Jens Lehmann proved to be the hero as he saved a penalty and scored the decisive spot kick as we beat Real Madrid Legends in a shootout at Emirates Stadium.
The game may not have had the intensity of matches between these sides in the past, but there were still some lovely touches and passing moves to admire.
Robert Pires soon had the crowd on their feet by plucking the ball out of the air, dropping the shoulder and skipping past his marker, before Ray Parlour combined with the Frenchman and slipped a lovely ball behind the Real backline that the visitors just about cleared.
Jens Lehmann was then called into action to make a smart stop to deny Ruben de la Red after a fine bit of play by the legendary Raul, but it was only towards the end of the first half that the match really got going.
Gilberto – still such a classy operator in midfield – was at the heart of it, played in on goal after lovely link-up play in the right by Jeremie Aliadiere and Tomas Rosicky, but his shot was blocked, and his follow up well saved by Cesar Sanchez.
From the resulting corner, Davor Suker sent a looping header back across goal that was cleared off the line, while at the other end Nigel Winterburn had to make a vital block to divert Raul’s goalbound effort around the post.
Rosicky went close with a powerful effort that flashed just wide after the restart, but the second half was a lower-key affair – with chances few and far between.
Aliaidere, moved up front for the second period – went close with a fierce drive near the end that stung the hands of the keeper, but there was no breakthrough and the game went to penalties.
Lehmann proved to be the hero, making the crucial save and then firing home the fifth and final penalty himself to cap off a fine afternoon as we raised money for the Arsenal Foundation.
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