Arsenal scored three first-half goals but could not complete an epic comeback against AC Milan, who held on to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Milan, leading 4-0 from the first leg, were rocked when Laurent Koscielny headed home a corner and a mistake let Tomas Rosicky slot in Arsenal's second.

Robin van Persie's penalty increased the Gunners' momentum before the break.

But the Dutchman missed a golden chance from close range and Milan had the best openings in a frantic end to the game.

Arsenal's night ultimately ended in glorious failure but the spirit and verve with which they went about a seemingly impossible task means they bow out of Europe with their heads held high.

That seemed unlikely after the insipid display by Arsene Wenger's side in the first leg last month, but this time it was Milan who quickly found themselves crumbling at the back.

Four-goal European comebacks

The last team to overturn a four-goal deficit from the first leg of European competition remains Real Madrid, who beat Borussia Monchengladbach in the last 16 of the 1985/86 Uefa Cup by winning 4-0 at the Bernabeu after losing 5-1 in Germany

Arsenal made the perfect start when, after just seven minutes, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's dipping corner found Koscielny leaping unmarked at the near post to beat Christian Abbiati with a bouncing header.

Milan looked rattled and the Gunners kept finding gaps in their defence, with the in-form Van Persie a constant threat.

The Dutchman had two efforts saved by Abbiati and only a poor ball by Rosicky stopped him testing the Rossoneri keeper again after Urby Emanuelson gave the ball away in a dangerous position.

The Italian side, so dominant at the San Siro, were unable to impose themselves up front and were punished for another defensive error when Rosicky made it 2-0 after 26 minutes.

Walcott surged down the right past Djamel Mesbah - floundering on his Champions League debut - and when Thiago Silva was unable to clear his cross, Rosicky was in the right place to squeeze his low shot past Abbiati and inside the post.

Milan's only response was a long-range effort by Ignazio Abate which was easily dealt with by Wojciech Szczesny and things got even better for the Gunners just before half-time.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ran at Mesbah and was sandwiched between the hapless Milan defender and Antonio Nocerino inside the box, with Van Persie slamming home the resulting penalty after referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot.

At that stage, what would have been the biggest comeback in Champions League history looked within Arsenal's grasp.

Milan, who needed to score one goal to leave Wenger's side needing six to progress, missed their only real chance of the half when Stephan El Shaarawy fired into the side-netting after finding space inside the box.

Arsenal continued to threaten immediately after the break but their cause was not helped by a hamstring injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was eventually forced off.

Their final clear-cut chance of the night came just before the hour mark, when Gervinho's deflected shot was saved by Abbiati, who got up brilliantly to keep out Van Persie's delicate follow-up.

While the Gunners tired, Milan at last seemed to find some organisation at the back and also began to come forward with intent at the other end.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic dragged his shot wide after latching on to a poor Szczesny clearance, but the Arsenal keeper also made crucial stops from the Swedish striker and El Shaarawy.

Nocerino wasted Milan's best chance when he fired straight at Szczesny from close range but, with the Gunners running out of ideas and seemingly out of steam in the closing stages, his poor finish did not affect the outcome.

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (4)

Arsenal

  • 13 Szczesny
  • 03 Sagna Booked
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 28 Gibbs Booked
  • 07 Rosicky
  • 14 Walcott (Park Chu-Young - 84' )
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Chamakh - 75' )
  • 17 Song Booked
  • 10 Van Persie
  • 27 Gervinho

Substitutes

  • 21 Fabianski
  • 20 Djourou
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 49 Miquel
  • 53 Ozyakup
  • 09 Park Chu-Young
  • 29 Chamakh

AC Milan

  • 32 Abbiati
  • 05 Mexes
  • 33 Thiago Silva
  • 04 Van Bommel Booked
  • 15 Mesbah (Bonera - 89' )
  • 20 Abate Booked
  • 22 Nocerino Booked
  • 28 Emanuelson
  • 92 El Shaarawy (Aquilani - 70' )
  • 11 Ibrahimovic Booked
  • 70 Robinho

Substitutes

  • 01 Amelia
  • 30 Roma
  • 19 Zambrotta
  • 25 Bonera
  • 76 Yepes
  • 18 Aquilani
  • 56 Ganz
Ref: Skomina
Att: 59,973

Match Stats

Shots

8 13

On target

6 5

Corners

5 1

Fouls

21 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:21 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +3:08

The assistant referee signals for offside against Robin van Persie.

