Sunday, January 29, 2012
GALAXY: Keane, Villa can't hold on
By Scott French
Robbie Keane was involved in both of Aston Villa's goals Sunday but his team lost to Arsenal.
Robbie Keane's F.A. Cup is over, victim to Aston Villa's eight-minute meltdown Sunday in a 3-2 fourth-round defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London.
The Galaxy forward crossed for Villa's first goal and made the linking pass leading to its second, but Arsenal scored three goals early in the second half -- two from Robin van Persie penalty kicks -- to advance to a round-of-16 matchup Feb. 19 at Sunderland or Middlesbrough.
Sunday's fifth-round draw gave Landon Donovan and Everton, 2-1 winners Friday over Fulham, a Feb. 18 home game against Sheffield Wednesday or Blackpool, which meet in a replay Feb. 7 after a 1-1 draw Saturday.
Keane, making his third appearance in a short-term loan to the Birmingham club, was an instigator as the Villans put together an outstanding first 45 minutes. His left-footed chip across the goalmouth following a corner kick set up his Irish counryman Richard Dunne's 33rd-minute opener, and he connected a ball out of the back to Stephen Ireland for the feed leading to Darren Bent's goal in first-half stoppage.
Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski parried Bent's first shot, but he blasted the rebound, from a far more abrupt angle, inside the far-post netting.
Arsenal dominated the second half, with van Persie converting from the spot in the 54th and 61st minutes following fouls by Dunne and Bent and Theo Walcott scoring a remarkable goal -- a clearance ricocheted off him after his near-post flick was slapped away -- in the 56th.
“We still had chances to at least get a draw,” Villa manager Alex McLeish said. “A terrible eight minutes we had. I thought the second penalty was a bit harsh. ... The [first] goal gave them a huge lift. I didn't think they looked as if they could score, but that goal gave them a huge lift. But I expected a reaction from Arsenal. Maybe we didn't defend as compactly [in the second half. Arsenal's] midfield started to get a bit of possession, and that gave them the ascendancy.”
GAME BY GAME
Jan. 14 vs. Everton (T, 1-1) 81st-minute substitute for Warnock
Jan. 21 at Wolverhampton (W, 3-2) Started, subbed in second-half stoppage, two goals (51st and 84th minutes)
Jan. 29 FA Cup fourth round at Arsenal (L, 2-3) 90 minutes, assist (Dunne)
Remaining games Feb. 1 vs. Queens Park Rangers
Feb. 5 at Newcastle United
Feb. 12 vs. Manchester City
Feb. 25 at Wigan Athletic