Wenger frustrated as Arsenal miss out

Arsenal were on the brink of an astonishing recovery in the Champions League tie against Milan. Facing a 4-0 deficit from the first leg, they raced to a 3-0 lead in the first half of the return at the Emirates. They were unable to find the fourth goal that would have taken the tie to extra time.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid tribute to the spirit shown by his team. "The players put in a faultless performance, with fantastic spirit," Wenger said, "and you can only congratulate the whole team. It is a night when the players can be proud to play for this club. They put absolutely every effort in."

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and Robin Van Persie had stirred hopes, but Milan defended resolutely in the second half, and Christian Abbiati’s fingertip save denied Van Persie the goal that would have levelled the tie.

The performance was in marked contrast to the first leg debacle in Milan. Wenger had already lambasted his players for their mistakes in that match. He also pointed out that the poor quality of the Milan pitch had contributed to the result.

"I just feel it is part of the respect for people who pay their money and go to a football game to at least put the game in conditions where people can play football," Wenger said, in a pointed attack on UEFA. "That's what we try to do here. It's unacceptable from UEFA that they accept pitches like we had in Milan."

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