FA Cup: Blackburn beat Arsenal 1-0

Substitute Benni McCarthy took Blackburn to a 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday and put his side in the last eight of the FA Cup.

updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Substitute Benni McCarthy scored with four minutes remaining to give Blackburn a 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday and put his side in the last eight of the FA Cup. The South African striker, who came off the bench in the 60th minute of the fifth-round replay, raced down the left and cut inside Gunners defender Philippe Senderos before firing an angled 25-meter shot high inside the far post. It was his 16th goal since his arrival in English soccer from Portugal's Porto this season. "When you've get your chance you've got to be ready. You've got fresh legs and you can produce a little bit of magic like that," McCarthy said. I'm pleased because we've knocked out probably the best team in the Premiership." Blackburn manager Mark Hughes, who won the cup four times as a player with Manchester United and Chelsea, said the goal justified his decision to leave his top scorer on the bench. "He brings world-class quality and he's shown that all through the season. What a good decision from the manager to bring him on as an impact player," he said. "We've got a pretty good record against Manchester City, and we'll be looking forward to that now and hoping to do well." Second loss for Arsenal For Arsenal, the loss at Ewood Park came four days after a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the League Cup final. "It's difficult to take," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was without several injured stars such as Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann and Kolo Toure. "I feel hard done by because if you look at what Blackburn created over the two games you feel punished. We didn't take our chances and Blackburn took the only chance they had in 180 minutes." Arsenal had two appeals for penalties turned down by referee Graham Poll in the first half. The first was when Rovers goalkeeper Brad Friedel raced off his line and brought down Jeremie Aliadiere, the second when Brett Emerton upended Fredrik Ljungberg inside the corner of the area. After after Emerton's tackle, an unmarked Julio Baptista headed over the bar from 10 meters when Cesc Fabregas floated in a free kick from the right. Friedel finger-tipped a shot from Baptista over the bar in the 53rd minute as the Gunners continued to make chances. Morten Gamst Pedersen could have given Blackburn the lead in the 59th when he burst into the area with no Arsenal players near him but fired wide of the near post. Friedel made another glancing save to push a 20-meter shot from Baptista round the post in the 71st before McCarthy came up with the winner. Rovers will host Manchester City in the quarterfinal. The other matchups are Middlesbrough vs Manchester United; Chelsea vs Tottenham; Plymouth vs Watford. The games will be played over the weekend March 10-11.