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Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

Cool Nasri sends Arsenal through at Spurs' expense

LONDON (AP) Samir Nasri scored a pair of extra-time penalty kicks as Arsenal ousted north London rival Tottenham from the League Cup with a 4-1 victory, and Premier League side Everton was beaten in a shootout by third-tier Brentford on Tuesday.

Tottenham substitute Robbie Keane had canceled out Henri Lansbury's first Arsenal goal to send the game into extra time, but the home side crumbled within 30 seconds of it starting.

After being fouled by Sebastien Bassong, Nasri converted from the penalty spot and the France midfielder beat Spurs goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa again five minutes later when Steven Caulker brought down Marouane Chamakh.

"He had a superstition to think that when a penalty is made on you not to take it," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "But I tried to prove to him that that's solely based on fear. He realizes now that it was a bad superstition."

Andrei Arshavin ended any hopes of a Tottenham comeback by firing low past Pletikosa in the 105th minute.

Everton, which is yet to win in the Premier League season, went out after Jermaine Beckford and Phil Jagielka missed penalties in a 4-3 shootout loss against Brentford.

Seamus Coleman had put Everton in front with his first goal for the club after six minutes, but Gary Alexander leveled for the League One club with a powerful header.

Bolton was the other Premier League casualty in the third round on Tuesday, with Owen Coyle's side losing 1-0 at former club Burnley, which was relegated from the top flight last season.

In all-Premier League matches, Stoke beat Fulham 2-0 and West Ham won 2-1 at Sunderland. Elsewhere, Birmingham defeated MK Dons 3-1, Wolverhampton eliminated Notts County 4-2 in extra time, Ipswich won 2-1 at Millwall, Swansea triumphed 3-1 at Peterborough and Leicester beat Portsmouth 2-1.

With Spurs focused on their first Champions League campaign and the Premier League, only defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto survived from Saturday's 3-1 victory over Wolverhampton. As well as Pletikosa and Caulker, Brazilian midfielder Sandro made his debut.

But such is the fierce local rivalry, Wenger veered from his usual policy of deploying a side packed with youngsters, with Tomas Rosicky captaining a strong side.

"We got a few reproaches that we didn't take the competition seriously, that it was a derby that it was the start of the competition," Wenger said. "To go out at the start would have been difficult for us."

Ref caught with drugs

NEW YORK (AP) The referee involved in Italy's controversial elimination from the 2002 World Cup was caught at Kennedy Airport with bags of heroin attached to his body, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Byron Moreno late Monday after he arrived in New York on a commercial flight from his native Ecuador.

During a routine inspection, Moreno "became visibly nervous," according to a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

A customs agent felt "hard objects on the defendant's stomach, back and both of his legs," the complaint said. A strip search revealed that the lumps were 10 clear plastic bags containing more than 4.5 kg of heroin, it said.

A judge jailed Moreno without bail on a drug smuggling charge.

"I'm looking into the circumstances that led to this unfortunate situation," Moreno's attorney, Michael Padden, said Tuesday.

Moreno enraged Italian fans in 2002 when he sent off Francesco Totti, giving the Italian a second yellow card for an alleged dive in the penalty area 13 minutes into extra time of a 2-1 loss to South Korea in the World Cup's second round.

A 111th-minute goal by Damiano Tommasi that would have advanced Italy was disallowed, apparently for offside, and South Korea was awarded a penalty kick — which goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved — for a foul against Seol Ki Hyeon.

"I think Moreno already had the (heroin) in 2002, but not in his underwear, in his body," Buffon said. "Joking aside, when sports people get involved in drug cases it means they're scraping the bottom of the barrel."

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