Arsenal saw off Premier League rivals Everton in their FA Cup quarterfinal on Saturday, as the Gunners smashed home three goals in the second half to reach the semifinal of the world’s oldest knockout competition.
The Gunners took an early lead through Mesut Ozil, as the German international was played in by Santi Cazorla and finished superbly with his left foot in the 7th minute to put the home side 1-0 up.
Everton then had penalty appeals waved away after Steven Pienaar looked to have been fouled, then Ozil almost grabbed a second but John Stones blocked to keep Everton in the match. A frantic first half finally settled down, as this FA Cup quarterfinal had it all.
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Bacary Sagna skewed his cross before half time and somehow Everton ‘keeper Joel Robles knocked the ball onto the woodwork as he was almost caught out.
Before the break Everton equalized as Ross Barkley’s cross from the right was bundled home by Romelu Lukaku to make it 1-1 in an entertaining game at the Emirates.
After the interval both teams pushed for the winner with a pulsating match playing out. Arsenal finally broke through via the penalty spot, following a foul on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain by Gareth Barry, as Mikel Arteta put the Gunners 2-1 up against his former club. Arteta’s penalty had to be retaken but the Spaniard was unnerved and scored on both occasions, just to make sure.
Late on Olivier Giroud sealed the win, as the Frenchman jumped off the bench to finish off Sagna’s cross and make it 3-1 to the Gunners. Then as stoppage time approached Giroud bagged another as the clinical finisher made the most of Everton pouring forward in search of a late comeback.
With the 4-1 win Arsenal reach their first FA Cup semifinal since 2009.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday