Arsenal humbled by Bradford in League Cup

Updated: December 11, 2012, 6:27 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- Arsenal was eliminated in the League Cup quarterfinals with an embarrassing loss to fourth-tier Bradford, falling 3-2 in a penalty shootout Tuesday.

Thomas Vermaelen failed to convert the decisive spot kick for the Premier League giants, having earlier scored an 87th-minute equalizer to take the game into extra time. The match finished at 1-1 after 120 minutes, despite Arsenal fielding a near full-strength team.

Aston Villa joined Bradford in the semifinals by beating Norwich 4-1.

"They have world-class players ... but the way the lads stuck to their job, you have to give them credit," said Bradford manager Gary Parkinson, whose side has won an English-record nine shootouts in a row.

Aston Villa joined Bradford in the semifinals by beating Norwich 4-1.

With Arsenal seventh in the league standings and without a trophy since 2005, manager Arsene Wenger's judgment is being questioned as never before in his 16 years at the club.

His team failed to produce a shot on target until the 69th minute on a freezing night at Valley Parade, with Bradford having pierced Arsenal's brittle defense through Garry Thompson's fine volley following a 16th-minute free kick.

A late rally saw Vermaelen head home the equalizer from close range, and Santi Cazorla fired a shot against the bar in the second half of extra time that Arsenal dominated.

However, Bradford was never behind in the shootout with Cazorla and Marouane Chamakh denied in Arsenal's first two penalties. Vermaelen still had the chance to take it to sudden death, but his attempt slithered against the goal frame.

"I can't fault the effort from our team," Wenger said. "You have to give credit to Bradford. We will get over it -- it's part of our job."

Aston Villa scored three goals in the final 11 minutes. Andreas Weimann scored in the 79th and 85th minutes for Villa and Christian Benteke completed the victory in second-half stoppage time.

Norwich, on a nine-match unbeaten run in the league, went in front on Steve Morison's goal in the 19th minute. Brett Holman tied it 2 minutes later.

Swansea plays Middlesbrough on Wednesday, with the other last-eight match Dec. 19 when Chelsea visits Leeds. The semifinals will be played in January.

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ROME -- Roma beat Atalanta 3-0 in the fifth round of the Italian Cup despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.

Miralem Pjanic and Pablo Osvaldo put Roma up 2-0 and Mattia Destro added a goal shortly after halftime. Osvaldo drew a red card 10 minutes into the second half for an elbow on Atalanta defender Carlos Matheu.

Roma and Atalanta fielded lineups that were almost at full strength.

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PARIS -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored three goals to help Paris-Saint Germain beat Valenciennes 4-0 in the French league.

Ibrahimovic has 17 league goals since arriving from AC Milan in the offseason.

Ezequiel Lavezzi added a fourth with 8 minutes to go for PSG.

Elsewhere, Nice beat nine-man Rennes 1-0, and Lille topped Toulouse 2-0.

Dario Cvitanich scored for Nice. Marko Basa gave Lille the lead in the 55th minute, and a Dimitri Payet curled in a stunning late strike.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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