Porto 2-1 Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski errors hand Portuguese side the edge

Gunners have it all to do at home...
Porto vs Arsenal: Line-ups & stats
Champions League knockout stage

Arsenal got off to the worse possible start against Porto when Lukasz Fabianski bundled the ball into his own net inside the opening ten minutes before Sol Campbell headed an equaliser. Porto took the lead in controversial circumstances through Radamel Falcao early in the second half and held off Arsenal to take a lead to the Emirates.

Arsenal were without five first-team regulars for the trip to Portugal, with William Gallas, Alexandre Song, Andrei Arshavin, Eduardo and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia all out.

The injury to Gallas saw Sol Campbell make his first European appearance for the Gunners since the 2006 Champions League final defeat at the hands of Barcelona.

Brazilian striker Hulk was available for Porto despite currently serving a six-month domestic ban for an incident in a league match with rivals Benfica.  

Campbell was called into action early after Falcao broke through and easily beat the former England defender for pace but the 35-year-old recovered well and won the ball with a well-timed tackle.

Hulk should have given the home side the lead inside the first three minutes when the ball fell to him in the box, but the 23-year-old dragged his effort wide of the mark.

Campbell was again involved when he appeared to block off Hulk in the penalty after a surging run from the Brazilian, but the referee rightly waved away the penalty claims.

Porto took the lead on ten minutes after a howler from stand-in goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. After some good wing play by Silvestre Varela down the right, the 25-year-old sent in a harmless looking low cross that Fabianski somehow managed to bundle into his own net under no pressure from the opposition.

Sol Campbell levelled the scores seven minutes later after Porto failed to deal with a Cesc Fabregas corner on several occasions. Vermaelen flicked the ball on at the near post before Roisicky nodded the ball back across the goal and Campbell headed home completely unmarked.

Arsenal would have taken the lead through Rosicky minutes later had it not been for a great save by Helton in the Porto goal. The Czech international raced down the right and cut inside but his powerful effort was tipped around the post by the 31-year-old keeper.

Ruben Micael hit a long-range effort just before the half hour mark but Fabianski saved well to his right to prevent the midfielder’s strike.

Helton was called into action yet again when Nicklas Bendtner saw his headed chance tipped over the bar following a Fabregas free kick on the left.  

Arsenal began to enjoy the majority of the possession later in the first half but Porto continued to look dangerous on the break and always looked capable of creating chances but clear-cut opportunities for both sides were limited.

Tempers flared as the teams headed into the tunnel at half-time after Fabregas reacted to a late challenge from Micael in the dying moments of the half but the referee did well to diffuse the situation.

Old Dog | Campbell celebrates his leveller

Porto took the lead five minutes into the second half in comical and controversial fashion. Sol Campbell tried to shield the ball for Fabianski to either come and collect or clear but the 24-year-old did neither and Campbell knocked it back to the Polish keeper who picked it up.

The referee awarded a free kick inside the box which Porto took quickly, and Falcao knocked the ball in from close range before Arsenal could even react.

Arsene Wenger remonstrated with referee Martin Hansson on the touchline but the goal was allowed to stand much to Arsenal's dismay. Rosicky may have had a penalty moments before Porto took the lead but the Swedish official had waved away the claims.

Arsenal were again seeing the most of the ball but were finding the Portuguese side hard to break down, who in turn continued to threaten the English club with efforts on goal.

Hulk was showing no signs of fatigue despite a lack of match time and the striker showed great skill when he flicked the ball over Campbell inside the box and managed to get a shot away but his low volley was saved by Fabianski.

Arsenal continued to press for another equaliser but failed to create any clear chances, and the game ended 2-1 in favour of the home side.