posted on Apr, 6 2004 @ 04:32 PM
Wayne Bridge's late goal stunned Arsenal and
sent Chelsea into the Champions League semi-finals.The England defender rifled home a left-foot finish on 87 minutes after being set up by Eidur
Gudjohnsen to end Arsenal's unbeaten run against Chelsea.
Wayne Bridge proved to be Chelsea's unlikely hero as his late goal sealed a 2-1 second-leg win over Arsenal in the quarter-finals at Highbury.After
the London rivals tied 1-1 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, there was everything to play for.But the Gunners were favourites as Chelsea had failed
to beat their arch rivals in 17 previous attempts.
Things were going to plan for Arsene Wenger's troops, still
licking their wounds after the weekend FA Cup defeat by Manchester United.They took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Jose Antonio Reyes'
cool finish from Thierry Henry's knockdown.But Chelsea came out fighting after the break and gained a deserved equaliser when Frank Lampard coolly
slotted home from close range after Jens Lehmann fumbled Claude Makelele's 25-yard drive on 51 minutes.The goal gave the visitors the momentum in the
showdown and they grabbed a deserved but unexpected 3-2 aggregate victory three minutes from time when Bridge played a sublime one-two with Eidur
Gudjohnsen and raced into the box before calmly slotting a shot past Lehmann.Afterwards Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri could not contain his delight at
finally beating old foes Arsenal.
Speculation has been rife all year that Ranieri will be out of a job at the end of the season as owner Roman Abramovich wants to bring in his own man
and even though he has guided the side to the Champions League semi-final the manager refused to look beyond May.