Braga upsets Arsenal 2-0 in Champs League

Published Nov. 23, 2010 10:03 p.m. ET

Matheus scored twice in the last seven minutes to give Braga a surprise 2-0 win over Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday as the English powerhouse again failed to make its class tell on the scoresheet.

Matheus broke clear on a counterattack in the 84th and left-footed the ball past Lukasz Fabianski, then beat three defenders to score his second in injury time.

Arsenal felt it was denied a clear penalty just before Matheus's first goal when substitute Carlos Vela was tripped by the Braga goalkeeper - only for the Arsenal forward to be booked for diving.

Braga's win came after a 6-0 defeat in London two months ago and denied Arsenal the point it needed to clinch a place in the round of 16 with a game to play.

Arsenal is now level on nine points with Braga in second place in Group H.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger made seven changes from the team which surrendered a 2-0 lead at home to Tottenham in a Premier League match last weekend but his team still lacked a clinical finish.

Arsenal also lost 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk earlier this month, another match in which the team gave up its lead.


The Gunners had most chances but were unable to dominate a gutsy Portuguese team currently lying 10th in its domestic league.

Andrey Arshavin and Robin van Persie were unavailable due to injury but Cesc Fabregas recovered from a hamstring injury to play in Portugal. Nicklas Bendtner, who had not played since complaining about being left off the team, was at centerforward.

Fabregas chipped a free-kick over the defensive wall on the half-hour but Felipe easily tipped the ball over the bar with his right hand.

Felipe was in action again a few minutes later, diving at the feet of Theo Walcott who had darted through the middle of Braga's defense.

Lima tested Fabianski with a swerving long shot that flew just wide, and five minutes before the interval Walcott again worried the Braga defense when he beat two defenders down the right flank and shot across the face of the goal.

Arsenal was sharper after the break but Braga, the surprise runner-up in the Portuguese league last year, produced a gutsy performance.

Walcott curled a free-kick over the wall in the 50th but sent the ball just over the bar.

A weak clearance by Sebastien Squillaci 10 minutes later set up Luis Aguiar for a shot that had Fabianski leaping to his left.

Wenger brought on Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh in an effort to break the deadlock but the Gunners were unconvincing. To make matters worse, Fabregas and Emmanuel Eboue both picked up injuries.