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Friday, April 2, 2010

Arsenal grabs draw; Fabregas hurt

LONDON (AP) Cesc Fabregas may have broken a leg while converting a penalty kick that gave Arsenal a 2-2 tie against Barcelona in the European Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday night, an injury that could cost him a trip to the World Cup with Spain.

News photo
Inter mission: CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda competes with Inter Milan's Esteban Cambiasso during their Champions League quarterfinal match on Wednesday. Inter won 1-0. AP PHOTO

The Arsenal captain struck the penalty with such force in the 85th minute that it left him hobbling.

"We have to wait for tomorrow, but I hope I can wear the Arsenal shirt again this season," the 22-year-old midfielder said. "I fear the worst, which is that I have broken something. I do not think it is going to be good news, but still I hope there will be."

No matter what, Fabregas is suspended for next week's second leg after getting a yellow card for fouling Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol also is suspended after receiving a red card for the foul on Fabregas, whose penalty capped a comeback from a two-goal deficit.

Fabregas played after passing a late fitness test following a knee injury on Saturday.

"When I took the penalty, I was quite strong, but after when I went to get the ball, I could not walk any more," Fabregas said.

Fabregas is Arsenal's leading scorer this season with 19 goals in 36 matches. A prolonged absence would hamper Arsenal's challenge for the Premier League title and could hurt Spain as it attempts to add its first World Cup title to the European Championship.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice for Barcelona, and Theo Walcott started the Gunners' rally when he scored in the 69th minute, three minutes after entering. The game was a rematch of the 2006 final, won by Barcelona 2-1.

Arsenal defender William Gallas returned for the first time in seven weeks but was carried off with a calf injury in the 45th minute. Forward Andrey Arshavin departed in the 27th.

"He will be out for a while now," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of Gallas. "I took a gamble and it did not pay off. I can say now I regret that. Arshavin is the same. He's done his calf."

Barcelona dominated the first half and only brilliant goalkeeping by the Gunners' Manuel Almunia and key blocks by defenders kept the visitors from surging ahead.

"It was art, I believe," Wenger said. "It was football, but it was art."

Barcelona had 74 percent possession in the first 20 minutes and 62 percent overall.

"They are amazing," Fabregas said. "All you can do is just clap and enjoy it. But when you're on the pitch, it is frustrating."

In Milan, Diego Milito scored in the 65th minute to give Inter Milan a 1-0 victory over CSKA Moscow.

Both teams wore black armbands in tribute to the victims of bombing in Russia this week.

No break for Rooney

MANCHESTER , England (AP) Wayne Rooney sustained minor ligament damage and did not break a bone in Manchester United's Champions League loss at Bayern Munich on Tuesday, the English champions said Thursday.

While Rooney will miss United's match against Chelsea on Saturday, the Premier League leaders haven't given a timeframe for Rooney's return to action.

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