posted on Apr, 16 2005 @ 01:55 PM
Robert Pires and Robin van Persie got the goals as Arsenal beat Blackburn 3-0 in Cardiff on Saturday to reach their fourth FA Cup final in five
Pires tapped home three minutes before half-time to open the scoring in a game the Gunners dominated from start to finish. And substitute van Persie
netted twice in the last four minutes to wrap up a comprehensive success. Blackburn employed a very physical approach to try and knock the Gunners out
of their stride - three players were all booked for fouls on skipper Patrick Vieira. But gradually the favourites started to assert their
On 42 minutes they made the breakthrough, with Pires scoring from close range after Kolo Toure had done all the hard work down the left. After the
break it was all Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger's team spraying the ball about with ease. And only some fine saves from Brad Friedel and some desperate
defending stopped the game being over long before the finish.
Victory was assured on 86 minutes though when van Persie turned superbly, beat a defender and then slid the ball past Friedel for a brilliant goal.
And in stoppage time the young Dutchman struck again, firing home from a Pires pass.
The most disappointing aspect of the game was the attendance, with only 52,000 fans turning out in a stadium that holds more than 70,000. The Gunners
will now meet the winners of Sunday's second semi-final between Manchester United and Newcastle in the final next month.
Afterwards Vieira admitted he is looking forward to another final after missing the 2003 win over Southampton through suspension.
He said: "I'm really pleased to be there - we are happy to go to another final.
"We had quite a difficult game at Blackburn so we knew how tough it would be but I think we responded well.
"We kept calm, kept the ball on the floor and played our game."