90:00 +2:46

Direct free kick taken by Kieran Gibbs.

90:00 +2:46 Booking

Booking Ignazio Abate goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

90:00 +2:21

Alex Song fouled by Ignazio Abate, the ref awards a free kick.

90:00 +1:38

Free kick awarded for a foul by Alex Song on De Souza Robinho. Mark Van Bommel restarts play with the free kick.

89:50

Free kick awarded for a foul by Chu-Young Park on Ignazio Abate. Direct free kick taken by Ignazio Abate.

88:46 Substitution

Substitution Djamel Mesbah goes off and Daniele Bonera comes on.

86:36

Effort on goal by Zlatan Ibrahimovic from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.

85:35 Booking

Booking Zlatan Ibrahimovic is cautioned by the ref for dissent.

85:33 Booking

Booking Booking for Antonio Nocerino for dissent.

84:21

Laurent Koscielny gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Strike comes in from Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the free kick.

83:05 Substitution

Substitution Chu-Young Park joins the action as a substitute, replacing Theo Walcott.

80:37

Unfair challenge on Alberto Aquilani by Marouane Chamakh results in a free kick. Philippe Mexes restarts play with the free kick.

80:04

Unfair challenge on Laurent Koscielny by Zlatan Ibrahimovic results in a free kick. Wojciech Szczesny takes the direct free kick.

78:16

Tomas Rosicky gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Urby Emanuelson. Ignazio Abate takes the free kick.

77:01

Alex Song challenges Alberto Aquilani unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Mark Van Bommel.

76:10

Centre by Alberto Aquilani, Antonio Nocerino takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

75:41

Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

74:02

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an effort direct from the free kick, blocked by Robin van Persie.

74:02 Substitution

Substitution Marouane Chamakh replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

74:02

Laurent Koscielny concedes a free kick for a foul on De Souza Robinho.

73:30

Theo Walcott gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mark Van Bommel. Antonio Nocerino restarts play with the free kick.

70:10

The official flags Zlatan Ibrahimovic offside. Bacary Sagna takes the direct free kick.

68:50

Direct free kick taken by Bacary Sagna.

68:50 Substitution

Substitution Stephan El Shaarawi goes off and Alberto Aquilani comes on.

68:50

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tomas Rosicky by Antonio Nocerino.

68:31

Stephan El Shaarawi takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

66:51

Tomas Rosicky gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Philippe Mexes. Christian Abbiati takes the direct free kick.

66:18

The ball is sent over by Bacary Sagna, save made by Christian Abbiati.

65:09

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Thomas Vermaelen. Antonio Nocerino takes the free kick.

64:14

The offside flag is raised against Theo Walcott. Free kick taken by Philippe Mexes.

63:07

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.

61:56

Long range effort from Zlatan Ibrahimovic misses to the left of the goal.

61:09

Djamel Mesbah takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

58:13

Yao Gervinho takes a shot. Save by Christian Abbiati. Robin van Persie produces a lobbed left-footed shot from 6 yards. Save made by Christian Abbiati. Short corner worked by Urby Emanuelson. Antonio Nocerino produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.

57:54

Stephan El Shaarawi crosses the ball, Kieran Gibbs manages to make a clearance.

56:01

Strike comes in from Urby Emanuelson from the free kick.

56:01 Booking

Booking Caution for Alex Song.

55:52

Alex Song gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

54:07

Corner taken by Robin van Persie, save made by Christian Abbiati.

53:31

The ball is swung over by Theo Walcott, Philippe Mexes manages to make a clearance.

53:05

A cross is delivered by Ignazio Abate.

50:45

Djamel Mesbah challenges Theo Walcott unfairly and gives away a free kick. Bacary Sagna restarts play with the free kick.

49:35

Theo Walcott delivers the ball.

