Arsenal saved by late Reina error

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Arsenal earned a late point at Anfield as an uncharacteristic Jose Reina error gifted the Gunners an equaliser.

Liverpool had Joe Cole sent off late in the first-half, but took a surprise lead in the opening minutes of the following period through David Ngog's fine near post striker.

Arsene Wenger left Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie on the bench, and the later two would come on along with Thomas Rosicky as the north London club pushed for a goal in the second-half.

But it was Reds keeper Reina who made the telling contribution in the 89th minute, fumbling a poor cross onto Marouane Chamakh and then running the ball into his own goal after it came back off the post.

Laurent Koscielny was sent off on debut in injury-time for a second bookable offence, but it made no difference to the outcome.

The usually brilliant Spanish keeper had denied Rosicky less than five minutes earlier, saving a goal-bound strike from the Czech international as the Gunners carved out their best chance of the game.

Wenger's side struggled to break down Liverpool, who ran the clock down wherever possible after taking the lead. They were even down to nine-men for a brief part of the closing stages, with Daniel Agger suffering from an apparent concusion after all three substitutions had been made.

A relatively poor first half came to life close to the break, with Ngog forcing Gael Clichy into a goal line block from Steven Gerrard's corner. Three minutes later, Cole was sent off as the period found its major talking point.

Koscielny took the ball towards the right touch line, and Cole slid across in an attempt to block the long clearence down the line. Martin Atkinson instantly produced a red for the clumsy challenge, with the French defender stretchered away and the Englishman bemused after the first red of his senior career.

Roy Hodgson's side seemed rejuvenated after the interval, and struck almost immediately at the Kop end. Ngog's strike beat Manuel Almunia on his near side, but was struck with such venum that the keeper couldn't take too much blame.

From then on the Gunners toiled with little success, and neither side had chances of note until the closing stages. Reina's own goal was quickly followed by Koscielny's red, and Gerrard had a free kick saved in injury time as both sides briefly looked for a winner.

Neither will be too dis-heartened with a point on the opening day, although Liverpool will feel they lost two due to the manner of the equaliser.

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Jose Reina
Premier League

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