Fabianski errors cost Arsenal in Porto

Fabianski errors cost Arsenal in Porto

Published Feb. 17, 2010 9:51 p.m. ET

Radamel Falcao scored the second-half winner as FC Porto beat Arsenal 2-1 Wednesday in the first leg of their last-16 match in the Champions League.

Falcao pounced in the 51st minute, scoring following a quick free kick inside the penalty area after Arsenal defender Sol Campbell had made a backpass to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who picked the ball up. It was the Colombian's fourth goal in seven Champions League games this season.

The home team took the lead in the 11th minute when stand-in goalie Fabianski, who had strayed too far off his line, dived backwards to bundle a low cross by Silvestre Varela into the net.

Campbell, making his first appearance in Europe in four years since his return to Arsenal, equalized with a header seven minutes later.

Campbell, unmarked, found the roof of the net from short range to score what could be an important away goal. The return leg in London is on March 9.

"This result is good for Arsenal because they scored away from home," Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira said. "We're good enough to fight for a result (in London). We'll just have to see what injuries we have to deal with by then."

Porto, a two-time European champion, has made it through to the last 16 for the sixth time in seven seasons while Arsenal was looking for its first win at Porto's Stadium of the Dragon.

Porto took the early initiative against the Gunners, who were without five first-team regulars including goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and Russia forward Andrey Arshavin.

The Arsenal backline looked shaky when Falcao and Brazilian forward Hulk bore down.

Campbell, especially, was short of pace. The 35-year-old former England international, who has featured only twice since returning to the club he once captained, was drafted in as a replacement for injured defender William Gallas.

Denilson and Tomas Rosicky occasionally sparkled when Arsenal went forward, and Nicklas Bendtner tested Porto goalie Helton with a looping header just before halftime.