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MARTIN'S LAMENT

Posted on 25 January 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol couldn't hide his disappointment after seeing a 2-0 lead cancelled out by Arsenal in the first leg of our Carling Cup semi-final at the Lane on Wednesday night.

Martin Jol couldn't hide his disappointment after seeing a 2-0 lead cancelled out by Arsenal in the first leg of our Carling Cup semi-final at the Lane on Wednesday night.

We took control of the latest North London derby thanks to Dimitar Berbatov's header after 12 minutes and Julio Baptista's own goal from Tom Huddlestone's free-kick eight minutes later. In a frantic start, Berbatov also hit the post and Jermain Defoe forced a fine save from Manuel Almunia.

There was a blow when Berbatov had to depart with a groin injury in-between the goals and Arsenal gradually fought their way back into the tie with Baptista's double after 64 and 76 minutes to ensure we travel to the Emirates Stadium next Wednesday on level terms with a final place against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium at stake.

"We're all very disappointed because we were 2-0 up, but we've only got ourselves to blame," reflected Martin at the Lane.

"I have to be honest, the first 25 minutes was outstanding and a lot of that had to do with Dimitar Berbatov because he can hold up the ball, play himself or go into the spaces. It didn't help that he had to go off but it was still 2-0 to us.

"We wanted to score a third because 2-0 is always a cushion but they are always capable of scoring.

"We didn't manage to do that, dropped off, looked tired and they looked sharp and took control of the game in the second half.

"There was only one solution and we said at half-time that we had to keep the ball but we couldn't keep it and they kept coming back.

"The first goal was a ricochet and that was unfortunate but it can happen - if you give away the initiative you will concede goals and that's what happened in the second half. We gave the initiative to them and the control of the game to them.

"When we kept the ball we ended up in their half with the likes of Aaron Lennon and we had a chance to win the game late on, but they did as well through Walcott."