LAST-GASP CEBALLOS FIRES ARSENAL INTO FA CUP SEMIFINALS

Substitute Daniel Ceballos fired Arsenal into the FA Cup semi-finals with a stoppage-time goal that sealed a 2-1 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday (June 28).

John Lundstram had an early header ruled out for offside for Sheffield United, who went behind when Chris Basham fouled Alexandre Lacazette in the penalty area and Pepe rattled home the spot kick in the 23rd minute.

The game looked to be heading for extra time when David McGoldrick equalised in the 87th minute, hooking home a volley after Arsenal failed to clear a corner, but the Spaniard popped up to slot home the winner.

The 13-time winners joined Manchester United in the last four. Leicester face Chelsea and Newcastle meet holders Manchester City later on Sunday in the last two quarter-finals.

Mikel Arteta’s side – he was Arsenal’s captain when they won the FA Cup against Hull in 2014 – rode their luck after surviving a second-half barrage from the Blades.

And the Gunners boss remains on course to get his hands on the silverware again as Arsenal look to win the competition for a record-extending 14th time.

“This is a difficult place to get a win. We are back at Wembley. I am really happy with the attitude and performance of the players,” he said.

“It is a great opportunity to try and win a title and play in Europe.”

After losing their first two matches following the restart, Arsenal, who beat Southampton in the Premier League in midweek, have now won two in a row.

The Blades have gone winless in their four matches since the English season restarted, ruining their hopes of a push to qualify for the Champions League and ending their FA Cup campaign.

Arteta made five changes, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah among those left out.

There was no place for Matteo Guendouzi again after the Arsenal midfielder’s role in the brawl against Brighton, while Mesut Ozil was also absent from the Gunners squad.

David Luiz was back in Arsenal’s defence after serving a suspension for the red card he picked up during a disastrous substitute appearance in the defeat at Manchester City last week.

Arsenal struggled in the second half as Sheffield fired long balls into the penalty area aimed at the head of striker Oliver McBurnie.

United goalkeeper Dean Henderson almost scored with a wind-assisted kick that bounced and narrowly cleared the Arsenal crossbar, to the relief of his opposite number Emiliano Martinez.

With their defence under pressure, Arsenal lost Luiz to injury and the game looked to be heading for extra time when McGoldrick equalised in the 87th minute, hooking home a volley after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

But Ceballos popped up to slot home the winner and lift Arsenal, who are ninth in the Premier League table, one place below Sheffield United.

“Today we didn’t give up, even when they got the equaliser because you have to prepare for the extra time anyway. We believed until the end and we got rewarded,” Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi told BT Sport.

-Reuters, AFP