Ighalo, Guediora end Arsenal’s FA Cup treble team

ighalo1_2NIGERIAN international, Odion Ighalo, on Sunday eventually regained his scoring form as he scored for Watford in the 2-1 victory over back-to-back title holders, Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final clash at the Emirates Stadium.

The defeat ended the Gunners ambition to claim the 13th FA Cup title and gave Watford its first-ever Wembley FA Cup semi-final appearance. It also ended Arsenal’s ambition of becoming the first team since Blackburn in the 1880s to win the FA Cup three years in a row.

Watford’s victory also ended Arsenal 16-game unbeaten run in the FA Cup as the London club has not lost in the cup competition since February 2013.

Ighalo, with 14 goals in the kitty this season in the English Premier League, last scored in January but on Sunday had cause to celebrate again.

The Edo State-born striker put the Hornets ahead in the 50th minute when he turned brilliantly after holding off Gabriel before he beat David Ospina with a clinical grounder.

Algeria’s Adlene Guediora doubled the lead in the 63rd minute with a thunderous shot at close range off an excellent goal build up.

Four minutes later, manager Arsene Wenger made three changes as he introduced Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Nigerian Alex Iwobi in place of Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud and Mohamed Elneny.

Substitute Welbeck reduced the deficit for the Gunners in the 88th minute, when he blasted the ball past Costel Pantilimon off a back-heel pass from Mezut Ozil.

Welbeck perhaps sealed the victory of Watford when he wasted what would have been an equaliser in the 90th minute, as the former Manchester United forward shot wide in front of an empty net.

Wenger who has won the FA Cup title six times, after the game lamented the defeat especially the gilt-edged chance lost by Welbeck.

“It was difficult to understand how we didn’t score. I want to watch it again,” he said.

“It was a typical cup game against a team who comes here to fight and take their chances, with us trying to score. It was just like that, there’s not a lot more to say.

“This had nothing to do with confidence. Of course there is confidence in the team. The recent results haven’t shown that but we’ve played against good teams and the recent results were 2-2 at Tottenham with 10 men and a 4-0 win at Hull. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have any confidence.

“Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don’t think that we deserved to lose,” Wenger told reporters.

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