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Arsenal gun down Cardiff City in FA Cup

Goal.com
Feb 17, 2009 at 03:47pm IST

New Delhi: A double from the returning Eduardo helped Arsenal dump Cardiff City out of the FA Cup and send the Gunners into the fifth round.

Having endured a goalless draw 22 days ago, Arsenal and Cardiff City met again at the Emirates Stadium aiming to book themselves a spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup and a date with Burnley.

Yet there was no doubt what the main talking point of the night was always going to be; the return of Arsenal striker Eduardo, back in the side after a year out with injury.

PUSHING AHEAD: Arsenal's Robin van Persie celebrates his goal during the English FA Cup match against Cardiff City.

Certainly the Croatian began the game brightly, as did the home side, and they might have been ahead as early as the fifth minute.

Bacary Sagna found space down the right and crossed for Nicolas Bendtner, who had pulled off the back of Roger Johnson to find space, but could only direct his header wide.

Moments later and Bendtner had another opportunity, Eduardo set up Carlos Vela for the shot which Tom Heaton parried. However, the Dane collected the loose ball but could only fire straight at the Cardiff stopper.

Even so, Arsenal were rampant in the opening exchanges and mid-way through the first half they finally had their reward, and fittingly it was Eduardo who found the back of the net.

The striker began the move, bearing down on goal on the left flank before slipping a ball to the overlapping Vela.

The Mexican advanced before clipping an inviting return ball back to Eduardo to head past the despairing dive of Heaton and send the home crowd into raptures.

The Gunners continued to press and just after the half hour mark they doubled their lead. A corner in from the right by Samir Nasri found Bendtner running off the back post, unnoticed, to head home.

Yet Bendtner really ought to have put the game beyond the Bluebirds right on half-time. Another superb delivery from the right by Sagna found Vela, taking a touch before swiveling and shooting at Heaton.

The Cardiff keeper parried the shot but only into the Dane’s path yet with the goal gaping he conspired to hit the post before collecting the rebound and shooting straight at Heaton who saved again and the chance went begging.

The second half continued in much the same vein and on the hour mark Arsenal finally put the game out of sight.

A scramble in the Cardiff area saw Alex Rae eventually foul Eduardo and referee Mark Halsey pointed straight to the spot.

There was no doubt over who would take the kick and up stepped the Croatian to send Heaton the wrong way for his second goal of the night.

It was to be his last telling contribution of the match as with a little over 20 minutes to go he was substituted to wild applause, with Robin van Persie the man coming on in his place.

The Dutchman had the best chances of the closing stages and finally got his goal with minutes to go with a clinical finish after good work by Bendtner.

The striker then almost grabbed his second of the night but he headed against the post in stoppage time. Yet the night belonged to Eduardo and Arsenal as Cardiff departed North London well beaten.

The Gunners, meanwhile, head onwards and upwards and now face Burnley in the fifth round and with it, a chance to gain revenge for their League Cup exit at the hands of Owen Coyle’s men.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Gibbs, Nasri (Ramsey, 68), Song, Denilson, Vela (Bischoff, 74), Eduardo (van Persie, 67), Bendtner.

Cardiff City: Heaton, McNaughton, Rae (Scimeca, 74), Purse (Blake, 68, Johnson, Parry (Whittingham, 68), Ledley, Kennedy, Burke, Bothroyd, McCormack.

GOALS

4-0 Arsenal (van Persie, 89)

3-0 Arsenal (Eduardo, 60 pen)

2-0 Arsenal (Bendtner, 33)

1-0 Arsenal (Eduardo, 20)

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