48:16

Alex Song concedes a free kick for a foul on De Souza Robinho. Centre by Urby Emanuelson, Stephan El Shaarawi has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.

47:37

Mark Van Bommel fouled by Tomas Rosicky, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Emiliano Thiago Silva.

45:55

The assistant referee flags for offside against Robin van Persie. Indirect free kick taken by Philippe Mexes.

45:16

The assistant referee flags for offside against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:00 +1:19 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +0:13

Effort from inside the area by Stephan El Shaarawi misses to the right of the goal.

42:55 Goal scored

Goal! - Robin van Persie - Arsenal 3 - 0 AC Milan Power penalty scored by Robin van Persie. Arsenal 3 (3)-(4) 0 AC Milan.

41:34

Djamel Mesbah gives away a Penalty for an unfair challenge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

40:45

Free kick awarded for a foul by Alex Song on Urby Emanuelson. Emiliano Thiago Silva takes the direct free kick.

40:31

Yao Gervinho sends in a cross, Philippe Mexes manages to make a clearance.

38:47

The ball is sent over by Ignazio Abate, Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

37:27

Foul by Djamel Mesbah on Theo Walcott, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Robin van Persie from right channel, clearance made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

36:53

Free kick awarded for a foul by Robin van Persie on Ignazio Abate. Direct free kick taken by Christian Abbiati.

32:11

Ignazio Abate produces a cross, Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

27:41

The ball is sent over by Djamel Mesbah.

26:26

The referee blows for offside. Laurent Koscielny takes the indirect free kick.

25:07 Goal scored

Goal! - Tomas Rosicky - Arsenal 2 - 0 AC Milan Tomas Rosicky scores a goal from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 2 (2)-(4) 0 AC Milan.

24:39

The assistant referee signals for offside against Ignazio Abate. Indirect free kick taken by Kieran Gibbs.

21:54

Kieran Gibbs sends in a cross.

19:12

Theo Walcott takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes a clearance.

18:23

Shot from 20 yards from Robin van Persie. Save made by Christian Abbiati. Corner taken right-footed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the near post, clearance made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

18:01

The offside flag is raised against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Laurent Koscielny takes the direct free kick.

17:32

Mark Van Bommel fouled by Tomas Rosicky, the ref awards a free kick. De Souza Robinho takes the direct free kick.

17:10

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is caught offside. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

17:01

Centre by Ignazio Abate, Thomas Vermaelen makes a clearance.

16:08

Free kick awarded for a foul by Robin van Persie on Christian Abbiati. Christian Abbiati restarts play with the free kick.

15:42

Free kick awarded for a foul by Bacary Sagna on Djamel Mesbah. Djamel Mesbah restarts play with the free kick.

15:23

The assistant referee flags for offside against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Thomas Vermaelen takes the free kick.

14:27

The free kick is swung in left-footed by Urby Emanuelson, clearance made by Kieran Gibbs.

14:27 Booking

Booking Kieran Gibbs shown a yellow card.

14:15

Kieran Gibbs concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephan El Shaarawi.

12:37

Emiliano Thiago Silva takes the direct free kick.

12:37 Booking

Booking The referee shows Bacary Sagna a yellow card.

12:32

Bacary Sagna gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Antonio Nocerino.

11:14

Alex Song gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mark Van Bommel restarts play with the free kick.

9:18

Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Christian Abbiati. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.

8:58

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Laurent Koscielny, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

8:13

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.

7:23

Effort from just outside the area by De Souza Robinho goes over the target.

6:07

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain provided the assist for the goal.

6:07 Goal scored

Goal! - Laurent Koscielny - Arsenal 1 - 0 AC Milan Laurent Koscielny scores a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 1 (1)-(4) 0 AC Milan.

5:21

Alex Song takes the inswinging corner, Zlatan Ibrahimovic manages to make a clearance. Corner taken right-footed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the near post,

4:23

Direct free kick taken by Robin van Persie.

4:23 Booking

Booking Booking for Mark Van Bommel.

4:14

Foul by Mark Van Bommel on Tomas Rosicky, free kick awarded.

2:18

The offside flag is raised against Theo Walcott. Free kick taken by Christian Abbiati.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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