a half dozen chances to score with the man advantage. A minute into injury time, striker Dennis Bergkamp rolled an eight-meter shot just wide of the open goal. A minute later, Ljungberg shot over the crossbar from three meters.

Going into the weekend, British bookmakers listed Man United a 6/4 favorite to win the cup, with nine-time winner Arsenal 9/4.