Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas scored six minutes from time and Emmanuel Adebayor added an injury-time second to knock defending champions AC Milan out of the UEFA Champions League as Arsenal won 2-0 at the San Siro on Tuesday.
It was no less than the Premier League leaders - who became the first English side to beat AC Milan at the San Siro - deserved for a dominant display that until that moment had lacked only a cutting edge, just as they had done two weeks earlier when drawing the first leg 0-0 in London.
Milan's partisan support showed admirable sportsmanship
after the clinching second goal, applauding the visitors before and
after the final whistle.
For Milan, the result spells disaster as they are out of Europe, out of the Italian Cup and out of contention in Serie A. They even face a battle just to qualify for the Champions League next season, currently sitting fifth in their domestic league and four points off the Champions League qualification places.
Teenage Brazilian starlet Pato gave notice of his burgeoning ability after just eight minutes with a mazy run into the box taking him past three players before Bacary Sagna deflected his shot for a corner.
Arsenal were wobbling and Manuel Almunia needed to be alert to parry Andrea Pirlo's teasing in-swinging corner. Milan came close again on 19 minutes after a sweeping counter-attack that saw Kaka make a great burst past William Gallas before crossing to the far post for Pato. His control was exemplary but his finish feeble and it plopped into Almunia's arms.
Arsenal were overplaying the ball in the final third but eventually got a decent shot away on 28 minutes, Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac tipping over Togo forward Adebayor's effort.
Six minutes later the visitors should have gone in front but following Adebayor's brilliant, bundling run down the left he teed up Fabregas but the Spaniard's shot crashed back off the crossbar.
Arsenal then wasted a glorious chance on the stroke of half-time as Emmanuel Eboue strayed offside to scupper the opportunity.
Arsenal leave it late
The Gunners also had the best early chance after the break as a Fabregas corner somehow found it's way to the back post and the waiting Philippe Senderos but the Swiss centre-back seemed surprised and prodded his shot straight into Kalac's arms.
On 51 minutes Pirlo gifted Arsenal another chance by suicidally passing across his own 18-yard box straight to Adebayor who released Eboue but he shot like a full-back and didn't trouble Kalac.
Arsenal were having more of the ball and all the best chances of the second period and 15 minutes from time substitute Theo Walcott got behind the Milan defence but he opted to pull back the ball instead of shoot and after a goalmouth scramble Kalac smothered the ball.
The winner came on 84 minutes as Milan gave the ball away in midfield and Fabregas took a couple of touches before striding forward and shooting low past Kalac from outside the box. Adebayor sealed victory in injury time as Walcott again got behind the defence but this time laid the ball on a plate for Adebayor to finish at the back stick.