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Arsenal knock Real Madrid out with 0-0 draw
Updated: 2006-03-09 09:17

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - Arsenal booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals after holding nine-times winners Real Madrid to a pulsating 0-0 draw at Highbury on Wednesday for a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Despite the lack of goals, the game crackled with excitement and attacking football as Real tried to cancel out Thierry Henry's strike at the Bernabeu and Arsenal pushed for a goal that would kill the tie.

Arsenal's Spanish winger Jose Antonio Reyes could have had a first-half hat-trick, with one of his squandered chances hitting the bar. Raul struck the post for Real after the break before forcing an outstanding one-handed save from keeper Jens Lehmann from the rebound.

The draw was the high-water mark for Arsenal's erratic season in which they have lost all chance of domestic silverware and trail neighbours Tottenham Hotspur by five points for a place in next season's Champions League qualifiers.

Defeat for Real probably means another season without a trophy as they are out of the Spanish Cup and trail league leaders Barcelona by 10 points

"It had everything, a bit of suspense at the end, both teams tried to play, it was not a boring 0-0," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports TV.

"We didn't concede a goal home and away against Real Madrid. It's amazing, we are going to go through...it shows that with desire and commitment you can achieve a lot."

Arsenal, starting with the same XI who inflicted Real's first home defeat by an English club at the Bernabeu, were slow out of the blocks in north London.

Real were playing their first European game since Fernando Martin took over as president, warning every player that the Galacticos era was over, and they looked the more settled of the two sides.

Ronaldo threatened after 20 minutes when he prepared to shoot from deep inside the Arsenal area, only to be stopped by a last-ditch tackle by fellow Brazilian Gilberto.
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